PlayStation Now, Sony’s cloud-based subscription service that streams PS2, PS3, and PS4 titles, faces massive changes and a possible merger with PlayStation plus subscription. These changes have been rumored for months now, suggesting a new subscription service that will replace PlayStation Now — the PlayStation Spartacus. This new project should challenge Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass subscription, which is currently the best gaming subscription service offered by a major console gaming platform.
According to ComicBook, PlayStation Now is being replaced by Spartacus (a project codename), which supposedly combines Now and PlayStation Plus subscriptions into a single subscription service. The news was sparked by many reports by PS Now subscribers that have revealed that their subscription is showing up as another PS Plus subscription. Of course, this could be an error, but considering just how widespread the issue is, it could indicate that Spartacus rumors are coming true.
Sony officially announced its plans to discontinue the PlayStation Now service and merge it into the Tier 3 PlayStation Plus subscription plans, which would be available at launch later in 2022. Allegedly, this tier would offer access to classic games and demos. At the same time, Tier 2 would follow Microsoft’s game pass subscription, however, without access to the latest titles at their respective launch dates. Furthermore, the company only mentioned the project’s codename Spartacus but hasn’t disclosed any further detail besides what we already mentioned. So, is it possible that two services are not becoming one?
Yes, it could very well be in the cards for Sony. It’s unlikely for the company to ax PlayStation Plus since the service is the main profit driver of PlayStation, so it’s entirely possible that Now is being integrated into the PS Plus. This is similar to what Xbox did with its Xbox Live Gold service, a premium version of its late Xbox Live from the Xbox 360 era. Xbox simply packed Xbox Live Gold with the premium version of Xbox Game Pass and created the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, which already offers cloud gaming services at no additional costs.
Sony used PlayStation Now to allow its customers to stream PS2, PS3, and PS4classics on its newest gaming hardware, the elusive PlayStation 5, but charged it as a separate service. On the other hand, Microsoft encapsulated all of its gaming services, including cloud gaming, into two subscription plans, the Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. These offer the latest gaming titles as soon as the release, most as time-limited standalone purchases before they’re completely integrated into the subscription.
Not to mention the fantastic backward compatibility of Xbox Game Pass, which offers some 300 titles from the original Xbox and Xbox 360, and many more Xbox One titles that are available on Xbox Series X/S. Of course, backward compatibility is a massive issue on PlayStation consoles, ever since the release of PlayStation 4, whose lack of backward compatibility was intentionally implemented so that Sony could promote the PlayStation Now service. But considering that the gaming giant is slowly but steadily losing sales to Xbox, Sony has to implement more appealing changes to its subscription plans if it ever plans to challenge the ultimate gaming subscription service that is Xbox Game Pass.