Sony Launch Competitor to Xbox Games Pass
In response to the massive success of Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass, Sony have revamped their PlayStation Plus subscription service by uniting it with PlayStation Now and adding the ability to access a database of games.
Lewis Ward, head of gaming research at IDC says that the revamp of their subscription service was “overdue”.
The new service is available in three tiers – PlayStation Plus Essential for $9.99 USD ($59.99 per year), PlayStation Plus Extra in the middle for $14.99 USD ($99.99 per year) and PlayStation Plus Premium that tops out at $17.99 USD monthly ($119.99 per year). Essential is very much similar to what is currently offered, while Extra grants access to a database of 400 games from PS4 and PS5, while Premium gives access to 700 games available on a much larger variety of PlayStation consoles.
While Sony are the market leader in console sales despite chip shortages and stock issues, there are aspects of their new service that may deter users. Xbox Game Pass has become widely popular thanks to a massive database of games, including ones available from day one. PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan has stated that releasing brand new first-party PlayStation titles via subscription is “not a road that we’re going to go down with this new service.”
Some triple AAA exclusives will be present on the service according to Sony, who announced 6 games including Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, God of War and Death Stranding. However, a lack of games on the platform is a concern, and many of the games announced were top sellers, meaning many potential users are unlikely to subscribe as they already own copies.
The release of games on the subscription service has proven to work to increase consumer engagement dramatically. In reference to Xbox Game Pass, Xbox’s game creator experience and ecosystem vice president Sarah Bond explained that “the engagement in a game when it goes into a subscription goes up eight times above where it was before, and members actually spend 50 percent more.”
However, Sony have continued to disagree that games benefit from subscription service launches and believe that the games would feel less important to customers and drop in quality. “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.”
By doing their best to avoid making their games less significant and important, they have reduced the significance and importance of their subscription service.