PlayStation Creating Xbox Game Pass Competitor

Courtesy Playstation

Update 3/25/22: Jason Schreier is reporting Spartacus could be announced as soon as next week. His most recent article highlights details on the highest tier that will also include extended demos and a game streaming option for some games. The article revealed no other new information.

Xbox Game Pass and Game Pass Ultimate have been widely regarded as the best bargain in gaming. For years Sony has tried to compete with their own gaming service, Playstation Now. While the library could be seen as comparable, server issues and lack of newer titles plagued this service. While the price points are comparable to Xbox Game Pass itself (there is no monthly option though), the bundle of Ultimate surpasses anything Sony has to offer… until now.

In an article for Bloomberg, video game writer Jason Schreier reports that Sony is working on merging PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now into one service codenamed Spartacus. Schreier elaborated in his article tweet leaving us with tempered expectations about the service.

To really understand the magnitude of this news, here are some facts about Xbox and PlayStation’s flagship services:

PlayStation offers gamers PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now. PlayStation Plus is Sony’s online service, with its users getting free games playable on PS4 and PS5 monthly. PS Plus is currently $9.99 per month, $24.99 per 3 months, or $59.99 annually. PlayStation Now gives gamers the ability to play a library of PS4, PS3, and PS2 titles that can be streamed or downloaded on either PS5, PS4 and PC. PlayStation Now currently offers 2 price points; $24.99 every 3 months or $59.99 per year.

Courtesy Xbox

Xbox’s flagship service is Game Pass Ultimate. This actually includes five services in one. These services are Xbox Live, Xbox Game Pass, PC Game Pass, XCloud, and EA Play. With Xbox Live players get four free games a month and are able to play online in all games. XCloud is Xbox’s game streaming service that allows players to stream games on mobile devices, PC, and Xbox consoles. While you can get all but Xcloud as separate subscriptions you get all five for just $14.99 per month. Game Pass also offers games at launch regularly.

While there are no promises for day one releases on the new service, it seems that Sony is trying its hardest to compete with Game Pass. The Bloomberg article was not able to reveal any sources since this plan is obviously in its infancy. The reports obtained by Schreier and Bloomberg outlined a 3 tier system.

With Sony planning to phase out PlayStation Now, these 3 tiers will offer gamers some flexibility in how they want to play. The first tier will basically be PlayStation Plus and still include the monthly free games. The second tier will give you the first tier and include the new game service. This tier will be limited to only PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 games. The final tier will include all the lower-tier benefits and also give players access to an extensive retro library from the PlayStation 1, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable systems.

If Sony eventually adds first and third-party day one releases, they could certainly give Microsoft a run for their money. The last generation Sony won the console wars. However, it is obvious that Sony is feeling like they are losing the current leg of the race. This report certainly alludes to that. 

Also reported by Schreier is that Sony is looking at ways to break into the cloud gaming market. While PlayStation Now does offer game streaming, from my experience the servers are not very stable.

Game Pass, at this point and time, is certainly the best bargain in gaming. You can see why in my article here. Sony, it seems, is starting to understand the best way to compete with it. Spartacus is supposedly due Spring 2022. Let’s see if it can give Game Pass a run for its money.

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