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Breakdown: How Sony’s New PS Plus Compares to Game Pass

Posted on March 29, 2022 by Michael Boccher

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Sony revealed its updated subscription details for PlayStation Plus earlier today. It comes with three different tiers and raises a lot of eyebrows. PlayStation users hoping for the “Game Pass Killer” were left disappointed as Sony opted for a more middle-ground, conservative approach to its Microsoft counterpart. Let’s take a look at how it breaks down in relation to Game Pass along with why Sony continually rolls out new features accompanied with the classic “Yeah, but…” excuse.

As you can see below, Microsoft Game Pass costs $10/month or $120 a year. It includes all Day 1 first party games and many third party games day one. It Includes EA Play, discounts on games for purchase as well as those that are leaving the service and perks. These perks offer in game items, real world discounts on services, i.e. Paramount Plus free trial, and more. In addition, there are betas, game previews, trials and backward compatibility. The most comparable PlayStation Plus new tier would be the 2nd tier, PlayStation Extra. It includes none of these features and costs $5 more at $15/month. Even if you factor in the discount for paying yearly, it costs $100, saving you $20 a year compared to Game Pass. Now, while you still get older ps4 games (we’ll have to wait to see the list of games as Sony states it is up to 400), no new games are included. This means PlayStation users wishing to select this tier will need to work out with themselves whether it’s worth the extra $40 a year from the basic PS Plus plan just to play older games. Keep in mind, many of these games will be those that they may have already played, thus downgrading the value of the tier. 

Game PassPS Extra 2nd tier
Price$10/month $120 year$15/mo $180/yr, $100 lump
Day 1 games 1st/3rd partyYesNo
Game DiscountsYesNo
Game PerksYesNo
Betas, Previews, TrialsYes to allNo to all
Backward CompatibilityYesYes

Now let’s take a look at how Game Pass Ultimate compares to Sony’s top level, the PlayStation Plus Premier 3rd tier.

Game Pass Ultimate costs $15 monthly or $180 yearly. Comparatively, PS Premium will cost $180 monthly ($216 yearly) or at a discount of $120 yearly if you make a one time payment. Each tier comes with the perks of their previous levels, plus a few additional

Game Pass UltimatePS Premium 3rd tier
Price$15/mo $180/year$18/mo($216/yr) $120 lump
Remote PlayYesYes
Cloud StreamingYesYes
Backward compatibilityYes Yes 

Initially, it seems as if Sony may have one-upped Game Pass Ultimate, but not so when you look deeper. The remote play on Xbox is far superior. Currently, you are allowed to stream to any console, PC, Android or Apple Device (via internet). With Xbox, one can remote play their console while another user can watch TV on the same television that the Xbox console is connected to. This is a huge convenience for those with multiple people in their homes. PlayStation does not function this way. The remote play feature is extremely limited and forces users to have a dedicated television. This means that if you are out using your PS5 via remote play, nobody else can use that television the console is connected to.

In addition, you are not getting any games the day of release whether they are first or third party. In 2021 alone, Microsoft added over $6,300 worth of games to Game Pass.These included many day one releases. Sony will not have any of these. This means that PlayStation users will need to decide if it is worth it for them to pay double the price of their basic PS Plus cost of $60 to get the Premium tier of $120 simply to play some older games with no new games releasing on the platform as well as no discounts, no perks, no game betas, previews or trials. Many of these will be streaming only, of which the quality is far inferior on Sony’s end compared to Xbox, via the included PlayStation Now newly merged service. Sony’s Jim Ryan has already confirmed this to be the case.  

Now, let us look at the basic Game Pass vs. the PS Premium top tier plan. They are the same price of $120 year. You can’t stream old games on Xbox, but they can be downloaded.

So for the same price, Xbox gives you day one 1st party and 3rd party games, discounts, perks, in game items, beta, trials and previews. Sony lets you stream a few older games 

Even IF you take Ultimate has no discount option and is $180 year compared to $120 discounted option for PS Premium of 120 a year, you still get more. The extra $60 a year, for those who take the discount lump sum payment only, gets you full Remote play. This means you can still use TV with someone else while you are using the Xbox console to remote play. PS can not do this. Discounts on games, day 1 games 1st and 3rd party, EA Play, in game items with perks, real world items with perks like discounts on other services, etc. are also included. Those items alone are worth the extra $60. Add in the fact that if you play just a single game all year, it’s worth the money.

This is where the “Yeah, but…” comes in regarding Sony. It’s no secret that PlayStation has been behind the times when it comes to new features compared to Xbox. It took them years to allow players to change their gamer tags. Once that was done, players were informed they ran the risk of losing much of their saved game data. Remote play took forever to be added. Once that was done, the issue of not being able to use the TV or fully play over broadband muddied the experience. Now, these new tiers exude the same response. This time, it’s “Yeah, but it’s not better than Game Pass”. 

Now, Sony doesn’t have to be Game Pass. They are their own company and operate it in a way they see best fit for them. However, they always seem to have some odd caveat (see gamer tag lose save data above) that tends to make no sense and drives PlayStation users crazy. There is a difference between not being able to implement a certain feature and simply choosing not to implement it. Sony, unfortunately, tends to end up with the latter. To be honest, there’s a very simple reason they don’t: They don’t have to.

Sony has outsold Microsoft for a while now. They currently have nearly double (48 million) PS Plus subscribers as Microsoft has Game Pass (25 million) subscribers. By all means Sony could afford to place day one games on their new platform. Sony only has 3 million PS Now subscribers. That means 45 of their 48 million PS Plus subscribers theoretically will not opt for the highest tier. After all, why pay if you’re not using the features now? If Sony opted to put first party games on their new service day one, or even third party games, I guarantee you nearly all of those 45 million subs would make the jump. This would give them over $100 million more a month than Microsoft currently gets from their Game Pass subscribers. 

Remember, Sony is number one in terms of sales. When you’re number one, you don’t have to do all your players ask you for. So yes, there is a bit of ego involved when it comes to why Sony is not putting these games on their service. It would be nice if they did, but it’s not going to happen.

Dollar for dollar are these a better deal than Game Pass? The answer is no and it’s not even close.  It may, however, be worth it on an individual level. For example, a very good friend of mine is more than willing to pay the extra $60 a year if he could get trophies on his old PS1 and PS2 games.  Personally, I will not go for the yearly premium tier. I will, however, most likely get it for a couple months if I can play Lunar Eternal Blue and Lunar Silver Star from the Sega CD then downgrade back.

Will this new subscription service be worth it for you? Let us know in the comments.

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