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PlayStation finally reveals its Game Pass competitor subscription plans
PlayStation Plus is getting a revamp with more benefits and access to a trove of downloadable PlayStation titles.
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After years of speculation and rumours, Sony PlayStation has finally unveiled its competitor to Microsoft’s popular Xbox Game Pass service. The project previously known as Spartacus will combine PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now into one service with more benefits, games and multiple pricing tiers when it launches in June 2022.
In regions where PlayStation Now is available (which, sadly, doesn’t include Australia) there will be three tiers: PlayStation Plus Essential, PlayStation Plus Extra and PlayStation Plus Premium.
Australia and other regions without the game streaming service PlayStation Now are said to have a different selection of plan options. We’ve reached out to PlayStation Australia for comment.
PlayStation Plus Essential
The cheapest tier, PlayStation Plus Essential, is no different from the current PlayStation Now service. You get two monthly downloadable games, exclusive discounts on the PlayStation Store, Cloud storage for game saves and online multiplayer access. The price will also remain the same as the current PlayStation Plus offer.
That means that here in Australia, PlayStation Plus Essential will cost $11.95 per month, $33.95 every three months, or $79.95 for a 12-month subscription, which is equivalent to $6.67 per month.
Where things get interesting is in the Extra and Premium tiers.
PlayStation Plus Extra
PlayStation Plus Extra will get you everything included in the Essential tier, plus access to a library of “up to 400 of the most enjoyable PS4 and PS5 games” from first and third-party studios.
In Australia, the PlayStation Plus Extra subscription will cost $18.95 per month, $54.95 per quarter or $134.95 per year.
PlayStation Plus Premium
The top-tier Premium plan includes everything from the Essential and Extra tiers, plus access to another library of “up to 340 games” from the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable and original PlayStation.
The premium tier is where things get a little confusing. PlayStation 3 games are only available to stream, while the PlayStation, PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable games are available to download or stream via the cloud.
The PlayStation 3 was a notoriously unique console in its architecture, which makes emulating the games locally on newer systems very difficult. Thus, the collection of PlayStation 3 games need to be streamed from racked PS3 consoles.
Considering we don’t have PlayStation Now here in Australia, this is the tier that will likely launch with some missing cloud streaming features locally. Though PlayStation also confirmed in the same blog post that it was working towards bringing cloud streaming to more regions before the launch of the new PlayStation Plus plans so we can’t say for sure what we’ll get in Australia.
In the US, the PlayStation Plus Premium subscription will cost US$17.99 per month, US$49.99 per quarter or US$119.99 per year.
Will Australia get PlayStation Plus Premium?
Unless Australia is one of the countries on PlayStation’s roadmap to receive cloud gaming before the launch of the new subscriptions, we’ll likely end up with the alternative PlayStation Plus Deluxe plan.
PlayStation Plus Deluxe
The PlayStation Blog details a fourth Deluxe plan for select markets without cloud streaming. It will be offered at a lower price than Premium and will include access to a downloadable library of classic PlayStation, PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable titles, as well as the same access to limited-time game trials. Unlike the Premium tier, PlayStation has not clarified the number of classic titles that we can expect on the Deluxe tier.
In Australia, a PlayStation Plus Deluxe subscription will cost $21.95 per month, $63.95 per quarter or $154.95 per year.
PlayStation’s new subscriptions are missing one big thing
A huge part of the draw for Xbox Game Pass is that subscribers are promised day-one access to every blockbuster first-party game at no extra cost. Halo: Infinite, Forza Horizon 6 and Gears of War 5 are just three of the massive titles that Game Pass subscribers received at no extra cost on the day of release.
And while the prospect of a digital library of games on the PlayStation 5 is better than nothing, there’s no mention in PlayStation’s announcement of day-one access to first-party titles. Sure, there are some huge recent releases name-dropped, such as Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Death Stranding and God of War, but nothing in the way of future first-party releases, like God of War: Ragnarok.
With Microsoft’s recent run of historic acquisitions, the Xbox Game Pass library is set to explode with huge (previously) third-party games like The Elder Scrolls VI and Starfield.
PlayStation’s hesitation to give away its big-budget first-party games to subscribers makes sense when you consider how much the company invests in its single-player experiences but there’s no denying that without them, PlayStation Plus will continue to exist in the shadow of Game Pass.