For months, rumors of a retooled PlayStation Plus service that could more readily compete with Xbox Game Pass have been spreading like wildfire. Sony finally confirmed its plans this Tuesday. The company announced that it will combine PS Plus and PS Now into one service starting in June. The new PS Plus has three membership tiers altogether, two of which will include hundreds of additional games from current and old generations.
How the new PS Plus service works
As noted above, PS Plus subscribers will have three tiers to choose from. First is PlayStation Plus Essential, which provides the same benefits that PS Plus members are getting currently. That includes two free games a month, exclusive discounts, cloud storage for saved games, and online multiplayer access. It costs $9.99 a month.
PlayStation Plus Extra is up next at $14.99 a month. In addition to all of the perks above, PS Plus Extra also adds a catalog of up to 400 PS4 and PS5 games that members can download to their consoles at any time. This large catalog includes first-party games from PlayStation Studios as well as third-party games from other publishers.
The third and final tier, PlayStation Plus Premium, comes in at $17.99 a month. Everything listed above is also part of this tier, but the Premium members also get up to 340 additional games. These include PS3 games that can be played via cloud streaming and classic PS2, PS1, and PSP games that can be downloaded or streamed. The Premium tier also has game trials so members can try new games before they buy them.
In select markets without cloud streaming, there is also a Deluxe tier. It has all of the same benefits as Premium, but costs less and won’t include PS3 games.
PS Plus vs. Xbox Game Pass
By combining PS Plus and PS Now, Sony is surely hoping to give Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass a run for its money. That said, there is one key difference between these two services. While Microsoft puts first-party games on Xbox Game Pass at launch, Sony doesn’t plan to do the same with its own PlayStation Studios games.
PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan explained to GamesIndustry.biz why Sony will not copy Microsoft’s strategy of putting new first-party games on PS Plus:
[In terms of] putting our own games into this service, or any of our services, upon their release… as you well know, this is not a road that we’ve gone down in the past. And it’s not a road that we’re going to go down with this new service. We feel if we were to do that with the games that we make at PlayStation Studios, that virtuous cycle will be broken. The level of investment that we need to make in our studios would not be possible, and we think the knock-on effect on the quality of the games that we make would not be something that gamers want.
When the new PS Plus arrives, PS Now will be folded in. PS Now customers will automatically migrate to the PlayStation Plus Premium tier with no increase to their subscription fees at launch. The initial launch rollout will begin in June. Sony wants to have the new service live in most territories before the first half of 2022 ends.