Sony reportedly intends to introduce a video game subscription service that rivals Xbox Game Pass. However, that would also eliminate PlayStation Now in the process.
Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass service has earned the Netflix nickname of video games because its main offering is to give members access to a library of over 100 video games for a monthly subscription of $ 10 or $ 15. While Sony already offers PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now, the company has yet to introduce a service with an offering of the same magnitude.
However, that could change soon, as Sony is reportedly working on a project called Spartacus. Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier reports that the planned PlayStation subscription service could launch in spring 2022 and would be offered to PS4 and PS5 users. Sony plans to merge PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now in the next service. While the PlayStation Plus brand is expected to be maintained, PlayStation Now could be phased out with the launch of rival Xbox Game Pass.
Internal documents reviewed by the publication suggest that the upcoming PlayStation subscription service may be available in three tiers. One of them will include PlayStation Plus deals, which currently include monthly free games on PS4 and PS5. The second level should later offer a “large catalog” of PS4 games and PS5 titles. The third plan, which appears to be the premier option, will provide game demos, game streaming, and access to older titles launching on PS1, PS2, PS3, and PSP.
The report did not specifically mention whether Project Spartacus would also give members day one access to proprietary titles produced by PlayStation Studios. But Sony’s previous statements on the matter, despite the new report, strongly suggest that this is unlikely to happen.
“Our business case, as you’ve heard, is ‘new games, great games.’ We’ve had this conversation before – we’re not going to go into integrating new titles into a subscription model.” PlayStation boss Jim Ryan told GamesIndustry.biz in September 2020. “These games cost several million dollars, well over $ 100 million, to grow. We just don’t see it as sustainable.”
One of the notable perks of Xbox Game Pass membership is being able to play AAA and independent games from Xbox studios and third-party developers at launch. At no additional cost, Game Pass members can play titles like “Halo Infinite”, “Forza Horizon 5” and the next “Starfield” on launch day. The highly anticipated “The Elder Scrolls 6” should receive the same treatment.
Meanwhile, many were surprised when “MLB The Show 21” launched for Xbox consoles last April. It has been exclusive to PlayStation consoles for years as the franchise is developed and maintained by San Diego Studio, a subsidiary of PlayStation Studios. The game was also one of the top third-party titles that arrived on Xbox Game Pass on Day One.
Microsoft also integrated the Xbox Cloud Gaming service with Xbox Game Pass, which became more widely available this year. xCloud currently supports Windows PCs, Android and Apple devices, and Xbox consoles in some regions. And the same report noted that this is also something that PlayStation is currently exploring.
photo by Ben Iwara to Unsplash