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Sony beefs up PlayStation Plus to take on Xbox Game Pass

Sony beefs up PlayStation Plus to take on Xbox Game Pass
(Image credit: Sony)

Sony is refreshing its PlayStation Plus service in an attempt to threaten the dominance of Xbox Game Pass. The new PlayStation Plus will incorporate PlayStation Now – which will no longer operate as a standalone service – and offers three subscription tiers.

  • PlayStation Plus Essential offers the same service as the current PlayStation Plus. That means: two downloadable games a month; exclusive discounts; cloud storage for saved games; online multiplayer access. It costs $9.99 / £6.99 monthly, $24.99 / £19.99 quarterly and $59.99 / £49.99 yearly.
  • PlayStation Plus Extra offers the same as the Essential tier, plus up to 400 PS4 and PS5 games to download. It costs $14.99 / £10.99 monthly, $39.99 / £31.99 quarterly and $99.99 / £83.99 yearly.
  • PlayStation Plus Premium gives you the same benefits as the above two tiers, plus another 340 games comprising PS3 titles for cloud streaming and PS1, PS2 and PSP games available either to download or stream. It also offers what was called PlayStation Now – i.e. cloud streaming access for original PlayStation, PS2, PSP and PS4 games offered in the Extra and Premium tiers where PlayStation Now is available. And time-limited game trials of new titles so you can try before you buy. It costs $17.99 / £13.49 monthly, $49.99 / £39.99 quarterly and $119.99 / £99.99 yearly.

In markets where cloud streaming isn't available, Sony will offer an option called PlayStation Plus Deluxe. This is cheaper than the Premium tier, and includes a catalogue of downloadable games from PS1, PS2 and PSP, as well as time-limited game trials. It also includes the benefits of the Essential and Extra tiers.

The new tiers launch in June in Asia, followed by North America, Europe and the rest of the world. Once launched, PlayStation Now will no longer be available as a separate option. PlayStation Now subscribers will be transferred to PlayStation Plus Premium with no increase to their bill "at launch" (which suggests there could be increases down the line if Sony puts up prices).

At launch, Sony intends to include games like Death Stranding, God of War, Marvel’s Spider-Man, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Mortal Kombat 11, and Returnal in its Extra and Premium tiers. However, it has stopped short of offering its upcoming PlayStation-exclusive games on the days they launch – something Microsoft offers with Xbox Game Pass, to great acclaim.

These changes were leaked beforehand, so they come as no great surprise. Still, they offer more ways for PlayStation owners to get gaming, which has got to be a good thing.

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Joe has been writing about tech for 17 years, first on staff at T3 magazine, then in a freelance capacity for Stuff, The Sunday Times Travel Magazine, Men's Health, GQ, The Mirror, Trusted Reviews, TechRadar and many more (including What Hi-Fi?). His specialities include all things mobile, headphones and speakers that he can't justifying spending money on.