Subscription services seem to be the future of gaming. Like it or not, with the rise of Xbox Game Pass and Microsoft’s willingness to put almost every title it has on the service, it now seems almost undeniable that the success of these subscriptions will not slow down.
At this point, Xbox Game Pass has established itself as the king of the hill when it comes to gaming subscription services. Few can even hold a candle to it, but it seems Sony is building up its PlayStation Plus service to one day be a competitor.
With the release of PlayStation Plus Extra and Premium, the game catalog and trial versions, the first big steps have been taken to do just that, but there is still a long way to go before we can really talk about Game Pass and PS Plus in the same breath.
If Sony wants gamers to consider PS Plus Premium as a competitor to Game Pass Ultimate, there are a few major changes that need to be made. The first and most important of these is Day One Releases. If you were to look up which games will appear on Game Pass on day one in 2023, you would probably find everything you were looking for this year except for a few big titles.
This is not to overly praise Game Pass, but rather to highlight the work PlayStation Plus Premium has to do to make the cost worthwhile. Streaming games, demos, they are nice details, but games make people hand over their wallets.
In 2022, the most notable title released on PlayStation Plus Premium on day one was Stray, and even then the marketing didn’t really push it as a game you should download the service for. Sony has plenty of profitable and well-received franchises it can put on the service.
It would be a dumb business move to make God of War: Ragnarok or something similar playable through the service, but maybe we could see something like what Bungie is cooking up on PS Plus, in the same way Xbox throws Bethesda games on Game Pass.
Adding more meaningful day one games gives Sony a chance to transform its current PS Plus Premium service from something that’s nice to have if you want to spend the extra money to a subscription you need if you play more than a few games each year.
Of course, besides day one games, there are other ways Sony can improve PS Plus as a whole, from the Essential tier to Premium. One simple way Sony could make the service a little better overall would be to actually talk about it. The marketing for PS Plus is often lacking and can lead to a busy gamer not keeping up with all the latest news missing out on their Essential free games, or not seeing their favorite title leave the catalog before it’s too late.
Communication is the key here, because it would just feel more like Sony cares about this product if they want to push it to more gamers. The number of times I’ve seen an Xbox Game Pass ad begging me to join for just £1 makes it feel like Sony doesn’t even have a competitor.
There’s a lot to like about Sony’s PlayStation Plus service right now. It has brought games from every PlayStation generation to modern machines, and while the catalog of classics could use some expansion, it is still a major attraction of the service. For the price of PS Plus Premium, however, I would expect more than just access to classic titles and the occasional game trial here and there.
Unless Sony is considering dropping its prices soon, which seems unlikely outside of sales, then we just need more to make this premium service feel like it lives up to its name. PS Plus Essential and Extra would do well with a little more marketing aimed at them, but Premium is an outlier in this regard.
Besides solutions to the performance of classic games and allowing us to download them, to really say that PS Plus Premium is a Game Pass competitor and not just a more expensive version of Nintendo Switch Online, we need to see one day one releases. They are the cornerstone of Game Pass and if Sony is serious about this subscription service, it needs to step up in this regard especially. Like I said, I’m not saying we get every major Sony release for a sweet monthly price, but a little more than Stray would make the Premium pill much easier to swallow.