Sony has revealed its roll-out plan for the massively upgraded PlayStation Plus service — and U.S. gamers will have to wait a little longer than some to try it out.
As detailed on the PlayStation blog, Asian markets will be the first out of the gates, with Sony targeting May 23 for its launch. Curiously, this doesn’t include Japan, which is delayed a week to June 1. The Americas are set to follow nearly two weeks later on June 13, with the service finally scheduled to reach Europeans on June 22.
As previously revealed, the move is intended to make PlayStation Plus more of a rival to Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass, by merging the existing PS Plus and PS Now options and offering the new service in three distinct tiers.
The current PS Plus offering (a couple of free games per month, discounts and online play) will become the entry-level Essential tier in the new system, and will cost $9.99 per month.
PS Plus Extra, meanwhile, will cost $14.99/month and will include everything in Essential plus access to an ever-changing library of 400 PS4 and PS5 games.
Finally, PS Plus Premium will add a further 340 streamable PS3, PS2, PS1 and PSP titles, for $17.99/month. We've got a full breakdown of all three tiers and what they offer in our PlayStation Plus Essential vs. Extra vs. Premium guide.
Sony also revealed that it is expanding its cloud streaming access to a bunch more countries, meaning they'll have access to the top Premium tier at launch. Good news if you're in Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Republic of Cyprus, Romania, Slovakia, or Slovenia.
While we don't yet know in full which games will be on PlayStation Plus Extra and Premium, there are a few big hitters already in the mix: Sony has promised that the likes of Death Stranding, God of War, Marvel’s Spider-Man, Mortal Kombat 11 and Returnal will be part of the lineup.
It’s a big change to the system, and one that will be welcomed by PlayStation diehards who have previously had to grudgingly admire the generosity of Xbox Game Pass. And while the streaming option on Premium isn’t quite as appealing as having the games emulated locally, there are rumors that that may change in time on PS5.
But while this is an encouraging start, the new PlayStation Plus still lacks a huge Xbox Game Pass feature: it delivers first-party games on the service on day one, something that Sony has shied away from matching.
That means that while Game Pass subscribers are guaranteed to get Starfield on their Xbox Series X on its release day, the same won’t be true for upcoming PS5 games such as God of War Ragnarok, even for those stumping up the cash for PS Plus Premium.
That may change in the future, but for now, as strong an offering as Sony’s PS Plus reworking is, it can’t match Microsoft for generosity.