Meet Sony’s New Three-Tier PlayStation Plus Service
PlayStation Plus Essential, Extra, and Premium launch this June
After rumors of a Sony counter-punch to Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass service, the Japanese giant finally lays out its cards.
Promising over 700 games, Sony’s decision to merge PlayStation Plus and its PlayStation Now streaming service comes as no surprise. PlayStation Plus’ new three-tier approach is the PlayStation 5 maker’s answer to Microsoft’s $4 billion subscription base. And while you can’t opt-in for a single dollar like a Game Pass subscription, rest assured that this is just the beginning.
Each of PlayStation Plus’ new tiers hit a variety of price points while offering substantial value.
PlayStation Plus Essential
Regular PlayStation Plus users are herded into the Plus Essential service, whose offerings and pricing remain unchanged at $9.99 a month. An Essential subscription lets PlayStation owners access exclusive store discounts while availing two monthly downloadable games at no extra cost. Add to that cloud storage for game saves and access to online multiplayer and it’s clear that little has changed here.
The Extra and Premium subscriptions are the ones worth your attention.
PlayStation Plus Extra
At $14.99 a month, this tier costs as much as Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, which bundles its online Xbox Gold component, 250+ PC and 400+ Xbox games, and its cloud streaming service. In addition to the Plus Essential perks, PlayStation Plus Extra offers players access to over 400 titles, both from Sony’s established stable of first-party titles as well as third-party offerings.
While Microsoft promises day one releases with its subscription, Sony has yet to commit to the same.
It’s not an apples-to-apples comparison since Sony has yet to release an exhaustive list of PlayStation Plus Extra titles. Here are some titles that Sony has committed to deliver over a Plus Extra subscription:
- Death Stranding
- God of War
- Marvel’s Spider-Man
- Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales
- Mortal Kombat 11
PlayStation Plus Premium
The priciest of the bunch, a PlayStation Plus Premium subscription will cost $17.99 a month for PlayStation users. Plus Premium offers players the benefits of Plus Essential and Plus Extra subscriptions with a bonus: retro games.
340 titles from PlayStation’s enviable heritage are nothing to scoff at.
Select games from the PlayStation, PlayStation 2, and PSP will be available to download, stream, or both while PlayStation 3 titles will be restricted to Sony’s cloud streaming. For markets that don’t support game streaming, Sony plans to offer PlayStation Plus Deluxe. This cheaper offering promises everything that Plus Premium offers except for cloud streaming.
That means you’ll still get those retro titles, just not of the PlayStation 3 variety.
PlayStation Plus’ new Extra and Premium tiers look promising
Sony promises an initial PlayStation Plus revamp in Asia, followed by North America, Europe, and the rest of the world. Bear in mind that these tiers will initially be offered in locations that currently support the PlayStation Network. In addition to expanding its cloud streaming to new markets, Sony looks to cover most of its userbase by the end of the first half of 2022.
Microsoft is no longer the only console maker with a subscription service.
But one can’t really start drawing comparison charts between PlayStation Plus and Xbox Game Pass until Sony lists out the games that will arrive on its service. Until then, it’s safe to say that the Japanese offering is going to change the dynamics of the videogame industry.
With both Microsoft and Sony offering subscriptions, game developers will have to rethink everything from monetization to the content and features of their labors of love. But competition is great for consumers. Corporations vying for your wallets will ensure that you don’t get the short end of the stick.
I hope that applies to game studios as well.