Gaming

Game pass vs. The new PS Plus: the comparison we had to make

Aloy and the Master Chief stand side by side.

Image: Sony/Microsoft/Kotaku

Two months ago, Sony reimagined PS Plus, its longtime membership program for PlayStation owners. Now, it’s very similar to Microsoft’s Game Pass: for about the same amount, both offer Netflix-style access to a library of games on demand. Obviously, we needed to pit the two services against each other.


Price

Game Pass is available as a subscription for console, PC, or both. Two separate tiers cost $10 per month. Xbox Live Ultimate, which combines the two and gives you access to the EA Play Library (a similar game-on-demand service) and Xbox Live Gold, costs $15 a month. It is not possible to pay months or a year in advance for tiered markdowns (at least not officially).

PS Plus is also available on a subscription basis, but gets very complicated very quickly. There are two new levels. Extra costs $15/month or $100/year and offers free monthly games, online games, and an on-demand catalog of games, including some from Ubisoft’s library. Premium costs $18/month or $120/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 PS Plus Premium gets more expensive month by month, it’s actually almost 50 percent cheaper if you settle for a whole year.

Winner: PS Plus


Streaming

Game Pass allows you to stream to the cloud, provided you pay for the more expensive Ultimate tier. The streaming functionality is technically still “in beta”, but for all intents and purposes it’s up and running. Microsoft recommends Internet speed of at least 10 Mbps for mobile devices and 20 Mbps for consoles and PC. Based Kotakutesting, is that… normal? Despite the huge success of cloud gaming in recent times, streaming still cannot compete with downloadable games. The delay, however slight, cannot be ignored. Thus, cloud gaming is best used for puzzle games, quiet role-playing games, light platform games, and other games that do not require instant reaction.

Microsoft says “over 100” games are currently available to stream via cloud gaming on Xbox Game Pass, but new games are added every few weeks. There are currently 381 games listed in the Game Pass library that can be streamed.

The cat hits a puddle in the Tramp.

To roam.
Screenshot: Annapurna / Kotaku

To unlock streaming on PS Plus, you need to buy a tier for $18 per month. And even then, the streaming quality isn’t much to talk about. It’s about as good as Xbox Cloud Gaming at best. Sometimes it’s worse. Approximately 320 games from the Premium Library can be streamed on console or PC, and most of these are PS3 games and classics rather than the full PlayStation 4 library. For example, Avengers Marvel as well as To roam are available on the console, but not in the streaming library.

In particular, you cannot stream PS Plus games to your phone. For now, the service uses Remote Play, which means you need a console to play on your mobile device, and you need to be on the same Wi-Fi network.

Winner: Game Pass


Games 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 has about 475 games, but that number includes the library of both levels, including the 92 games that are currently part of EA Play. The main advantage, of course, is that Microsoft places its entire portfolio of its own on the platform. This also includes basic tent poles such as Halo Infinite as well as Forza Horizon 5along with upcoming blockbusters like Starfield as well as Redfall– which become available on the day of their release. Third-party games are typically only a year old, though some, such as Rockstar’s open-world hold’em sim Red Dead Redemption 2become unavailable after a few months. It’s unpredictable.

Two banshees fly through the air in Halo Infinite.

Halo Infinite.
Screenshot: 343 industries

The library also regularly includes third-party games and often serves as a launching pad for indie gems. Only this year Zelda-how Tunicsnowboard simulator Choppersand a dungeon puzzle Loot River everything is running on Game Pass. (Here Kotakulist of best stealth games currently available.) Developers acknowledged Kotaku that a Game Pass debut hurts initial sales but is ultimately worth the trade-off on advertising.

PS Plus Extra currently includes around 430 games for PS4 and PS5, while Premium adds another 395 games for PS1, PS2, PS3 (streaming only) and PSP. While the classics are a nice bonus, the biggest attraction by far are the PlayStation exclusives like Zero dawn horizon, god of War, Spiderman: Miles Moralesas well as Bloody. Unlike Microsoft, Sony has made a commitment not to put their newest releases on the service day and day, and if Returnal coming out a year after release is any indication, it seems like a good bet that players will have to wait at least year to 18 months before new materials.

However, there are many strong contenders in the third-party department. Games like Remake of Final Fantasy VII, Mining, Control, Rockas well as Tetris effect everyone is present like indie like Celeste, Outer Wilds, dead cellsas well as Virginia. The library has a lot of variety and most recently was backed up by the addition on the same day To roam, which is already a contender for GOTY 2022. Ubisoft component led by Assassin’s Creed Valhalla also a great compliment. At the same time, Sony has yet to demonstrate that it is or will be as aggressive as Microsoft in providing a steady stream of third-party day and date add-ons. There is also no PC-exclusive part of the library.

Winner: PS Plus


Ahri: Coming into this exercise, I fully imagined that it would paint a clear picture of the superiority of Game Pass, but the two services seem to me fundamentally identical – right down to the user interface – with Sony’s new version of PS Plus, marginally better in several ways that matter. . Prices are basically the same, but being able to pay for a year of PS Plus at a “discount” beats the Game Pass in this regard. Of course, the big advantage of Game Pass is that it hosts Microsoft’s own games on the service at launch, but…Microsoft has hardly released any games of its own this year! Right now, this bonus seems like nothing more than a marketing line.

Ethan: I also thought Game Pass would be the clear winner, but now I’m conflicted too. Not everyone can afford to pay for a whole year up front, but it does change the calculation in this matchup. There are other key differences, and while I don’t think they make one a distinct advantage over the other, I do think it makes it easier to decide what you want to pay for. Want immediate access to a rich back catalog of some of the biggest and best games of the latest generation? PS Plus wins. Want to stay up to date with the best new games coming out every month and play them anytime on your phone? Then it’s Game Pass all the way.


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