Sony to take on Microsoft with new PlayStation subscription model

29 Mar 2022

Image: © gargantiopa/Stock.adobe.com

The new subscription tiers will offer hundreds of downloadable games, similar to the Xbox Game Pass model used by Microsoft.

Sony has today (29 March) announced upcoming changes to its PlayStation subscription offers, which will combine its existing PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now options into a single service.

The new subscription model will feature three memberships tiers, with the lowest level offering the same benefits that current PlayStation Plus members receive.

Future Human

The two other subscription tiers, Extra and Premium, will both offer access to a catalogue of hundreds of downloadable games to play, similar to the Xbox Game Pass that Microsoft offers. The Extra tier gives access to around 400 games, while Premium adds an extra 340 for its subscribers.

“The new Extra and Premium tiers represent a major evolution for PlayStation Plus,” Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan said in a blogpost. “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.”

Playstation Plus Premium will also allow time-limited game trials, so customers can try certain games before they buy them. There will be monthly, quarterly and annual payment options for the three subscription tiers.

“The newly enhanced PlayStation Plus will enable our fans to discover and engage with more content than ever before, and deepen their connection with the PlayStation community through shared experiences,” Ryan added.

The new service is expected to launch in June in a phased approach. The initial launch will be in Asia, followed North America, Europe and the rest of the world where PlayStation Plus is offered.

In a recent interview with gamesindustry.biz, Ryan said that Sony’s own games could suffer if they went into the PlayStation Plus catalogue the day they launch, which is something the Xbox Game Pass offers.

Sony has been taking a number of steps to compete with Microsoft in the gaming sector. Earlier this year, the gaming giant acquired US game developer Bungie for $3.6bn.

This happened less than two weeks after Microsoft announced the biggest gaming acquisition in history, snapping up Activision Blizzard in a deal worth nearly $70bn that would make it the world’s third largest video game company. That deal is expected to close in Microsoft’s 2023 fiscal year.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic

editorial@siliconrepublic.com