Microsoft has seen massive success with its Xbox Game Pass subscription service which lets you stream and download a healthy selection of games on your Xbox and PC at the cost of a monthly fee. Xbox Game Pass also gets all Microsoft exclusives on day one so if you’re a member, you can enjoy the latest titles at no extra cost. Sony, on the other hand, has no direct competitor to Game Pass. It does have PlayStation Plus, which is similar and a direct rival to Xbox Live, and PlayStation Now, which is partially an xCloud competitor.
PlayStation Game Pass?
However, this is about to change next year as Bloomberg reports that Sony is working on a Xbox Game Pass alternative for its PlayStation brand. The subscription service is currently codenamed “Spartacus” and is set to come out in the spring of next year, 2022. According to the Jason Schreier (the reporter), the service will offer both classic and modern titles under one roof and essentially combine PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now. The service will still retain the PlayStation Plus branding, however the PS Now brand will be “phased out“.
Spartacus is said to have three different tiers, available on both the PS4 and PS5. The first tier will likely be the PS Plus we have today—a multiplayer fee along with free games. The second tier will add modern PS4 and PS5 titles to the service which you’d be able to stream or download to your console, just like with PlayStation Now. Lastly, the third tier will be the biggest upgrade offering classic PS1, PS2, PS3, and PSP (maybe PS Vita?) games along with modern titles and the baseline PS Plus. On top of that, you’ll also get access to extended demos and game streaming.
One crucial difference to note here is that Jason makes it clear to not expect PlayStation exclusives to come to Spartacus day-and-date with their official release. All Xbox exclusives launch on Game Pass side-by-side their actual retail release. This will limit the scope of Sony’s service but it’s still set to be overall a solid package and certainly stronger than PlayStation Now ever was. Plus, the idea of finally getting a chance to play classic PS1-PS3 games on your modern PlayStation console is sure to make any eager fan teary-eyed.
This new service, expected in the spring, will likely retain the "PlayStation Plus" branding. Don't expect Sony to include its big new games day one like Game Pass does, but the expectation is a stronger offering than PlayStation Now
— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) December 3, 2021
What this means going forward
This is an interesting development as Sony has generally been the more fundamentalist of the two when it comes to things like these. Microsoft has been clear about the future of gaming and how they don’t seen particular hardware being tied to it, instead the internet and cloud will lead the innovation. Sony has been adamant on establishing and maintaining proper generational gaps through their consoles.
Therefore, Sony has been much more focused on delivering quality exclusives along with reliable hardware, you know, the basics. But, Microsoft has been a lot more experimental with their approach and Xbox Game Pass was a result of that. Sony, now, developing their own PlayStation Pass of sorts will now put them more on par with Microsoft’s strategy. Before we can make any further judgements, let’s to make sure to pass the salt at the table and wait before we can actually see how this thing turns out.