Game Pass Vs. The New PS Plus, The Comparison We Had to Make

Alloy and Master Chief stand next to each other.

image, Sony / Microsoft / Kotaku

Two months ago, Sony re-imagined PS Plus, its longstanding subscription program for PlayStation owners. Now, it looks a lot like Microsoft’s Game Pass: For roughly the same amount, both offer access to a Netflix-style game-on-demand library. Obviously, we had to pit the two services against each other.


worth

Game Pass is available as a subscription for console, PC, or both. The two different tiers cost $10 per month. Xbox Live Ultimate, which combines the two and provides access to the EA Play library (a similar game-on-demand service) and Xbox Live Gold, costs $15 per month. There is no way to pay for several months or even a year at the tier markdown (at least officially).

PS Plus is also available for subscription, but it gets complicated pretty fast. There are two new levels. An additional $15 per month, or $100 for the year, and offers a list of on-demand games including free monthly games, online games, and some of Ubisoft’s library. Premium is $18 per month or $120 per year, and adds access to classic games, game trials, and cloud streaming for most games in the library. That’s a huge price difference, and while the PS Plus Premium is more expensive month-to-month, it’s actually about 50 percent cheaper if you commit to a full year.

Winner: PS Plus


streaming

Game Pass allows cloud-streaming, provided you pay for the more expensive Ultimate tier. The streaming functionality is technically still “in beta,” but it’s for all intents and purposes up and running. Microsoft recommended Internet speed of at least 10 Mbps for mobile devices and 20 Mbps for console and PC. based on my boxTesting it… OK? Despite the huge advances in cloud gaming recently, streaming still can’t compete with downloaded games. The latency, although slight, is unintentional. As such, cloud gaming is best used for puzzlers, chill RPGs, light platformers, and other games that don’t demand split-second reflexes.

Microsoft says “more than 100” games are currently streamable via cloud gaming on Xbox Game Pass, but more games are added every few weeks. Right now, the Game Pass library currently lists 381 games as capable of streaming.

A cat bats a puddle in Stray.

Stray.
Screenshot: Annapurna / Kotaku

To unlock streaming on PS Plus you need to buy the $18 a month tier. And even then, the streaming quality is nothing to write home about. At best, it’s as good as Xbox Cloud Gaming. Sometimes it’s worse. Roughly 320 games from the Premium library can be streamed on console or PC, and a good chunk of those are PS3 games and classics rather than the full PlayStation 4 library. For example, Marvel’s Avengers and Stray are available on console but not in the streaming library.

Most notably, you can’t stream PS Plus games to your phone. For now, the service relies on Remote Play, meaning you need a console to play on mobile and you must be on the same WiFi network.

Winner: Game Pass


Game Library

Of course, a games-on-demand service is only as good as the one thing it’s supposed to provide: games.

Right now, Xbox Game Pass Library It has about 475 games, but that tally includes the library at both levels, which includes the 92 games that are currently part of EA Play. Of course, the main attraction is that Microsoft keeps its entire first-party portfolio on the platform. It also includes the pillars of the main tent—such as hello infinity And forza horizon 5Upcoming blockbusters like . with starfield And redfallThose who become available the day they come out. Third-party games last about a year, though some, such as Rockstar’s open-world Hold ’em simulator red dead redemption 2, become unavailable after a matter of months. This is unexpected.

Two Banshees flying in the air in Hello Infinite.

hello infinity,
screenshot, 343 Industries

The library regularly cycles into third-party games and often serves as a launch pad for indie gems. This Year Alone, Tweak zelda-to like tunicsnowboarding sim shredderand puzzler-cum-dungeon-crawler loot river All games launched on Pass. (here is my boxList of best under-the-radar games Currently available.) Developers have accepted my box Debuting on Game Pass takes a cut of the initial sales but is ultimately worth it for the tradeoff in promotion.

PS Plus Extras currently includes about 430 PS4 and PS5 games, while Premium adds another 395 from PS1, PS2, PS3 (streaming only) and PSP. While the classics are a nice bonus, by far the biggest attraction are PlayStation exclusives like Horizon Zero Dawn, God of war, Spider-Man: Miles MoralesAnd bloodborne, Unlike Microsoft, Sony has committed to not putting its latest release on the day and date of the service, and if a return after a year of release is any indication, it seems like a good bet that players will be able to at least Have to wait at least one year and 18 months before new stuff appears.

There are plenty of strong contenders in the third party department though. love the game Final Fantasy VII Remake, to hunt, control, ApocalypseAnd tetris effect All exist, as are the Indies celeste, outdoor wild, dead cellsAnd Virginia, There is a lot of diversity in the library and was recently strengthened by the addition of the same day lost, which is already a contender for 2022 GOTY. Led by Ubisoft Components Assassin’s Creed Valhalla There is also a strong compliment. At the same time, Sony has yet to demonstrate that it is, or will be, as aggressive as Microsoft in offering a steady stream of third-party day-to-day additions. There is also no PC-exclusive part of the library.

Winner: PS Plus


ari: Going into this exercise, I fully imagined it would paint a clearer picture of Game Pass superiority, but these two services seem fundamentally similar to me—right down to the UI—of the new version of Sony’s PS Plus. With the case marginally better in some aspects. Prices are mostly the same, but the option to pay at a “discount” for one year of the PS Plus stands out from Game Pass in that regard. Sure, the big draw of Game Pass is that it puts Microsoft’s first-party games into service at launch, but… Microsoft barely has any first-party games this year! Right now, that profit seems like little more than a marketing line.

Ethan: I also thought that Game Pass would be the clear winner coming out of it, but now I am also skeptical. Not everyone can pay for a full year, but it really turns up the calculus in this matchup. There are a few other important differences as well, and while I don’t think they make one the clear winner over the other, I do think it makes it easier to decide which one you want to pay for. Want instant access to a meaty back catalog of some of the biggest and best games of the last generation? PS Plus wins. Want to stay updated about some of the best new games coming out every month and play them on your phone at any time? Then it’s game pass.

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