PlayStation planning to roll out bundled subscription service similar to Xbox Game Pass

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 3,267   +894
Staff member
Rumor mill: Netflix-style gaming may be coming to the PlayStation 5 next year. News has leaked that Sony plans to merge PlayStation Plus and PS Now subscriptions into one service. The move could be an attempt to become more competitive with Microsoft's Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.

In an apparent attempt to compete with Xbox Game Pass, Sony plans to launch a similar subscription service next year. According to anonymous PlayStation insiders speaking with Bloomberg, the service, codenamed "Sparticus," will bundle PlayStation Plus with PS Now.

Currently, the two services offer different features. PlayStation Plus is $60 per year (or $9 per month) and gives subscribers discounts, and a collection of free games with at least two new titles added every month. It also allows online multiplayer gaming.

Sony's PS Now is its cloud gaming service with the same rates as PlayStation Plus. It was first launched in 2014 with game streaming as its only option and at the time playing from the cloud, even with a very high-speed connection, was hardly worth the subscription price. Since then, Sony has vastly improved the streaming quality and recently added an option to download and play games natively.

Under Sparticus, subscribers can pay one subscription fee for all services. It will essentially give PS4 and PS5 owners:

  • Access to online multiplayer
  • A curated selection of free PS4 games
  • New free titles offered every month
  • Access to hundreds of games from all past PlayStation consoles (read: multigenerational backward compatibility)

Leaked documents indicate that Sparticus will launch in Spring 2022 while keeping the PlayStation Plus name and phasing out PS Now branding. Although pricing was not available, the service will have three subscription tiers.

The lowest-priced subscription would be the same benefits that PlayStation Plus offers now. The middle tier adds an extensive on-demand library of PS4 games, with PS5 titles eventually making their way into the mix. The premium plan (Sparticus) is all of the previous benefits plus game streaming and downloading of PS1, PS2, PS3, and PSP titles.

How Sony decides to price the service will determine whether it's an attractive offer comparable to Game Pass. For reference, Game Pass Ultimate subscriptions run $15 per month with no annual option, so $180 per year. If you are currently on yearly plans for PS+ and PS Now, you're paying $120. It will be interesting to see if Sony jacks its top tier up to $180 per year.

But hold off your excitement until Sony officially announces something. Anything can happen between now and next spring.

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m4a4

Posts: 2,653   +3,310
TechSpot Elite
Hmmmm... well at least that added option to "download and play games natively" sounds like they're at least trying to catch up to MS's GamePass offering.

Not convinced it's up to par though. Man, Sony has been behind (in everything but a few first party games) all generation.....
 

Shadowboxer

Posts: 1,962   +1,559
We are moving into the era where people
Will stop buying games and subscriptions will be the norm. Just like how we used to buy movies and music but now we sub for it.

I’m surprised at how slowly other companies are getting their act together because if they don’t they will fall into obscurity. Marketplaces like Epic and Steam need to bring out a subscription service. Uplay, EA and MS already have one in place but Uplay and EA desperately need to improve theirs. Game pass is excellent and it’s now quite a long list of games I would have purchased but didn’t because they existed on game pass.

Eventually I think it will all be cloud based gaming provided via a subscription model. Stadia may have been well ahead of it’s time but if this is all to actually go ahead it’s going to need to be executed much better.
 

Austinturner

Posts: 333   +422
We are moving into the era where people
Will stop buying games and subscriptions will be the norm. Just like how we used to buy movies and music but now we sub for it.

I’m surprised at how slowly other companies are getting their act together because if they don’t they will fall into obscurity. Marketplaces like Epic and Steam need to bring out a subscription service. Uplay, EA and MS already have one in place but Uplay and EA desperately need to improve theirs. Game pass is excellent and it’s now quite a long list of games I would have purchased but didn’t because they existed on game pass.

Eventually I think it will all be cloud based gaming provided via a subscription model. Stadia may have been well ahead of it’s time but if this is all to actually go ahead it’s going to need to be executed much better.
I want to play lots of games for a little while and ditch them if I don’t really enjoy them and then play one game a lot. A subscription with lots of modern titles for me to play would absolutely get my money, I checked game pass for pc but the only thing I might use it for is flight simulator.
For example I’d rather subscribe and put 20hrs into RDR2 and then ditch it or keep playing it. Steam trial period is way to short to know if I’m going to love a game.
 

Shadowboxer

Posts: 1,962   +1,559
I want to play lots of games for a little while and ditch them if I don’t really enjoy them and then play one game a lot. A subscription with lots of modern titles for me to play would absolutely get my money, I checked game pass for pc but the only thing I might use it for is flight simulator.
For example I’d rather subscribe and put 20hrs into RDR2 and then ditch it or keep playing it. Steam trial period is way to short to know if I’m going to love a game.
My brother was very anti subscription model until recently. He purchased Back 4 Blood for full price on release. He could literally have had 6 months subscription to game pass for the same money (which has B4B). And after all that B4B flopped big time.
 

dangh

Posts: 355   +537
I'm not going to get any type of gaming subscription. Saas is usually worst approach for consumer, and I happily pay full price for a full game, than having subscription and then still pay for the game (as we see on GP - flight sim, forza, halo do not offer full experience).

When all games will become subscription oriented, we will get same crap as we gutting on Netflix. shitty, simple games made to appeal to the instant gratification and dopamine shots without any actual value.

Sony have one of the best games around and it is a pity they trying to follow whatever crap MS is coming with, instead of enforcing their own ecosystem in similar way Nintendo did. and surely hope no major PC game company will go in same crazy direction - or my gaming experience will be greatly reduced.
 

Austinturner

Posts: 333   +422
My brother was very anti subscription model until recently. He purchased Back 4 Blood for full price on release. He could literally have had 6 months subscription to game pass for the same money (which has B4B). And after all that B4B flopped big time.
The way I describe it is if I’m going to spend $300 this year on games, I’d rather it got apportioned between developers based on the hours I played each one. I would rather give $150 to the makers of DCS, $100 to the makers of ARMA, $40 for squad, $5 for tarkov etc if that is how much value I got from each game
 

scavengerspc

Posts: 1,831   +1,858
TechSpot Elite
I happily pay full price for a full game, than having subscription and then still pay for the game (as we see on GP - flight sim, forza, halo do not offer full experience).
Not so. When you get a game on game pass, you get the exact same game you get if you bought the base game on Steam. The add-ons are the same, but if you are with game pass, you eventually get the DLC for less.
 

Thunder6230

Posts: 81   +57
If I play thebgames native are they on full resolution and detail? I know on cloedgaming not but gamepass or ps now with downloaded content should run everything the same as the normal doesn't it?
 

NumberSix

Posts: 95   +154
Stop calling the PS+ monthly games free, they aren't free and if you stop paying they become unplayable, more rented than free.
 

bviktor

Posts: 607   +977
Sony has always been an a-hole to customers. Every part of their services just s*cks compared to Xbox. For instance, cloud backup is FREE on Xbox. On PS, you gotta buy PS Plus just for that.
 

dangh

Posts: 355   +537
Sony has always been an a-hole to customers. Every part of their services just s*cks compared to Xbox. For instance, cloud backup is FREE on Xbox. On PS, you gotta buy PS Plus just for that.
Oh, ms is so wonderful company, all for customers, never bad thing done... /S
;)
 

Puiu

Posts: 5,173   +4,041
TechSpot Elite
Hmmmm... well at least that added option to "download and play games natively" sounds like they're at least trying to catch up to MS's GamePass offering.

Not convinced it's up to par though. Man, Sony has been behind (in everything but a few first party games) all generation.....
I don't know, I still feel that a PS + PC is the way to go, especially outside of the US.
 

Aceseven

Posts: 155   +219
Meh, gamepass is on PC.

and for me all that sony has worth waiting for is horizon forbidden west which'll hit ps4 anyway and pc later I guess.

Sony rode the ps4 success and didnt pay attn while xbox was chomping at the bit to be on top again.
 

Ryan Barrett

Posts: 45   +10
The biggest issue I have with the model is that the games disappear eventually. With a service like netflix, that's not a big deal as it only takes a couple hours to watch a movie and you probably aren't going to watch it multiple times. When you have a whole backlog of games, it sucks when one of them leaves before you get a chance to play it. Keeping the game until you end your subscription seems like the best way to go.
 

scavengerspc

Posts: 1,831   +1,858
TechSpot Elite
The biggest issue I have with the model is that the games disappear eventually.
Microsoft developed\published games don't disappear, except for the rare game that is being replaced by a sequel, an update, or it is no longer profitable enough to renew the game's licenses. And they give a huge discount if you want to buy it. For example, I like Forza Motorsport 7 very much, but it was going to be removed on 9\15. Before that date, it was heavily discounted, so it was on sale for $6.99 for the deluxe edition.
 

NightAntilli

Posts: 806   +1,008
PlayStation has been behind Xbox in terms of features ever since Xbox Live came out on the Xbox 360. They always end up copying Xbox.