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PlayStation Plus Essential vs. Extra vs. Premium: Which tier is right for you?

PlayStation Plus
(Image credit: Sony)

Sony is revamping PlayStation Plus, which may help it compete more directly with Xbox Game Pass. At present, Sony is expanding PS Plus functionality to offer a full library of games to stream and download, in addition to the subscription’s current online features.

However, these additions come at a cost. PlayStation Plus is now split into three separate tiers: Essential, Extra and Premium. Functionality and price differ considerably among the three. If you plan to upgrade your PS Plus subscription, read on to find out which tier will best suit your needs.

PlayStation Plus June titles

This month, PlayStation Plus is offering its subscribers three complimentary games:

  • God of War
  • Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker
  • Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl

Fans have had mixed reactions to these games, as God of War is already included as part of the PlayStation Plus Collection. Still, God of War is an excellent game, and the other two are solid choices for fans of competitive multiplayer titles based on beloved animated franchises.

PlayStation Plus Essential

Playstation 5 controller with Playstation Plus Collection on screen, selective focus.

(Image credit: Miguel Lagoa | Shutterstock)

PlayStation Plus Essential is the easiest of the three tiers to explain. That’s because it’s basically the same as PlayStation Plus has always been. PS Plus Essential costs $10 per month, $25 per quarter or $60 per year. It also offers the same benefits: online play, cloud saves, two rotating, downloadable games per month and PlayStation Store discounts.

At present, PS Plus also gives PS5 players access to the PlayStation Plus Collection: more than a dozen downloadable PS4 games. It’s not clear whether this benefit will remain as part of PS Plus Essential, or whether Sony will restrict these games to the higher tiers.

PlayStation Plus Extra

PS Plus

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Here’s where things start getting interesting. PlayStation Plus Extra includes all the same benefits as PS Plus Essential. However, it also lets players download “a catalog of up to 400 of the most enjoyable PS4 and PS5 games.” At launch, these games will include Death Stranding, God of War (2018), Marvel’s Spider-Man, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Mortal Kombat 11 and Returnal.

The service will offer both first- and third-party fare. PS Plus Extra costs $15 per month, $40 per quarter or $100 per year.

PlayStation Plus Premium

State of Play July 2021

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

PlayStation Plus Premium is the most feature-rich — and the most expensive — tier of the three. First off, Premium includes all of the features found in the Essential and Extra tiers. On top of that, players also get access to hundreds of PS1, PS2, PS3 and PSP games. Players can download or stream PS1, PS3 and PSP games; PS3 games are streaming-only. Additionally, players can stream these back-catalog games to a PS4, PS5 or PC.

Finally, Premium will offer “time-limited game trials,” although it’s not clear which games Sony intends to include here, or how long the trials will be. PlayStation Plus Premium will cost $18 per month, $50 per quarter or $120 per year.

Which PlayStation Plus tier should you choose?

PlayStation Plus

(Image credit: Sony)

The good news is that it should be remarkably simple to choose among the various PlayStation Plus tiers. If you’re happy with the traditional PlayStation Plus service and don’t want anything else out of it, stick with PS Plus Essential. Playing online and storing saves in the cloud are both arguably worth the price of admission.

If you want an instant library of modern games, but don’t care much about the classics, PlayStation Plus Extra is probably the way to go. On the other hand, if you want to explore a much bigger chunk of Sony’s back catalog, it’s probably worth investing in PlayStation Plus Premium.

You could also make an argument for Premium if you don’t have a PS4 or PS5, and want to stream hundreds of titles to your PC. This was a benefit of PlayStation Now — and former PS Now subscribers should be pleased to hear that Sony will automatically convert their subscriptions to PS Plus Premium.

Be sure to check out our Xbox Game Pass vs. PlayStation Plus: How they stack up to see which of these gaming subscription services is best.

Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.