The new PlayStation Plus is not a big deal

When rumors about Sony’s new subscription service surfaced, I had a hard time getting excited. After Xbox Game Pass had screwed me up all along, I was, against my better judgment, hoping that Sony would copy this concept more or less exactly. Unfortunately, it turned out to be more of a change the brand that for a truly new service.

PlayStation Plus will soon consist of three different tiers: Essential, Extra, and Premium. Essential is exactly the same as the current PS Plus and that’s never really been a good deal. Like Xbox Live Gold and Nintendo Switch Online, it offers features that I think should be free. Why are we still paying for online games in 2022? That is really a mystery to me.

It’s also weird that you have to pay for cloud saves, and the monthly games are hardly worth it. Xbox Live Gold, PS Plus and Nintendo Switch Online are just an easy way to earn extra money and I’m afraid we’re going to have to deal with that for a long time.

PlayStation Plus

PlayStation Plus Extra, on the other hand, already sounds a bit more interesting due to the sheer number of downloadable PlayStation 4 and 5 games, but secretly, this is just PlayStation Now. Let’s face it, that service hasn’t really taken off yet with a measly three million subscribers. By comparison, PlayStation Plus currently has around 50 million subscribers and Xbox Game Pass 25 million. Sony has announced that more games will be added to the service. Includes Returnal, Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Mortal Kombat 11, God of War, and Death Stranding.

In addition, according to Sony, all major third-party developers will also participate. Whether this tier is going to be worth it for me depends entirely on how big of an overlap it is with Game Pass. There is a good chance that the overlap is significant. Developers willing to put their games on a service will opt for Game Pass and PS Plus in the future, I guess. Then the difference can be made with PlayStation exclusive stunners. These may make the service worthwhile in and of themselves, but it’s not yet clear when they’ll be available and how long they’ll stay on it. The Last Of Us: Part 2 released on PS Now a while back, but that too was gone in a month or two. That doesn’t bode well.

In any case, it’s clear that the latest PlayStation-owned games won’t be coming to PlayStation Plus on launch day, and that’s a huge loss, especially compared to Microsoft’s approach. PlayStation boss Jim Ryan said in an interview that he doesn’t see subscription services as the future of the medium, unlike the music and movie industries. That’s a bit of a crazy statement right after he announced his own subscription service, but it indicates that Sony isn’t 100 percent committed to the subscription world.

the last of us part 2

Finally, there is PlayStation Plus Premium. With this tier, you get a host of backwards compatible games, the ability to stream games over the internet, and new game demos. Then it is possible to download games that have appeared on the first PlayStation, PlayStation 2 and PSP. PlayStation 3 games need to be streamed due to the console’s complicated Cell processor, which makes emulation quite tricky.

Still, I find it hard to believe as there are great fan-made PlayStation 3 emulators out there for PC. With a bit of effort, Sony can get this working on the PlayStation 5 as well, but apparently they don’t think it’s important enough. In any case, putting backwards compatibility behind a paywall is a crazy choice. Is the value of that function precisely being able to revive old games from your collection? It’s a shame that you have to pay again to play games you already own.

No word yet on the demos. I guess it will be similar to the way EA Access works and that’s pretty handy. There you can try each game for ten hours. For example, within ten minutes of playing I found Battlefield 2042 to be a shit show and that saved me $60. Paying for demos may sound crazy, but it can be worth it.

Now I can sound very negative and that is not exactly my intention. You can also see it in a more positive light: Sony continues to do what it does best and go its own way. We’ll continue to get delicious PlayStation exclusives for years to come, even if we pay full price for them. This current strategy works very well, because Sony is still the market leader. A good subscription service would have been the icing on the cake for me, but that cake is fine to eat without that icing and still flies across the counter like hotcakes.

But so far I’m not excited about the new PlayStation Plus. It turns out that, despite the hopes of many players, in the end it just doesn’t have much to offer. Of course, that conclusion is still a bit premature, as we still don’t know exactly what the offer will be. I sincerely hope that the service will surprise me when it becomes available in June. Two beautiful consoles with two beautiful subscription services is all I want!

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