On March 29, Sony finally unveiled its long-running PlayStation Plus expansion.
Maintaining the same branding, the service merges PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now in addition to offering various other benefits, all spread over three tiers. This all-new PS Plus is set to launch in June.
Naturally, one of the first questions people may ask is “How does it compare to Xbox Game Pass?” After all, it is a service that many praised for its valueand one that was reported to be PlayStation’s response to Microsoft’s offer.
With that in mind, we break down how the all-new PlayStation Plus stacks up to Xbox Game Pass, as well as Nintendo’s Switch Online service. It should be noted that there are many differences between the three, so these are by no means 1:1 comparisons.
For context, the current PS Plus offers access to online multiplayer, a few free games per month, cloud saves and exclusive PlayStation Store offers. PlayStation 5 owners, in particular, can get nearly two dozen games for freeincluding God of the war, Uncharted 4, transmitted by blood and Monster hunter world.
There is currently only one PS Plus tier, with three payment options:
- One month — $11.99
- Three months — $29.99
- 12 months — $69.99
Meanwhile, the current PS Now service offers over 800 PS2, PS3, and PS4 titles via streaming, and it costs $12.99/month.
With that out of the way, here’s a breakdown of the new PS Plus. Note that we are using approximate USD to CAD conversions as PlayStation has not yet responded regarding Canadian pricing.
PlayStation Plus Essential – same advantages as current PS Plus (same price)
Additional PlayStation Plus – All essential benefits, plus “up to 400” downloadable PS4 and PS5 games from first-party and third-party studios ($14.99/approx. $18.75 per month, $39.99/approx. $50 per quarter or 99, US$99/about US$125 per year)
PlayStation Plus Premium — All Essential and Extra benefits, plus:
- “up to 340” additional games, including PS3 games (streaming only), a “catalogue of beloved classic games” from the PS1, PS2 and PSP eras (can be streamed and downloaded)
- time-limited play trials for “selected” titles
- costs US$17.99/approximately CAD$22.50 per month, US$49.99/approximately CAD$62.53 per term or $119.99USD/approximately CAD$150 per year
Takeaway key: PlayStation has been almost completely silent on what these games are. In the company blog announcing the PS Plus expansion, the only launch titles mentioned are Death Stranding, God of War, Marvel Spider-Man, Marvel Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Mortal Kombat 11 and Return. So the biggest question mark is what those older PS1/PS2/PSP games will end up being. As such, the value of the service cannot be properly assessed at present.
It’s also important to note that the new PS Plus will do not offer proprietary games to like God of War: Ragnarok first day. This is the main difference between PS Plus and Xbox Game Pass. That said, PlayStation boss Jim Ryan noted that the industry is constantly changing and that stance may change in the future.
Xbox Game Pass
First, it’s worth noting that Microsoft’s direct equivalent to the current PlayStation Plus offering is Xbox Live Gold. Priced at $11.99/month or $29.99/year, Xbox Live Gold offers access to online multiplayer along with a few free games each month and exclusive Microsoft Store offers, just like PS Plus.
That said, with PS Plus and PS Now merging to offer expanded all-in-one functionality, it will be more appropriate to compare Sony’s service to Xbox Game Pass.
For context, there are a few Game Pass subscriptions.
The basic Game Pass subscription, which is available on Xbox and PC with some catalog variations, costs $11.99/month and offers:
- Hundreds of Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and original Xbox games, including day one Xbox Game Studios titles like Halo Infinite, Forza Horizon 5 and the upcoming Starfield (new games added every month)
- EA Play (PC only) — EA games catalog, discounts and free trials
- 20% exclusive member discounts for the purchase of any game in the catalog
Corn the best value for Game Pass is the second tier, Game Pass Ultimate. For $16.99/month you get:
- Access to Game Pass on console and PC, including all their respective catalogs
- Xbox Cloud Gaming — stream select titles to console, PC, and mobile devices
- Xbox Live Gold (console)
- EA Play (console)
Takeaway key: It’s worth noting that even though Game Pass includes older games like Crimson Skies (OG Xbox) and Fallout: New Vegas (Xbox 360), the innate backward compatibility of Xbox Series X/S and Xbox One means you can also buy older titles individually or even use your discs if you still have them. This is in stark contrast to PlayStation Plus, which locks PS1, PS2 and PSP generation titles behind its more premium tiers – no pay-per-view options are available.
It’s also worth mentioning that a Game Pass “family plan” is also expected to arrive later this year, although it has yet to be confirmed by Xbox.
Nintendo Switch Online
We’re largely including that here to supplement the “big three”, because otherwise, Go online really doesn’t have much in common with the other services.
Like PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Gold, Switch Online is required to play online. It also offers a catalog of more than 100 nes and SNES games, including Super Mario Bros., metroid and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, with new gifts added every month. Finally, cloud saves are supported.
This basic level is priced as follows:
- One month (single account) — $4.99
- Three months (single account) — $9.99
- Twelve months (single account) — $24.99
- Twelve-month family membership (supports eight Nintendo accounts) – $44.99
That said, there is an “Expansion Pack” option which includes everything from the standard tier, plus nintendo64 and Sega Genesis securities. These include The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Super Mario 64 and Banjo-Kazooie from the N64 and sonic the hedgehog 2, Bloodlines of Castlevania and Streets of rage 2 of Genesis.
The expansion pack is priced at:
- 12 months (single account) — $63.99
- 12 months (eight accounts) — $99.99
Takeaway key: The catalogs of games offered with either Switch Online tier are exclusively retro titles. That’s a stark difference from PS Plus and Game Pass, which have older titles but mostly focus on more modern fare.
In the end, these services are really just “competitors” in that they are all offered by competing console manufacturers. Otherwise, they all have their own strengths and weaknesses. The unfortunate fact with all three is that the cheapest tiers are essential if you want to play games online, which, let’s be honest, a lot of people do. Beyond that, it really comes down to whether you care about their respective on-demand game catalogs.
Which of these services do you subscribe to? Do you plan to sign up for the new PS Plus, and if so, what level? Let us know in the comments.
Image credit: PlayStation