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Sony might give PS5 a huge upgrade to compete with Xbox Game Pass

Published Dec 3rd, 2021 4:34PM EST
Sony PS5 DualSense 2 controller next to a PS5 console
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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There are not many deals in gaming better than Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass subscription program. For $10 a month, you’ll gain access to hundreds of Xbox games that you can play for as long as your subscription is active. The program also features exclusive titles such as Halo Infinite, Forza Horizon 5, and Psychonauts 2. For years, PlayStation fans have been wondering when Sony would step up with a competing service. Now, according to Bloomberg, PlayStation’s answer to Xbox Game Pass should be much closer than expected. In fact, Sony might be ready to announce it within months.

PlayStation’s Xbox Game Pass competitor

PlayStation Now on TVs and tablets
Sony is reportedly discontinuing PS Now and launching a new service. Image source: PlayStation

Bloomberg reports that Sony is working on an all-new service more in line with what Xbox Game Pass offers. Spartacus — the codename for the service — will let PlayStation owners pay a monthly fee for access to a growing library of modern and classic games. The service will reportedly combine Sony’s current subscription programs: PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now.

PlayStation Plus is the more popular of the two subscriptions, and it is required to play most PS4 and PS5 games online. It also comes with a monthly selection of free titles. PlayStation Now is a separate service that lets gamers download and stream hundreds of PS4, PS3, and PS2 games.

According to Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier, documents reveal that Sony plans to phase out the PS Now branding while retaining PS Plus. The documents also suggest that Sony’s new service will have three different tiers. The first tier will be identical to the current PS Plus offering. The second tier will include “a large catalog” of PS4 and PS5 games. Finally, the third tier will reportedly have “extended demos, game streaming and a library of classic PS1, PS2, PS3 and PSP games.”

How this could impact the console wars

Xbox Game Pass includes over 100 games for $10 a month. Image source: Microsoft

For two generations running, the latest PlayStation has handily outsold the Xbox. In fairness, the Xbox Series X|S is doing a better job against the PS5 than its predecessor did against the PS4. Nevertheless, Sony is still on top. But while Sony might be dominating console sales, Microsoft has shifted its focus elsewhere. And Xbox Game Pass has taken off as a result.

Xbox head Phil Spencer does not care where you play Xbox games. Obviously, Microsoft would prefer that you buy an Xbox Series X, but you can play Xbox games on your phone, your tablet, or your PC. So even if you can’t get your hands on an Xbox Series X or Series S this holiday season, you can still grab a subscription to Xbox Game Pass and play Halo Infinite and Forza Horizon 5.

While Sony has been laser-focused on hardware sales, Microsoft has lapped it with the most attractive subscription service in the industry. PS Now has improved drastically in recent years, but it still doesn’t hold a candle to Xbox Game Pass. That might not matter as much today, but it’s clear that this is the direction the industry is heading. After all, Game Pass already has over 18 million subscribers. If Sony wants its own Game Pass, it needs to step to the plate sooner than later.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.