A long-rumored change to PlayStation’s offerings has finally come. Sony has officially launched its answer to Xbox’s Game Pass, an updated PlayStation Plus subscription model with new tiers for gamers. This Game Pass competitor will combine two of PlayStation’s current services, PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now, under the umbrella of the “all-new PlayStation Plus subscription service.” Here’s a breakdown of the new PlayStation Plus tiers, when we can expect the subscription service to launch, and most importantly, the updated costs these tiers bring with them.
PlayStation Plus Essential – $9.99 Monthly
This PlayStation Plus Essential subscription tier is the most basic of the three levels.
Here’s what the tier offers. According to PlayStation’s release, it:
Provides the same benefits that PlayStation Plus members are getting today, such as:
- Two monthly downloadable games
- Exclusive discounts
- Cloud storage for saved games
- Online multiplayer access
In short, “there are no changes for existing PlayStation Plus members in this tier.”
The pricing also remains the same as the current PlayStation Plus pricing, which is to say $9.99 per month in the United States or $59.99 per year.
PlayStation Plus Extra – $14.99 monthly
This slightly more expensive PlayStation subscription tier brings new benefits for members. PlayStation explains that it:
- Provides all the benefits from the Essential tier
- Adds a catalog of up to 400 of the most enjoyable PS4 and PS5 games – including blockbuster hits from our PlayStation Studios catalog and third-party partners. Games in the Extra tier are downloadable for play.
Note that the “most enjoyable games” do not necessarily mean the newest ones. However, this catalog addition comes as a welcome update.
The PlayStation Plus Extra tier costs $14.99 per month or $99.99 per year.
PlayStation Plus Premium – $17.99 monthly
The third and most expensive tier in the new PlayStation Plus model creates even more possibilities for gamers. Here’s what this tier entails:
- Provides all the benefits from Essential and Extra tiers
- Adds up to 340 additional games, including:
- PS3 games available via cloud streaming
- A catalog of beloved classic games available in both streaming and download options from the original PlayStation, PS2, and PSP generations
- Offers cloud streaming access for original PlayStation, PS2, PSP, and PS4 games offered in the Extra and Premium tiers in markets where PlayStation Now is currently available. Customers can stream games using PS4 and PS5 consoles, and PC.
- Time-limited game trials will also be offered in this tier, so customers can try select games before they buy.
A big draw here for gamers is the retro games the tier will offer. It may not call to everyone, but it certainly is a unique feature. The PlayStation Plus Premium tier cost $17.99 per month or $119.99 per year.
PlayStation Plus: Launch Dates, Games, and More
According to PlayStation, these new tiers offer a significant evolution for users. At launch, PlayStation intends to include titles such as Death Stranding, God of War, Marvel’s Spider-Man, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Mortal Kombat 11, and Returnal. And promise that the “library will be regularly refreshed.”
PlayStation Now will no longer be available as a standalone service when the new service launches. And users will transition into the new offering. “PlayStation Now customers will migrate over to PlayStation Plus Premium with no increase to their current subscription fees at launch.”
The launch will occur in phases, however. First, the PlayStation Plus subscription tiers will release in markets in Asia around June. Then, markets in North America, Europe, and globally will follow. The aim is to have a majority of locations live with the subscription service by the end of the first half of 2022. Additionally, the platform seeks to expand its cloud streaming offering to additional markets.
PlayStation does note that “for markets without cloud streaming, PlayStation Plus Deluxe will be offered at a lower price compared to Premium, and includes a catalog of beloved classic games from the original PlayStation, PS2 and PSP generations to download and play, along with time-limited game trials. Benefits from Essential and Extra tiers are also included. Local pricing will vary by market.”
PlayStation Plus vs. Xbox Game Pass
According to PlayStation, “The newly enhanced PlayStation Plus will enable our fans to discover and engage with more content than ever before, and deepen their connection with the PlayStation community through shared experiences.”
While this offering is certainly a Game Pass competitor, the two are not identical. The main difference lies in the fact that PlayStation Plus will not include exclusive PlayStation games on the service as soon as they launch for retail purchasing. PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan shares with GamesIndustry.biz:
[In terms of] putting our own games into this service, or any of our services, upon their release… as you well know, this is not a road that we’ve gone down in the past. And it’s not a road that we’re going to go down with this new service. We feel if we were to do that with the games that we make at PlayStation Studios, that virtuous cycle will be broken. 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.
Despite this, Ryan shares nothing is set in stone for the long term. And even without launch day availability, PlayStation Plus has some pretty great games on hand.
Additionally, while the PlayStation offerings have a higher monthly cost than Xbox’s options, Ryan notes that they are competitive from an annual perspective.
There you have it—the current purview of the new PlayStation Plus subscription service. We’ll update you with more details as they release.