For many months now, rumours have swirled that a “PlayStation Game Pass” subscription service is coming. Introducing a competitor to Microsoft’s all-consuming Xbox Game Pass makes a lot of sense; it gives PS5 gamers a rival subscription to pick up, and it would be a shot in the arm for the slightly ailing PlayStation Plus service as well. Now, it looks like Sony is making good on its promise, as an overhaul to PS Plus is on its way.
Yes, as of this June, you’ll have more PlayStation Plus options to choose from. If you ask us, this has been a long time coming. The PS Plus service is the only indefensible part of Sony’s PS5 operations. It’s just not good enough; while you do get a few games to download each month and access to online play, that doesn’t feel like a justification for the often middling quality of the games or the weak discounts on offer. As such, we’re excited for the new PS Plus. Let’s take a look at what it’s turning into!
The new PlayStation Plus will have three tiers
First and foremost, what you need to understand about the new PlayStation Plus service is that it will offer three subscription tiers. Each one will offer progressively more content, with the first being a relatively basic offering and the third giving you full access to Sony’s cloud streaming library. Here’s a breakdown of the tiers, their pricing, and what you’ll get if you subscribe to them.
PlayStation Plus Essential
The first tier is PlayStation Plus Essential. At its core, this is the same service as you’re subscribing to right now if you’re a PS Plus subscriber. You’ll get access to two or three games per month, as well as the ability to play online with your friends, exclusive discounts in the PlayStation Store, and cloud saves. In addition, you’ll also be able to play the PS Plus Collection on PS5, which gathers a group of classic PS4 games together for you to enjoy. This tier will set you back the same amount as a regular PS Plus subscription, so nothing is changing for you if you subscribe to this option.
PlayStation Plus Extra
The next tier up, PlayStation Plus Extra, gives you everything you’d get from Essential, plus a few more perks. In addition to online play, cloud storage, and the PS Plus monthly games, you’re also getting access to a catalogue of what Sony calls “the most enjoyable PS4 and PS5 games”. These will be a mixture of third-party offerings and Sony first-party games, although there won’t be any day-one new releases on the service. You can download everything on offer in the Extra tier, too, rather than just streaming it. You’ll be paying £10.99 a month or £83.99 per year for this tier.
PlayStation Plus Premium
Finally, we have the PlayStation Plus Premium tier, which is the third and most expensive option. Everything that was part of the last two tiers will be yours with this tier as well, but you’re also getting access to PlayStation Now, the streaming service that’s been a part of the Sony strategy for many years. PlayStation Now will let you stream games from the PlayStation back catalogue across the PS4, PS3, PS2, PS1, and PSP consoles. Some of these games will also be available for download. All in all, this will give you access to over 700 games. You’ll pay £13.49 a month for this, or you can pay for a year for £100.
Are these tiers available everywhere?
These tiers won’t technically be available in every territory around the world. Sony says it’s working hard to introduce PlayStation Plus to more countries and regions, but your particular region might not support cloud gaming, and if it doesn’t, you’ll have access to a PlayStation Plus Deluxe tier instead of Premium. Deluxe adds “a catalogue of beloved classic games” from the PS1, PS2, and PSP, and you can download all of these. Both Premium and Deluxe will also offer timed trials for you to check out before you buy a game. If PS Plus and PS Now are available in your area, then you’ll be able to get the three new tiers.
Can you still subscribe to PlayStation Now?
No. As of June this year, you won’t be able to subscribe to PlayStation Now as a standalone service. It’ll be fully integrated into the new PlayStation Plus subscription tier, so if you want to stream games, you’ll need to subscribe to the new PS Plus. However, if you’re a PS Now subscriber, then Sony says you’ll be moved across to the new PS Plus Premium tier with no additional cost to your subscription “at launch”. Presumably, this means that your fees will eventually go up, but for now, you won’t pay any extra for the Plus Premium subscription.
When does the PS Plus change happen?
Per Sony, these changes will take effect in June this year. The company says it aims to have all of its PS plus regions transitioned to the new service “by the end of the first half of 2022”, so you can expect to be enjoying the new tiers at least by the end of June. In addition, cloud streaming will be coming to more markets, which means the PS Plus tiers will also be making a debut in those markets.
Is this basically PlayStation Game Pass?
Yes and no. While similarities between the two services do exist – they’re both subscription services with a back catalogue of games and the option to stream – Game Pass brings first-party Xbox games to the service on day one, which Sony won’t be doing. There are also a number of other differences; Sony won’t natively support PC gaming, for example, and Xbox Game Pass doesn’t offer three different subscription tiers.