PlayStation Plus vs Xbox Game Pass in India — What’s the Better Value?
The new PlayStation Plus is finally here and the big question can now be answered — is it better than Xbox Game Pass? Sony’s revamped subscription service has been long-awaited to rival Microsoft’s biggest bet in gaming for a long time, so how does it compare? First impressions suggest it’s off to a strong start. Now, onto the real comparison!
PlayStation Plus vs Xbox Game Pass — Too Many Games!
As of right now, here are the number of games available on Xbox Game Pass (XGP) in India, as counted directly from Microsoft’s listing:
- Xbox Game Pass for Console: 471
- PC Game Pass: 434
Games here include Bethesda as well as EA Play’s titles (71 on PC, 93 on console). Now let’s take a look at PlayStation Plus’ offerings:
- Game catalogue: Roughly 345 games, discounting duplicates.
- Classic Games: 37 titles (+1 more if you can find it)
- Remasters: 49 titles.
- Ubisoft Classics: 27 (included in the main catalogue)
- Game Trials: 15 games.
- PS Plus Collection (PS5 only): 19 games — 8 are exclusive, not available in the game catalogue.
After removing game trials from the list, we are left with 439 games. That’s pretty sizeable for the local editions of both services, especially for PlayStation considering the usual narrative for years has been that Sony couldn’t possibly offer anything comparative to XGP. Keep in mind that these counts are only valid for India, and there’s many more games available on the service in the United States.
PS Plus vs Xbox Game Pass — India Pricing
Microsoft has been riding high on waves of offering free/cheap trial periods of Game Pass to gamers for almost three years now. For the same period of time, gamers in India have frequently been able to subscribe to the service for as low as Rs. 50 for three months. The same is true right now, as Microsoft is currently offering the same deal to new subscribers. Coming to the actual pricing of both services, here’s where we’re at:
- Xbox Game Pass for Console: Rs. 349/month
- PC Game Pass: Rs. 349/month
- Xbox Game Pass Ultimate: Rs. 499/month
- PS Plus Essential — Rs. 499 (monthly)/Rs. 1,199 (3-months)/Rs. 2,999 (annual)
- PS Plus Extra — Rs. 749 (monthly)/Rs. 1,999 (3-months)/Rs. 4,999 (annual)
- PS Plus Deluxe — Rs. 849 (monthly)/Rs. 2,299 (3-months)/Rs. 5,749 (annual)
Microsoft doesn’t offer direct annual subscriptions, instead directing consumers to use gift cards for stacking subscriptions. However, a popular trick involving conversion of Xbox Live credits is still live allowing new subscribers to stack up 3 years of XGP Ultimate subscription in advance for under Rs. 5000 only. That’s the equivalent of one year of PS Plus Extra, and cheaper than one year of XGP Ultimate when bought monthly. We don’t know when Microsoft will start cracking down on the trick but it’s bound to be sooner rather than later, seeing as how Sony swiftly put an end to stacking subscriptions before the PS Plus relaunch.
Where does that leave us? On a monthly basis, XGP is easily the cheaper option. Conversely, Sony has positioned all tiers of PS Plus to be significantly cheaper when subscribed to annually, making it relatively similar to the numbers you’d get for XGP. So, it’s kind of a tie then? That brings us to what features these services offer at the moment.
Xbox Game Pass and PS Plus Features Comparison
Right off the bat, Xbox Game Pass includes more features and quality-of-life improvements over PS Plus. You get cross-progression with PC with XGP Ultimate and day one releases of Xbox Game Studios’ titles. You also get cloud streaming included in Game Pass, but it’s not available in India. On PlayStation, you can only use the service on PS5 and PS4 consoles. There is limited cloud streaming support on PC, but again that’s not available for Indian gamers.
That brings us to another key feature that both services offer — backwards compatibility with previous generation titles. It’s an easy win for Xbox here, providing not only direct access to many classics in the service itself but also native back-compat support for individual titles you’ve purchased outside of XGP. On both Xbox Series X and Series S consoles, you can play most of the OG Xbox, Xbox 360, and all of Xbox One’s game library.
PS Plus however only includes a select number of classic games, and those are locked to the subscription service. On top of that, PS3 games are only available with cloud streaming, which too not in India. It’s looking a little grim for Sony, right?
State of Games
This section here is going to be highly subjective, so take it as you will. As far as quality of games go, I think that PS Plus is a smidge better. Including Returnal, Demon’s Souls, Spider-Man games, and almost the entire first-party exclusive library from PS4 (along with PS5 upgrades) is a big move from Sony. On top of that, you get 6 mainline Final Fantasygames and high-profile titles like Death Stranding Director’s Cut, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, and Red Dead Redemption 2(until September at least). Personally, I find this to be a much better list than, or at the very least easily equivalent to, the Bethesda library and Xbox’s first-party exclusives. The latter has been in a pretty poor state ever since the Series X/S consoles launched, with Forza Horizon 5 perhaps being the only game that still commands respect and a relevant player count along with Psychonauts 2. Halo Infinite has started to fizzle out of the conversation with delayed updates. Age of Empires 4 had a strong start but is relatively niche. What about the other exclusives that Xbox keeps humping its chest about for having day one releases? Delayed, or in development. Those are future promises, and Xbox’s first-party buyouts have yet to prove their mettle in the new generation. For this, I count PS Plus as having a better offering, for the time being at least. But hey, Xbox continues to surprise us with new partnerships all the time. Riot Games is bringing all of its popular games to the service, and Persona 5 is finally coming to PC thanks to Game Pass!
For now, though, it looks like Xbox Game Pass will continue to be a better match for those expecting third-party games to hit the service frequently. Sony has already started to lay the groundwork for doing the same, with the much-awaited Stray releasing day one on PS Plus Extra and Premium in July. In the meantime, you can rest assured with your Game Pass subscription as Microsoft has already revealed its roadmap for the next 12 months. If you prefer gaming on a PC though, none of this matters as XGP is the only choice here.
So, the final verdict then — what’s the better value? Honestly, at this point, they’re both quite similar, at least for local gamers in India. You get extra games from Sony and cloud streaming from Microsoft if you’re in one of the luckier countries, so the value proposition is going to be even harder to evaluate.
Originally published at https://thescreenzone.com on June 25, 2022. You can also support The Screen Zone by subscribing to our YouTube channel, where we publish video game and movie reviews in video format. You can also support The Screen Zone by subscribing to Save State, the publication’s free newsletter.