While Sammy doesn’t see subscription services becoming the industry standard in the future, I at least think PS Plus is the best one you could be a member of right now. Following a long and impressive streak of monthly updates, I believe what Sony is doing with its three-tiered setup just about edges the offerings of Xbox Game Pass.
Following a somewhat shaky start — from PS Plus Premium especially — the service has really come into its own these past four months. The game library updates have been colossal, with more PS5, PS4 and Classic titles added than anyone could properly play (never mind finish!) before the next content refresh arrives. There is always at least a couple of things for every type of gamer to enjoy, but even if you don’t find anything you fancy, the next batch of games is only ever two weeks away when PS Plus Essential is brought into the equation.
In January, 13 games were added across PS Plus Extra and PS Plus Premium. One month later in February, another 17 titles arrived — including Horizon Forbidden West. This was followed up 17 more games in March, and then last month saw 16 games come to the service. While not every one of them will suit your tastes, that’s 63 games in the space of four months. Add the three monthly PS Plus Essential games from January through to April on top and you’re looking at 75 titles. On a membership of £13.49/$17.99 each month, this works out at so, so much less than £1/$1 per game. I’m aware most of us subscribe on a yearly basis, so that conversion gets even better. That’s pretty incredible value.
Of course, this monetary value would mean nothing if the games were rubbish, but they’re anything but. The Horizon Zero Dawn sequel came in February, and just before it we saw stuff like Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition and Back 4 Blood. March brought the Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection, Ghostwire: Tokyo, and Immortals Fenyx Rising. Most recently, indie hit Kena: Bridge of Spirits hit the service alongside Riders Republic and DOOM Eternal. It’s quite difficult to find a genuinely bad title in any of the past four months’ game additions.
All this provides a fantastic basis for PS Plus, but where Sony has really started to go above and beyond is with the re-introduction of day-one games. Stray launched straight into PS Plus Extra when the service underwent its huge overhaul last year, but then it was radio silence on that front. All of a sudden, though, Tchia launched straight into the service last month and Humanity will do the same later this month.
Of course, this has been the mantra on Xbox Game Pass for some time now, but if Sony continues along this course, I actually believe PS Plus is handling the approach better. You see, Xbox Game Pass appears to have quietly shifted its focus to delivering more titles as they launch, and has largely ignored the healthy back catalogue of games it built the brand’s name on. This has resulted in bi-weekly game updates devoid of excitement; the subscriber already knows what’s coming, and the idea of adding older titles appears to have mostly been left by the wayside.
Just take a look at what Xbox Game Pass has coming for the first two weeks of May: Redfall, Ravenlok, Fuga: Melodies of Steel 2, a PC version of Shadowrun Trilogy, and an Xbox Series X|S version of Weird West, which was already on the service as an Xbox One title. As an informed Xbox Series X owner, this doesn’t excite me. I already knew about the first three games, the fourth is for PC, and the fifth is something I can already play. Of course, this is just one example from the first four months of 2023, but it’s been a running theme for a while now. I’ve been consistently disappointed as a member.
While Microsoft is dropping the ball, this is where Sony is picking up the slack. We all know Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 is never launching day and date on PS Plus, so the platform holder is instead heavily focusing on that extensive back catalogue. By introducing one or two brand new titles launching day and date into the service, it adds so much more excitement to PS Plus announcements. As well as receiving — on average — 15 PS5, PS4, and Classic games to play all at once, there’s a good chance I’ll get a brand new experience on top. I feel like this is beginning to be reflected across social media and gamers in general: the monthly PS Plus updates are so good that they’ve reached a point where they receive more attention than an Xbox Game Pass refresh. I really hope Sony keeps this approach up of delivering at least one brand new title every other month or so — it makes my membership a much more enticing prospect.
Is PS Plus perfect? No, absolutely not. The PS Plus Premium offering still needs work, and I think Sony needs to improve how it communicates upcoming expiry dates. Right now, all you can do is constantly check the Last Chance to Play section on your PS5 console, or rummage through hundreds of game listings. It’s not a great setup.
This is an easy fix, though, and it doesn’t take away from what a fantastic subscription service I think PS Plus has been turned into. As long as Sony keeps this approach and commitment up, I believe it has the best gaming subscription on its hands. By so heavily focusing on a high-quality back catalogue and sprinkling some new experiences from third parties in there, it’s on to the correct formula. I’m a happy PS Plus member at the moment, so long may it continue.
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