Sony launches new PlayStation gaming subscription service to take on Microsoft
In this photo illustration a PlayStation 5 logo seen displayed on a smartphone.
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Sony is set to launch a new video game subscription service this summer, seeking to drive sales of its PlayStation consoles and compete with a similar offering from Microsoft.
The company said Tuesday it will bundle its existing PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now services into one single subscription service called PlayStation Plus. The new PlayStation Plus will be available in June and comes in three tiers:
- the basic package, PS Plus Essential, replaces the original PS Plus, which offers players two free games each month and access to online multiplayer. It costs $10 a month or $60 for an annual subscription.
- a step above Essential is PS Plus Extra, which comes with all the same perks as Essential but includes a selection of 400 downloadable PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 titles. It’s priced at $15 monthly or $100 a year.
- the most expensive package is PS Plus Premium. This one includes 340 more games than Extra, and lets players stream a selection of PS, PS2, PSP, PS3, PS4 and PS5 games over the internet. PS Plus Premium costs $18 a month or $120 each year.
New York-traded shares of Sony were marginally higher on Tuesday.
The move is viewed by industry insiders as Sony’s response to Xbox Game Pass, a game subscription service from Microsoft which lets users download and stream a bunch of different games.
Microsoft is spending big on Game Pass, acquiring massive video game publishers like Activision Blizzard and Bethesda for a combined $76 billion to bring their popular titles onto the service.
Xbox Game Pass is considered as a kind of “Netflix for games.” It allows gamers to play video games on their phone, PC or Xbox console via the cloud, erasing the need for expensive hardware.
Sony said its PS Plus Premium service would let users stream games to their PC as well as the PS4 and PS5. Players will also be able to try some games for a limited time before deciding to buy them.
“The new Extra and Premium tiers represent a major evolution for PlayStation Plus,” Sony’s PlayStation boss, Jim Ryan, said in blog post Tuesday. “With these tiers, our key focus is to ensure that the hundreds of games we offer will include the best quality content that sets us apart.”
Games on offer at launch will include Death Stranding, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Returnal. Sony said it’s “working closely” with third-party developers to include more titles over time.