Xbox Game Pass vs. PS Plus – Two major subscriptions

Sony (PS4, PS5) has presented its new model for PS Plus. What does PS Plus offer, and how does it compare to Microsoft’s Game Pass (PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X)? MeinMMO introduces you to the similarities and differences.
Sony has unveiled its new subscription model for PS Plus. Many are now wondering for whom PS Plus could be worthwhile and what the Game Pass looks like.

In our article, we want to compare PS Plus with Game Pass. We explain what the two subscriptions offer and what you get for your money. Then we look at where the similarities and differences lie. While Sony hasn’t compared its new PS Plus model to Game Pass, these are the primary subscription services for current consoles (PS5 and Xbox Series X).

Now that Sony has announced critical details about its updated PS Plus version (although more details are expected to be announced later), we’re comparing it to Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass to see how the two popular membership programs match up in the higher console space. Sony hasn’t officially set this up as a competitor to Game Pass. Still, the two services will always be compared to the significant subscription offerings for pairing with an Xbox or PlayStation console.

The PlayStation team recently confirmed months of rumours by revealing their renewed PlayStation Plus subscription program. While we’re still waiting for additional information regarding some of the finer details of this program (including its exact release date after the mysterious “June” window), many are already calling it PlayStation’s long-awaited answer to Xbox Game Pass.

However, this comparison breaks down rather quickly once you take a deeper look at the two subscription services. If anything, it’s best to think of the new PlayStation Plus as a more straightforward way to get the old (soon to be discontinued) PlayStation Now subscription service to more people. In other words, I’ve heard some say that comparing the two is like comparing Netflix to Hulu. They are both in the same ballpark, but each service tries to offer something completely different.

Xbox Game Pass vs. PS Plus – Two major subscriptions

So, while we wait for more information before sharing some of our deepest thoughts and feelings about the new PlayStation Plus software, here’s a quick look at the similarities and differences between PlayStation Plus and Xbox Game.

Price

The new version of PlayStation Plus includes three tiers, with the Essential category staying the same price as it has been ($10/month). The Extra and Premium types carry higher monthly, quarterly, and yearly prices, and they bundle together additional services and features.

PS Plus Pricing

How much does PS Plus cost? The new model of PS Plus offers you three price levels:

  • PlayStation Plus Essential: Monthly: €8.99; quarterly: €24.99 or yearly: €59.99
  • PlayStation Plus Extra: Monthly: €13.99, Quarterly: €39.99, Annual: €99.99
  • PlayStation Plus Premium: Monthly: €16.99, Quarterly: €49.99, Annual: €119.99

Xbox Game Pass Pricing

How much does the Xbox Game Pass cost? Microsoft also offers three different models of Game Pass that you can subscribe to:

  • PC Game Pass: €9.99 monthly, €29.99 quarterly, €120 annually
  • Xbox Game Pass: €9.99 monthly, €29.99 quarterly, €120 annually
  • Xbox Game Pass Ultimate: €12.99 monthly, €38.99 quarterly, €140 annually

While the features you get with each streaming service influence the different price points for these services (more on that in a bit), it’s worth noting that PlayStation offers quarterly and yearly subscriber discounts. It’s frankly an increasingly common practice for subscription services everywhere. The basic idea seems to be that companies sometimes prefer to know how much money they can ensure their subscribers on a quarterly or annual basis and are willing to offer a slight discount on that guarantee.

Benefits

PS Plus

People sign up for the services because of the content available, and the real meat and potatoes, for that matter, come down to what PS Plus and Xbox Game Pass have to offer. Starting with PS Plus, the Basic plan includes all the benefits of an existing PS Plus subscription, including free games every month, discounts on games and other content, cloud storage for saved games, and access to online multiplayer. The bonus tier includes all of that, plus a catalogue of up to 400 PS4 and PS5 games coming over time. This library will consist of “popular hits” from PlayStation Studios and third-party publishers.

Meanwhile, a Premium Membership includes up to 340 different games, including PS3 games delivered via streaming and “loved classics” from PlayStation, PS2 and PSP available via the cloud and download. Premium also includes cloud streaming support for some PS4 games in supported markets where PS Now is offered. On top of these perks, PS Now’s highest tier will also include limited-time trials.

The Deluxe Edition of PS Plus will be available in markets that do not currently support cloud streaming, and the Deluxe offer will be priced lower than the Premium. Specific prices vary by region. Deluxe will also include original PlayStation, PS2 and PSP games for download, time-limited game trials, and all other essential and tier benefits.

It should also be noted that when the new version of PS Plus begins rolling out in June, PS Now will no longer be offered as a standalone service. It will be bundled with PS Plus and existing PS Now members will be migrated to PS Plus Premium at no additional monthly cost.

What does PS Plus offer? With PS Plus Essential, you get the same service that you previously got with PS Plus. This includes the two free games a month, exclusive PS Store discounts, cloud storage and online multiplayer.

With PS Plus Extra, you get 400 games in addition to the benefits of “Essential”, which you can access at any time with the subscription. You can only download the games and not stream them.

With PS Plus Premium, you get the benefits of Essential and Extra and get access to 340 different games. You can also stream PS1, PS2 and PS3 titles on your PS4 or PS5.

Xbox Game Pass

For Xbox Game Pass, one of the enormous benefits–and among the most significant differences between PS Plus–is that all first-party games (and some third-party titles) launch into Game Pass on day one.

In addition to day one new release, Game Pass members across console and PC get access to a growing library of titles, with new ones being introduced each month. With Microsoft recently taking ownership of ZeniMax, Bethesda’s games are in the catalogue, too. This will also include the big new release Starfield this year and The Elder Scrolls VI later on. At least some of Activision’s titles are expected to join the lineup soon, when Microsoft’s blockbuster deal to buy Activision Blizzard goes through, as it’s expected to.

Game Pass members also get discounts on games and content and monthly perks, like bonuses for Halo Infinite. Additionally, Game Pass Ultimate and PC Game Pass members automatically get access to EA Play, EA’s subscription service that includes extensive (back catalogue) games from the Star Wars, Battlefield, and Mass Effect franchises. Game Pass Ultimate, the most expensive tier of Game Pass, also includes Xbox Live Gold (which is required for online play and provides access to its library of free Games With Gold titles each month) and the ability to stream games from the cloud.

What does Game Pass offer? Both PC Game Pass and Xbox Game Pass give you access to an extensive game library. Microsoft adds the games regularly but also deletes games from the list repeatedly. With the Game Pass, you can also play some games directly at the release at no extra charge. For PC gamers, Game Pass gives access to EA Play, EA’s subscription service.

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate gives you access to online multiplayer on Xbox and lets you use Xbox Cloud Gaming. You can also get a few games for free each month (Games With Gold).

The Games

Content is king, and PS Plus and Game Pass offer up games galore to subscribers. Those who subscribe to the PS Plus Premium tier will get access to more than 700 games over time, including titles from across all eras of PlayStation, dating back to the original PlayStation. However, these classic-era PlayStation games have not yet been announced, but Sony promises more details to come. The complete list of newer PS Plus games hasn’t been confirmed yet, but Death Stranding, God of War, Spider-Man, Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Mortal Kombat 11, and Returnal will be there at launch in June, with more to come over time. This is in addition to the hundreds of titles available through the PlayStation Now streaming service, not to mention the monthly free games that PS Plus subscribers get.
On Xbox, Game Pass’ library is stuffed with more than 100 titles already–see the entire library here. However, this is not an infinitely expanding catalogue as some games cycle in and out. Game Pass Ultimate members also receive new waves of freebies each month via Games With Gold and a vast catalogue of backwards compatible titles from the OG Xbox and Xbox 360 days, at no extra cost.

What does PS Plus offer? PS Plus gives you a few free games each month in Essential to add to your library. With “Extra” and “Premium”, you get access to up to 740 games that you can play on your PS4 and PS5 at no extra charge. Both PS4 and PS5 games are said to be included.

What does Game Pass offer? Game Pass currently provides more than 300 games. These include blockbusters that you can also play on the PC. You can only play some games like older Xbox One or Xbox 360 games on an Xbox. With the Game Pass, you can play many blockbusters on the PC and Xbox directly at the time of release at no extra charge.

PS Plus vs Xbox Game Pass – What are the differences and similarities?

These are the similarities: Game Pass Ultimate (or Xbox Gold) and PS Plus are mandatory if you want to use online multiplayer on the consoles.

Both subscription services give you access to many games that you can play on your console at no extra charge. You can pay for both services digitally or via credit card from shops.

These are the differences: The most significant and most crucial difference is that with the Game Pass, you can play many games directly at the release with the Game Pass. You could play games like Halo Infinite or Forza Horizon 5 directly on Day One with the Game Pass. Sony doesn’t offer that on PS Plus but says nothing is set in stone for now.

In “Game Pass Ultimate”, you also get access to EA’s subscription service “EA Play”, where you have access to several other games. On the PlayStation, “EA Play” is not included in PS Plus and will not be included in the new model either.

Another difference is that you can use Game Pass Ultimate on Windows PC and Xbox. Such a hybrid model is not intended for PS Plus, and you cannot play your Playstation games on the Windows PC.

PlayStation Plus vs. Xbox Game Pass: Cloud Streaming

Xbox Game Pass: Cloud streaming is available for select titles via the $14.99 a month Game Pass Ultimate Plan. Cloud streaming is accessible via Xbox consoles, PCs, and mobile devices.

PlayStation Plus: Cloud streaming is available for select PlayStation, PS2, PS3, and PSP games via the PlayStation Plus Premium plan. Cloud streaming is accessible via PS4, PS5, and PC (in select markets).

Xbox Game Pass’ cloud streaming service is pretty simple. Those with the Game Pass Ultimate plan will be able to play over 100 Xbox Game Pass titles via Xbox’s cloud streaming program. Those compatible titles can be played on Xbox consoles, PCs, and mobile devices. Cloud streaming is unavailable via the $9.99 a month Xbox Game Pass plan.

With PlayStation Plus, cloud streaming is a bit more complicated.

Sony says that the $17.99 a month PlayStation Plus Premium plan will grant you access to “PS3 games available via cloud streaming” as well as “cloud streaming access for original PlayStation, PS2, PSP, and PS4 games offered in the Extra and Premium tiers in markets where PlayStation Now is currently available.” Those compatible games will be streamable via PS4, PS5, and PC to subscribers in eligible markets.

Day One Releases

One of the most pronounced differences between PS Plus and Game Pass comes from day one releases. Xbox Game Pass’ most vital selling point is how Microsoft’s games, and some third-party titles, launch directly into Game Pass on day one at no extra cost to members. In 2021, this included high-profile blockbusters like Halo Infinite and Forza Horizon 5. In 2022, all Xbox players will get Bethesda’s big new release, Starfield, MLB The Show 22 and Sniper Elite 5, among others.

Sony’s strategy is significantly different. PlayStation boss Jim Ryan has said that the “virtuous cycle” of investment that leads to commercial payoff could be seriously derailed if Sony were to take that approach. Ryan noted that game quality could take a hit if Sony went this way.

In terms of putting our own games into this service, or any of our services, upon their release… as you well know, this is not a road that we’ve gone down in the past,” Ryan said. “And it’s not a road that we’re going to go down with this new service. We feel if we were to do that with 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, and we think the knock-on effect on the quality of the games that we make would not be something that gamers want.”

We feel like we are in a good virtuous cycle with the studios,” Ryan added. “Where the investment delivers success, which enables yet more investment, which delivers yet more success. We like that cycle and we think our gamers like that cycle.”
Ryan went on to say that Sony is not strictly committed to this. It could turn around and change its stance, based on market trends and other factors.

F.A.Q

What does Xbox Game Pass give you?

Xbox Games Pass gives you access to well over 300 games to download and play on your Xbox One or Xbox Series X/S for one monthly fee. If you upgrade to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, you also get Xbox Live Gold, PC Game Pass, EA Play and access to Xbox Cloud Gaming, all for the same price.

Is Xbox Game Pass forever?

Games you install using Xbox Game Pass remain playable once they’ve left the Game Pass catalog only when you buy them and you get a hefty discount when you buy games as an Xbox Game Pass subscriber. When you buy games at a discount, those games are yours to keep.

Can you get PS Plus for free?

What You Need to Know About a Free PlayStation Plus Trial. The rules and availability vary by country. PlayStation Plus users from India, the U.K., and Canada, for example, are eligible for a free 14-day trial. It’s best to check your country’s PlayStation Plus website for details.

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