PlayStation is reportedly planning to launch its answer to the Xbox Game Pass subscription service in the Spring of 2022.
This report comes to us via Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier, who received documents from a number of anonymous sources within Sony Group Corp. As his report states, the service in question, code-named Spartacus, will let PlayStation owners pay a monthly subscription fee for access to a library of classic and modern games. Spartacus is expected to be available on both PS4 and PS5.
The service will reportedly merge PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now. For those who don’t know, PlayStation Now lets users stream and download older games. PlayStation Plus is required to play online multiplayer games and also offers a number of free titles per month. According to the documents Bloomberg reviewed, Sony will keep the PlayStation Plus branding but phase out PlayStation Now.
The documents detail a subscription plan with three tiers. The first tier contains the aforementioned existing PlayStation Plus benefits (online multiplayer, free monthly games). Things get more interesting with the second and third tiers. The second will reportedly offer a catalog of PS4 and (eventually) PS5 games while the third tier will add extended game demos, game streaming and titles from the PS1, PS2, PS3 and PSP platforms.
We’ve had rumblings of a “PlayStation Game Pass” before. As we reported back in April, God of War and Twisted Metal co-creator David Jaffe said that Sony was working on “a counterpunch” to Xbox Game Pass. Not long afterward, PlayStation boss Jim Ryan, speaking to Nikkei, confirmed that Sony was working on some form of cloud gaming integration. He said the proposed cloud service won't be an Xbox clone.
Xbox Game Pass has, as of April of this year, 18 million subscribers. As such, it makes sense that Sony would eventually launch a similar cloud service to rival Microsoft’s. While Sony’s strategy of focusing its gaming efforts on traditional consoles has worked thus far, this model may not be fruitful long-term in an increasingly digital-focused gaming world. Sony had to answer Xbox Game Pass eventually and Spartacus seems to be that answer.
If this Bloomberg report is true then things will heat up between the two major console rivals in 2022. The news that Sony has pulled PS Now cards from sale only further hints at the exist of Spartacus — watch this space for more updates.