At the end of 2021, we heard tell of a project out of Sony called Spartacus. This new initiative was said to be a competitor to Microsoft's Game Pass, offering a subscription service that would give gamers access to games from an existing collection. This week, the company officially took the lid off of Spartacus, which is being wrapped into PlayStation Plus.
New PlayStation Plus levels
Before this week's announcement, PlayStation Plus was a single tier. Now, the company has expanded it beyond the basics and into Game Pass territory. PlayStation Plus members will have access to a library of games, as well as exclusive discounts on PlayStation Store purchases and early access to beta tests and demos, on a 3 tier system.
PlayStation Plus Essential
For $59.99/year or $9.99 per month, PlayStation Plus Essential members will have access to the entire library of PlayStation Plus games, as well as all of the benefits mentioned above.
PlayStation Plus Extra
For $99.99/year or $14.99 per month, PlayStation Plus Extra members will have access to the entire library of PlayStation Plus games, as well as all of the benefits mentioned above, plus a selection of PlayStation VR games each month and exclusive discounts on PlayStation Store purchases.
PlayStation Plus Premium
For $119.99/year or $17.99 per month, PlayStation Plus Premium members will have access to the entire library of PlayStation Plus games, as well as all of the benefits mentioned above, plus a selection of PlayStation VR games each month, early access to beta tests and demos, and exclusive discounts on PlayStation Store purchases.
What does this mean for Microsoft's Game Pass?
It's hard not to see this as a direct response to Game Pass. Microsoft's service currently offers access to over 100 games for $99/year. PlayStation Plus is now in a position to try to compete with its new tiers, though it is far from the same service.
PlayStation Plus is a service designed for people who are already all-in on the PlayStation ecosystem. Game Pass, on the other hand, is not designed exclusively for people who are Xbox gamers. The service is also valuable for PC and mobile gamers, hence the recent rebranding the minimize the Xbox name. On the other hand, the new PlayStation Plus tiers are targeted specifically toward PlayStation gamers.
In a recent report from Windows Central, Microsoft has been working to expand the reach of Game Pass beyond a singular account across different platforms. The company is said to be working to add a family plan that would give up to five people access to the service and all of its features. The company has not officially announced the plan or its details but has confirmed that it is moving ahead with the idea. PlayStation has not announced any plans along these lines, putting it even farther behind the Game Pass feature set.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out over the coming year and whether PlayStation Plus can gain traction in the subscription space.