For many years Sony has several subscription services, which can be a bit confusing. PlayStation Plus is the one you’re probably most familiar with as it’s essential for online gaming, but there’s also PlayStation Now, which comes with game streaming and a library of games. But now the two are merging into one mega service… still called PlayStation Plus.
The new changes are largely Sony’s answer to Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass, which we previously described as one of the best deals in gaming right now. Game Pass Ultimate combines a library of downloadable games, cloud streaming, and online gameplay in one subscription. And now PlayStation Plus.
Good. Like. PlayStation Plus now has multiple tiers, and only some of them offer additional benefits. Here’s a breakdown of the new levels:
- PlayStation Plus Essential ($10/month or $60/year): If you’re already a PlayStation Plus subscriber, this tier is basically the same. It allows you to play online games and store saved games in the cloud. You can also claim two free games and add them to your library every month and you can keep playing them as long as you stay subscribed. This tier will also continue to include a collection of top tier PlayStation Plus games for PS5 owners.
- PlayStation Plus Extra ($15/month or $100/year): This tier includes an additional 400 PS4 and PS5 games that you can directly download to your system. As with Game Pass, this selection of games may change over time, and some may end up leaving the service.
- PlayStation Plus Premium ($18/month or $120/year): This tier adds game streaming that was previously exclusive to PlayStation Now. It also adds another library of games, this time for every PlayStation generation from the original to the PS3. Some games will be streaming-only (including all PS3 games), while others will be available for download.
Cumbersome names aside, this is a welcome simplification of Sony’s offerings. But not without flaws. Some games are streaming only, which you will have to consider when choosing a level. If you don’t have a really good internet connection, or have restrictive data restrictionsyou may not get as much benefit from this level.
Changes to this service will roll out to Asian markets in June, with North America and Europe shortly thereafter, so you have time to consider your options.
If you already have a PlayStation Plus subscription and you’re happy with it as it is, good news! You don’t have to do anything. Your subscription will now be called PlayStation Plus Essential, but otherwise it will remain the same. You keep your library of claimed games and all.
PlayStation Now subscribers will be upgraded to PlayStation Plus Premium, but most importantly, their price will not increase immediately after launch. Existing subscribers will be able to keep their PS Plus Premium subscription as long as they have already paid for it without spending a dime. If you buy a quarterly or even yearly subscription, you’ll get several months of Premium at no additional cost.
If you thought this was a good time to stock up on PlayStation Now for months, Sony has thought of it ahead of time. Only monthly subscriptions available in the company’s store, and Sony is withdrawing PlayStation Now gift cards (including 12-month cards) from retailers. From January. However, if you’re lucky enough to have it sitting around, maybe wait a bit to redeem it.
While much of Sony’s subscription is similar to Xbox Game Pass, one key difference may be a hurdle for some. Microsoft is adding Xbox Game Studios games to Game Pass on their first day of release, but Sony won’t take this approach. It may not seem like much, but the potential difference could be hundreds of dollars a year.
For example, when Halo Infinite dropped, it could be purchased separately for $60, but for Game Pass subscribers, it just showed up in their library. However, even players who subscribe to PlayStation Plus Premium will have to pay $70 for Horizon Forbidden West. Since an annual subscription to even the highest tier of PS Plus is only $120, that can be a significant price difference depending on how many new games you play each month.
This means that the cost of higher PS Plus tiers will largely depend on which games are included in the respective libraries. While 400+ or even 700+ games sounds like a lot, if you still have to shell out $70 for one game that you really want to play, it might not be that profitable.
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