PS Plus: new PlayStation Plus premium subscription tiers, which PS5 games are included - and changes explained

A game list for the new service has not yet been made available - but here is everything we do know

One of the undisputed gaming successes of the last few years has been that of Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass, a subscription service that allows gamers access to 100s of titles for a monthly fee.

Those who have signed up can download included games - in many cases they’re also given the option to stream them from the cloud to negate potentially lengthy download times - at no extra cost.

With Xbox’s big-budget “first party” games coming to the service on the same day they’re released in shops, the service has given undecided gamers a reason to choose Xbox over its rival, PlayStation.

But now Sony has announced a revision to its PlayStation Plus service, introducing a number of new subscription tiers, some of which mirror Game Pass very closely.

Here’s everything you need to know about it.

What’s new?

As of June 2022, Sony’s already existing PlayStation Plus service will be split into three tiers, each with varying monthly costs.

Obviously, the more expensive the cost, the more benefits you’ll get at that subscription tier:

PlayStation Plus Essential

PlayStation Plus Essential will function much as PlayStation Plus does now in its current incarnation, and existing PlayStation Plus members will see no changes in this tier.

Subscribers will continue to receive a couple of free games to keep - so long as they remain a subscriber - each month, specific discounts in the PlayStation’s digital store and cloud storage for game saves.

You’ll also be granted access to online multiplayer functionalities within your games, so if you play online at all, you’ll more than likely need this tier at least.

Cost: £6.99 monthly / £19.99 quarterly / £49.99 yearly (the same as the current price for PlayStation Plus)

Recent hit Returnal is just one of the games Sony plans to include at launch (Image: Sony Interactive Entertainment)

PlayStation Plus Extra

The second tier provides all of the above, plus the introduction of an Xbox Game Pass-style catalogue of PlayStation 4 and 5 games that can be downloaded to consoles for play.

Sony says this tier will provide up to 400 of “the most enjoyable” games, including “blockbuster hits from our PlayStation Studios catalogue and third-party partners.”

Cost: £10.99 monthly / £31.99 quarterly / £83.99 yearly

PlayStation Plus Premium

Again, with the most expensive tier, you’ll be getting all of the above.

But, you’ll also get access to additional catalogue of games from the PlayStation 3 era, as well as games from the original PlayStation, PS2 and PSP generations - an addition of up to 340 more games!

PS3 games will take advantage of cloud streaming, while older games will be available in both streaming and download options.

This tier also unlocks cloud streaming for PS4 games in the library (at cheaper tiers, they are only available for download).

If the options for streaming and downloading games sound a bit confusing, that’s because they are.

That can likely be blamed on the fact that Sony hasn’t focused on its backwards compatible catalogue of games quite as much as Microsoft has in recent years; it may simply not be possible to run PS3 games natively on the newer PlayStations, and so streaming is required.

Cost: £13.49 monthly / £39.99 quarterly / £99.99 yearly

Unlike Xbox Game Pass, big, first-party games won’t be coming to the service on the day of their release (Image: Sony Interactive Entertainment)

How does it compare to Xbox Game Pass?

Game Pass’ success on Xbox consoles is well documented, and PlayStation fans are no doubt relieved a similar service is coming their way.

In terms of costs, the second tier matches the price of Game Pass’ ‘Ultimate’ tier, offering very similar benefits.

Sony’s most expensive PlayStation Plus tier is dearer than anything Game Pass is offering, although rumours that Microsoft itself is looking to introduce a more expensive option with more perks could level out the playing field in the near future.

In terms of the games on offer, there are undoubtedly plenty of classic games across PlayStation’s history which should make the new subscription offers very tantalising indeed.

The prospect of 740+ available games is enough to make time-stretched gamers feel very anxious!

There’s just one caveat...

Which games are included?

At the time of writing, no games have been confirmed for the service, but Sony says it plans to include titles such as Death Stranding, God of War, Marvel’s Spider-Man, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Mortal Kombat 11, and Returnal at launch.

However, one notable difference from Xbox Game Pass is PlayStation Plus lack of “Day One” first-party games.

First party games are the ones developed exclusively for PlayStation consoles by Sony or other studios it owns - think God of War, the Horizon series or the Gran Turismo games.

More money and resources are usually invested into these games than others, as they have the potential to become games that make one console worth buying over the other.

As such, they’re usually critically acclaimed, and having been developed for a specific platform (as opposed to being available on both PlayStation and Xbox), are able to harness that machine’s hardware in a much more streamlined manner, making for more technically impressive, polished games.

In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, PlayStation boss Jim Ryan said that to include such games with PlayStation Plus would have a “knock-on effect on the quality of the games”.

“We are in a good virtuous cycle with the studios, where the investment delivers success, which enables yet more investment, which delivers yet more success,” he explained.

“If we were to [include] the games that we make at PlayStation Studios, that virtuous cycle will be broken. The level of investment that we need to make in our studios would not be possible.”

Xbox Game Pass members currently get to play blockbuster Microsoft Studios games - think new Halo games, Forza games and Gears of War titles - on the day of release at no extra cost.

Even those paying for PlayStation Plus’ most expensive option won’t get that luxury the next time a blockbuster, PlayStation-only game rolls around.

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