Though it never beat Sony in sales numbers, Xbox offers something PlayStation doesn’t — the ultimate gaming subscription service. PlayStation has been trying to rival Xbox Game Pass for quite some time now, without much success, even after announcing that some of its first-party games might find their way to PC. In light of the PlayStation Now subscription service’s mysterious disappearance three weeks ago, and service issues happening last week, it’s time to deep dive and discuss what offerings PlayStation’s upcoming subscription service might bring.
According to IGN, PlayStation could unveil its upcoming subscription service, codename Spartacus, as early as next week. Sony’s rival to the Xbox Game Pass subscription service will launch with a splashy lineup of hit games, and it’ll officially merge PlayStation Plus with PlayStation Now — Sony’s cloud streaming service — under a single subscription. In addition, there are reportedly plans to offer multiple subscription tiers (of course, Sony), with each tier being more expensive but also offering more gaming options. This isn’t as surprising, considering that tier-service isn’t a novelty, even at Microsoft.
The first purported tier would include all the current benefits of the PlayStation Plus subscription, including online play and free monthly games. The next tier would add access to a gaming library, similar to Game Pass, while the third, most expensive tier would include PS1, PS2, PS3, and PSP titles in the library. It would also include the ability to stream video games and play extended demos, which is a reasonable way for Sony to cash in on gaming live-streamers. It’s important to note that Sony’s current gaming hardware, PlayStation 5, only offers backward compatibility with PS4 titles.
And that’s precisely where a proverbial line in the sand must be drawn. Xbox allows gamers to experience Xbox 360 and select Original Xbox games for free, provided that you already own an Xbox One console or newer, as a part of their subscription service. So, backward compatibility is included in the price of an Xbox Game Pass standard subscription. On the other hand, PlayStation wants to include its PS1 and PS2 titles in their more expensive subscription tier, which is ridiculous.
Sure, it might entice gamers who enjoyed timeless PS1 and PS2 classics to pay the extra cash for access to their favorite titles, and it’s in Sony’s right to charge extra. But that only makes it more difficult to compete with Xbox’s service, especially when you throw your biggest ace out the window — the “same day” releases. Xbox Game Pass is releasing new, first-party games on the same day said titles are officially released, making it very enticing to gaming fans looking to mash the controller buttons on a freshly released title. PlayStation, apparently, isn’t interested in the idea.
Furthermore, it would seem that the upcoming God of War: Ragnarok, and first-party Sony game, won’t be available on Sony’s service immediately upon the game’s release. So, it’s unclear how exactly Sony plans to rival Xbox Game Pass with these PlayStation options, but the company is clearly exploring new opportunities for this generation of hardware, like introducing more live-service games. But, considering what recently happened to Gran Turismo 7, is adding more live-service titles really a way to go?