Sony’s answer to Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass is a revised version of the existing PlayStation Plus service with several tiers to choose from. So which is superior, assuming you have access to both? Let’s see.
Both services offer a library of games
PlayStation Plus is split into three tiers: Essential ($9.99/month), Extra ($14.99/month), and Premium ($17.99/month). Each includes access to Sony’s online services, plus cloud storage for game saves and limited discounts on PlayStation Store.
The last two of these levels provide access to a library of approximately “400” games, including first-party PlayStation Studios titles and third-party games from other publishers. You can download these titles and play them locally on your device as long as you are subscribed, with new titles appearing regularly and old ones disappearing.
Likewise, Game Pass is broken down into tiers, with Game Pass Ultimate being the most compelling value proposition. For $14.99/month, you get access to “over 100” titles from both Microsoft and third-party studios, access to EA Play’s games library, and an Xbox Live Gold subscription for online play. You also get some exclusive deals and benefits.
Like Sony’s offerings, Game Pass lets you download and play these titles as long as you’re subscribed. Titles appear and disappear monthly and sometimes weekly, and once your subscription expires, you lose access to the catalog.
If Ultimate sounds too much, you can also get Game Pass PC and Game Pass Console for $9.99/month, but you’ll need to invest in a separate Xbox Live Gold subscription to play on an Xbox online. You also lose benefits like cloud streaming (more on that later.)
In this regard, both services serve a similar purpose. As with any unlimited plan, there is always something to play. You may find yourself trying (and loving) titles that you would never have played otherwise, purely because you already have access to them.
Game Pass offers day one access to Microsoft titles
One area where Microsoft is making progress is the ability to play all of Microsoft’s exclusive, first-party titles on day one with Game Pass. This includes blockbuster franchises like Halo and Forza, plus new and returning IPs like Hellblade, Psychonauts 2, and Sea of Thieves.
Microsoft makes sure there are still a few good reasons to spend your own money on these titles too. For example, only the standard edition of Microsoft Flight Simulator is included with Xbox Game Pass. When Forza Horizon 5 launched in November 2021, customers could pre-order and get early access, while Game Pass subscribers had to wait.
All in all, this is one of the most compelling reasons to sign up for Game Pass. Even if you’re a fan of owning physical titles, it’s hard to say no when you get to try every new game from Microsoft’s ever-expanding repertoire of studios. Microsoft regularly plays this perk on presentations with “Play It Day One on Game Pass” badges at the end of trailers.
With the acquisition of Bethesda/Zenimax in 2021 and Activision Blizzard in 2022, many big names are expected to make an appearance on Game Pass on day one, including Starfield (Bethesda Game Studios’ upcoming “Skyrim in Space” RPG), future Elder Scrolls and Fallout titles, the Call of Duty series and Diablo IV.
Sony’s Premium Tier offers timed demos
While Microsoft promised to provide access to its entire first-party library, Sony has made no such promise. Instead, subscribers who choose the Premium tier of $17.99/month get access to “time-limited trials” for select games so you can try them before you buy.
Sony hasn’t expanded on which titles qualify for such trials, but the broader expectation is that Sony will expand this offering to its premium first-party lineup. This could be the upcoming God of War Ragnarok or Forspoken, as well as 2022 titles like Horizon Forbidden West or Gran Turismo 7.
How you feel about this probably depends on your expectations. There’s no question that it’s fun to give a game a good try before you buy it, limited by time rather than a demo version; but it doesn’t live up to what Microsoft offers Xbox owners.
Game Pass offers PC games and cloud streaming
With a Game Pass Ultimate Subscription you can play games locally on an Xbox console as well as on a PC. The two catalogs aren’t identical and there are fewer titles available on PC, but Microsoft even guarantees a few PC exclusives like Age of Empires, with PC-focused titles like Microsoft Flight Simulator arriving first on the Windows platform.
This is a real selling point if you have both an Xbox console and a Windows gaming PC. Plus, it’s even possible to share your Game Pass subscription with another Xbox console to get some real bang for your buck.
Ultimate also includes access to Xbox Cloud Gaming, which allows you to play games with cloud streaming. This means you can play most of the Xbox catalog without downloading anything using an Xbox console, Windows PC, iPhone, or Android smartphone.
PlayStation Plus Premium includes streaming for older titles
Sony also offers game streaming for subscribers on the Premium tier of $17.99/month, but this is currently limited to PS3 titles and some older PlayStation, PS2, and PSP games. There is currently no list of games that will be included, but Sony promises to play an additional 340 games via cloud streaming.
PS3 titles are only available via cloud streaming, which means it is not possible to download and play these games natively. A solid internet connection is a must for an enjoyable streaming experience.
The “better” option is the one you can access
Comparisons between the two services may sound a bit hollow unless you own both consoles. PlayStation Plus is limited to the blue camp, so Xbox owners can’t take advantage of it. Game Pass Ultimate and PC Game Pass also allow gamers with a Windows machine to play, and Microsoft’s cloud streaming features are good for iPhone and Android owners, but are (in our opinion) not enough on their own to get a subscription. justify.
Game Pass feels like the more complete service, although Sony promises more games. If you’re interested in older PS3, PS2, and PlayStation titles, you’ve got Sony’s Premium tier covered (and Microsoft can’t quite compete.)
In any case, if having a library of games on your console of choice sounds good, we recommend that you try out the subscription at your disposal.