On Wednesday, Sony unveiled a significant rework of its online PlayStation Plus service, seeking to drive sales of its consoles.
This upgrade brings additional tiers that include a library of games that users can download and play. It will also integrate the cloud-based PlayStation Now service.
The expanded service will be available in the United States, Europe, and Japan in June.
Sony explained that its PS Plus Premium service would let users stream games to their PC, PS4, and PS5. Subsequently, players could try some games for a limited time before buying them.
Then, content on offer at launch will include Death Stranding, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, and Returnal.
The Japanese entertainment giant said it also works with third-party developers to include more titles over time.
Sony still leads the console market, selling 17.00 million PS5 units even as chip shortages hit production.
However, it has been under pressure to respond to the growth of Netflix-style game subscription services.
The new PlayStation Plus subscription service would compete with Xbox Game Pass, a similar offering from Microsoft Corporation.
Accordingly, the American tech giant acquired massive video game publishers like Activision Blizzard and Bethesda. Overall, it paid $76.00 billion to bring popular titles onto its service.
Moreover, Xbox Game Pass erases the need for expensive hardware. It allows users to play video games on their phone, PC, or Xbox console via the cloud.
Meanwhile, the upgraded Sony service combines the current PlayStation Plus with PlayStation Now. This move will join the 48.00 million and 3.20 million subscribers in each service.
Nevertheless, analysts raised concerns about the given high cost of developing new games. They explained the pressure to bundle more content could pull the profit of the games unit.
Sony, Microsoft on high-stakes game
Accordingly, Microsoft’s Game Pass aggressively grew, with 25.00 million subscribers. It added new titles on its launch day while buying studios to expand its offerings.
It obtained an early lead in subscriptions, accounting for 60.00% of the segment in North America and Europe.
This figure is higher than the 7.00% for Sony; even subscriptions make up only 4.00% of gaming spending.
Regardless, the Japanese firm has built its in-house studio network. It also purchased Destiny publisher Bungie for $3.60 billion, with experts anticipating further dealmaking.
Furthermore, its newly announced pricing is competitive in the market. Sony’s premium tier offers a $120.00 annual fee, lower than the $180.00 charge for Game Pass Ultimate.