Game Pass vs. The new PS Plus, the comparison we had to make

Aloy and Master Chief are next to each other.

Image: Sony / Microsoft / Kotaku

Two months ago, Sony reinvented PS Plus, its long-standing subscription program for PlayStation owners. Now, it looks a lot like Microsoft’s Game Pass: for about the same amount of money, they both offer access to a Netflix-style library of on-demand games. Obviously, we had to stack the two services against each other.


Game Pass is available as a subscription for console, PC, or both. The two separate tiers cost $ 10 per month. Xbox Live Ultimate, which joins the two and provides access to the EA Play Library (a similar game-on-demand service) and Xbox Live Gold, costs $ 15 per month. There is no way to pay several months or a year in advance with a tiered rebate (at least officially).

PS Plus is also available for a subscription, but it gets very complicated very fast. There are two new levels. The Extra costs $ 15 per month, or $ 100 per year, and offers free monthly games, online games, and an on-demand game catalog including some from Ubisoft’s library. Premium costs $ 18 per month or $ 120 per year and adds access to classic games, game trials, and cloud streaming for most of the games in the library. That’s a huge difference in price, and while PS Plus Premium is more expensive from month to month, it’s actually nearly 50 percent cheaper if you commit for the full year.

Winner: PS Plus


Game Pass allows cloud streaming, as long as you pay for the more expensive Ultimate tier. The streaming functionality is technically still “in beta”, but it is in effect up and running. Microsoft advises Internet speeds of at least 10 Mbps for mobile devices and 20 Mbps for consoles and PCs. Based on Kotakuhe’s trying, okay … okay? Despite huge advances in cloud gaming recently, streaming still can’t compete with downloaded games. The latency, however minor, is unrecognizable. As such, cloud gaming is best used for puzzles, relaxing RPGs, lightweight platforms, and other games that don’t require split-second reflexes.

Microsoft says “more than 100” games are currently streamable via cloud gaming on Xbox Game Pass, but more games are added every few weeks. Right now, the Game Pass library currently lists 381 games that can stream.

A cat hits a puddle in Stray.

Screenshot: Annapurna / Kotaku

To unlock streaming on PS Plus you need to purchase the $ 18 per month tier. And even then, the quality of the streaming isn’t anything to write home about. At best, it’s as good as Xbox Cloud Gaming. Sometimes it’s worse. About 320 games from the Premium library can be streamed to console or PC, and a good portion of these are PS3 games and classics rather than the entire PlayStation 4 library. For example, Marvel’s Avengers And Stray they are available on console but not in the streaming library.

Specifically, you can’t stream PS Plus games to your phone. For now, the service is based on Remote Play, which means you need a console to play on mobile and you need to be on the same WiFi network.

Winner: Game Pass

Game library

Of course, a games on demand service is only as good as the one thing it’s supposed to provide: games.

Right now, the Xbox Game Pass library has around 475 games, but that count includes the library on both tiers, including the 92 games currently part of EA Play. The main attraction, of course, is that Microsoft puts its entire proprietary wallet on the platform. This also includes the main tent poles, such as Infinite halo And Strength Horizon 5along with blockbuster films such as Starfield And Redfall—That become available the day they are released. Third-party games tend to last for a year at most, although some, like Rockstar’s open world Hold ‘Em simulator Red Dead Redemption 2, they become unavailable after a few months. It is unpredictable.

Two banshees flying through the air in Halo Infinite.

Infinite halo.
Screenshot: 343 industries

The library also regularly scrolls into third-party games and often serves as a stepping stone for indie gems. This year alone, the twee Zelda-like it Tunicthe snowboard simulator Shreddersand the puzzle-cum-dungeon-crawler loot river all launched on Game Pass. (Here you are KotakuThe list of the best games under the radar currently available.) The developers have recognized this Kotaku that Game Pass debut cuts down on initial sales but is ultimately worth it for the trade off in advertising.

PS Plus Extra currently includes around 430 games for PS4 and PS5, while Premium adds 395 more from PS1, PS2, PS3 (streaming only) and PSP. While the classics are a nice bonus, the biggest draw by far is the PlayStation exclusives like Horizon Zero sunrise, God of war, Spider-Man: Miles MoralesAnd Bloodborne. Unlike Microsoft, Sony has pledged not to put its latest releases on the day and date service and if the return coming a year after release is any indication, it seems like a good bet that players will have to wait at least a year for 18 months. before the publication of new content.

However, there are many strong contenders in the third party department. Games like Final Fantasy VII Remake, Prey, Check, DestinyAnd Tetris effect they are all present, as are the indies Heavenly, Wild Outlands, Dead cellsAnd Virginia. The library is full of diversity and was most recently strengthened by the same day addition of Straywhich is already a GOTY 2022 contender. The Ubisoft component, led by Assassin’s Creed Valhalla it is also a strong compliment. At the same time, Sony has not yet proven that it is, or will be, as aggressive as Microsoft in courting a steady stream of daily third-party additions. Also, there is no PC-only part of the library.

Winner: PS Plus

Ari: Going into this exercise, I totally imagined it would paint a clear picture of Game Pass’s superiority, but these two services seem basically identical to me, right down to the user interface, with Sony’s new PS Plus version slightly better in the few respects that it matters. Prices are mostly the same, but the option to pay a year of PS Plus at a “discount” outperforms Game Pass in that respect. Sure, the big draw of Game Pass is that it puts Microsoft’s first party games on the service at launch, but … Microsoft barely has any first party games coming out this year! Right now, that lead feels like little more than a line of marketing.

Ethane: I also thought Game Pass was going to be the clear winner that would come out of it, but now I’m also conflicted. Not everyone can afford to pay a full year upfront, but it really changes the calculation in this matchup. There are a few other key differences as well, and while I don’t think they make one a clear winner over the other, I think it makes it easier to decide what you want to pay for. Want instant access to a rich catalog of some of the biggest and best games of the latest generation? PS Plus wins. Do you want to be updated on some of the best new games coming out every month and play them anytime on your phone? Then it’s all Game Pass.


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