Sony reveals all-new PlayStation Plus service to battle Xbox Game Pass

PlayStation Plus
(Image credit: Sony)

Sony has just announced its answer to Xbox Game Pass with an all-new PlayStation Plus service that offers access to more than 700 games.

This was tipped last month under the name of Project Spartacus, but is now official. A lot of what was previously rumored has turned out to be accurate, with the service offering a mix of subscription tiers so PlayStation fans can chose which is best for them. 

The idea of the new PS Plus service is to provide access to PlayStation games across all five generations, as well as PSP titles. Cloud-powered game streaming, via PlayStation Now, will also be bundled into some of the new pricing tiers. If you're getting Game Pass Ultimate vibes then you'd be right. 

"Today, we are pleased to share with you official news about changes coming to our subscription services. This June, we’re bringing together PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now in an all-new PlayStation Plus subscription service that provides more choice to customers across three membership tiers globally," explained Jim Ryan, president & CEO at Sony Interactive Entertainment. 

The tiers are split into Essential, Extra and Premium.

PlayStation Plus Essential

Starting at $9.99 monthly / $24.99 quarterly / $59.99 yearly in the U.S. and £6.99 monthly / £19.99 quarterly / £49.99 yearly in the U.K., the Essential tier is the cheapest new PS Plus subscription. 

It offers two monthly downloadable games, exclusive discounts, cloud storage for saved games, and online multiplayer access. It's more or less the same PlayStation Plus service many PS5 and PS4 players will be familiar with.

PlayStation Plus Extra

PlayStation Plus Extra is where the new PS Plus service becomes more like Xbox Game Pass. 

For $14.99 monthly / $39.99 quarterly / $99.99 yearly in the U.S. and £10.99 monthly / £31.99 quarterly / £83.99 yearly  in the U.K., the Extra tier provides all the Essential benefits, plus access to a catalog of up to 400 of the best PS4 games and best PS5 games, including "blockbuster hits" from the PlayStation Studios catalog and third-party developers. Games in the Extra tier are also downloadable for play.

PlayStation Plus Premium

The most exciting tier is PlayStation Plus Premium, as it's pretty much a PlayStation-centric take on Xbox Game Pass Ultimate

For $17.99 monthly / $49.99 quarterly / $119.99 yearly in the U.S. and £13.49 monthly / £39.99 quarterly / £99.99 yearly in the U.K., Sony is offering the bundled benefits of Essential and Extra with an additional 340 games. 

But the icing on the cake is that PS3 games will be made available for cloud streaming together with "a catalog of beloved classic games available in both streaming and download options from the original PlayStation, PS2 and PSP generations." 

It's worth noting that game streaming will only be offered in areas where PS Now is available. But where that is the case, subscribers will be able to stream these games to PS4, PS5 and PC. 

And finally, time-limited game trials will also be offered in this tier, so users can try select games before they buy.

PlayStation Now customers will be moved over to PlayStation Plus Premium with no increase to their current subscription fees at launch.

New PlayStation Plus launch date

The new PlayStation Plus service will start rolling out in June, but don't expect it to arrive on your PlayStation or PC the very moment it launches. 

"As this is a massive launch effort, we’re rolling out the new PlayStation Plus offering in a phased regional approach. In the June timeframe, we’ll begin with an initial launch in several markets in Asia, followed by North America, Europe and the rest of the world where PlayStation Plus is offered," explained Ryan. 

"We aim to have most PlayStation Network territories live with our new PlayStation Plus game subscription service by the end of the first half of 2022. We also plan to expand our cloud streaming benefit to additional markets, and will provide more details at a later date." 

Overall, this is a big and exciting move by Sony, and it offers a compelling service to go with a PS5, assuming you've managed to secure a PS5 restock

But unlike Xbox Game Pass, first-party PS5 exclusive games won't arrive on the new service on day one, even with the top tier. This is a bit of a shame, but access to a whole suite of PlayStation games modern and old is still nothing to be sniffed at. 

We'll have to wait until June to see if Sony has a true Xbox Game Pass rival or something that's distinctly its own thing. For now, check out our Xbox Game Pass vs. PlayStation Plus: How they stack up piece to see how which of the two gaming subscription services is best.

Roland Moore-Colyer

Roland Moore-Colyer a Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face.