It's official; Sony has revealed PS Plus Essentials, PS Plus Extra and PS Plus Premium, a three-tier subscription service that is the company's answer to Xbox Game Pass.
The base level of the service, PS Plus Essentials, will cost $9.99/€8.99/£6.99 a month (or $24.99/€24.99/£19.99 per three months, or $59.99/€59.99/£49.99 per year) and is effectively the same as PS Plus.
The next band up – PS Plus Extra – includes all the benefits you get with PlayStation Plus, as well as a library of 400 PS4 and PS5 games that can be downloaded to your consoles. Marquee PlayStation games like Spider-Man, Spider-Man: Miles Morales, God of War, Returnal, Mortal Kombat 11 and Death Stranding will be available as part of this tier (similarly to PlayStation Now, at the moment). It’s worth noting that no Sony games will be added on day one as part of the service – unlike on Xbox – and instead we’ll get first-party games on the service sometime after their initial launch windows.
PS Plus Extra will cost: $14.99/€13.99/£10.99 a month, $39.99/€39.99/£31.99 for three months, or $99.99/€99.99/£83.99 a year.
Finally, there’s PS Plus Premium – this tier includes all the above and also adds classic games from the PS1, PS2 and PSP, time-limited game trials, and PS3/PS4 game streaming. This service will cost: $17.99/€16.99/£13.49 a month, $49.99/€49.99/£39.99 for three months, or $119.99/€119.99/£99.99 a year. Sony notes that you will be able to download or stream the retro games as part of this plan (thanks, GI.biz)
Apparently, we can expect "a catalog of beloved classic games available in both streaming and download options from the original PlayStation, PS2 and PSP generations", though no details about what they will be have been shared at the time of writing. There will be about 340 more games on this tier than the previous tier, per PlayStation.These changes to the current PS Plus setup will kick off from June. "In the June timeframe, we’ll begin with an initial launch in several markets in Asia, followed by North America, Europe and the rest of the world where PlayStation Plus is offered" notes Sony. "We aim to have most PlayStation Network territories live with our new PlayStation Plus game subscription service by the end of the first half of 2022. We also plan to expand our cloud streaming benefit to additional markets, and will provide more details at a later date".
The service, which seems to be something of a mix of PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now, was codenamed Spartacus and – per recent reports – has been in the works at Sony for a little while.
Given that we saw Sony trademark Knack earlier this week, could we expect the long-suffering PlayStation mascot to make a reappearance via this service? Stranger things have happened.
Similarly to its Xbox template, the service formerly known as Spartacus will have a monthly fee, and players will need to subscribe to the service in order to continue using the benefits, month-to-month.
Unlike Xbox's service, though, there will be a variety of tiers you can join at – slightly more diverse than the Xbox Game Pass regular and Ultimate tiers.
The more expensive tiers will let you stream games (instead of downloading before you play) and give exclusive access to demos so you can try out big-ticket PlayStation games before they officially launch.
It makes sense for Sony to launch this now, in 2022: Sony has been lacking a true competitor to Xbox Game Pass for a while, and whilst PlayStation Plus has 48 million subscribers (as of December 2021), its PlayStation Now service only has 3.2 million – rebranding and relaunching its subscription service in this way is certainly a good play, and may even make a dent in the 25 million-strong userbase Xbox Game Pass boasts (as of January 2022).