The New PlayStation Plus vs. Xbox Game Pass: Which One Is Right for You

This month, Sony completely revamped their PlayStation Plus program, so that it’s more similar to Xbox’s Game Pass. We decided to take a look at both services and help you decide which one is better for you. Let’s get into it!


The Services

Before we get into it, let’s talk about the services we’ll be analyzing. Starting with Game Pass, you can think of it as a sort of Netflix for games, where you pay a set fee for access to a large number of games to play. It was introduced by Microsoft in 2017 for Xbox consoles and in 2019 for PC.

There are two platforms where you can use Game Pass, on Xbox consoles and on PC. The base versions give you access to a large collection of games (and EA Play on PC). Ultimate also lets you use both PC and consoles, adds the ability to play from the cloud, and also gives you Live Gold.

Up until recently, PlayStation Plus was the thing you paid for if you wanted to play online with friends. It also gave you a few free games and exclusive discounts. The Xbox equivalent would be Live Gold. There’s also PS Now, which allowed you to download and/or stream games on PS4/5 and PC.

The new version of PS Plus now comes in 3 tiers: Essential, Extra, and Premium. We’ll break down each of them in the section below and compare it with the Xbox equivalent. PS Now no longer exists, and has been rolled into the new PS Plus subscription, with most of its features available in the Premium tier.


PS Plus Tiers & Pricing

Now that we know what we’re working with, let’s talk money! We’ll be using the USD amount for this comparison, but it’s best to check your regional pricing. Especially with PS Plus, there’s a chance you’d pay less than the equivalent amount in USD.


Essential

This is the lowest PS Plus tier. It basically offers the same functionality as the old PS Plus: online play, free games monthly, and exclusive discounts. It comes at 9.99 USD a month, the same price as Xbox’s Live Gold. However, you can also buy it for 24.99 (-16%) for 3 months or for 59.99 (-50%) for 12 months. You also get access to a small collection of games to play.

Anyone who had a PS Plus subscription before the change was moved to this tier. If you had an ongoing subscription when the change happened, you can upgrade to a higher tier by only paying for what remains of your plan.


Extra

This is where the games are! This tier is the one that gives you that “Netflix for games” experience. You can check out the full list here, but we’re pleased to report that big names like Dad of Boy, Ghost of Tsushima, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Returnal and Demon’s Souls are all present here.

Unfortunately, brand new games, like Horizon: Forbidden West, are NOT available in the games catalogue. This is already a big strike against Game Pass, which has been releasing new games on day one on the service for a while now. We’re convinced that Forbidden West and the upcoming God of War: Ragnarok will make their way here eventually, but this delay is not a good thing.

Let’s get on with the pricing, and things aren’t looking so hot here either. The Extra tier costs 14.99 a month to access, a whopping 50% more than the base Game Pass subscription and the same price as the Ultimate variant.

Of note is that the base Game Pass offer doesn’t come with the Live Gold benefits, while the Extra tier also includes everything from Essentials. However, there’s one factor that tips the scales: PS allows you to buy a subscription for multiple months for a reduced price, while Game Pass does not.

The 3-month bundle comes at 39.99, 5 dollars cheaper than buying month to month (well, 4.89, but who’s counting?). That means that you’d pay 13.33 per month, still more expensive than the base Game Pass, but slightly cheaper than Ultimate.

The real bang-for-the-buck is the yearly subscription. For 99.99 a year, or about 80 USD less than paying monthly, you’d only end up paying 8.34 USD a moth for the subscription. That is cheaper than almost anything Game Pass has. Almost.

Let’s address the tiny elephant in the room. Game Pass frequently has “3 months for 1 dollar” deals. Doing the math, that’s 90.91 USD for 12 months of base Game Pass, which is about 10 USD cheaper than the PS Plus Extra option. However, those bundles are usually only for new players, so it’s not very relevant in the long term.


Premium

The most expensive tier, and the one offering the most features. Aside from the benefits of the previous tiers, you also get to play games from the PS1, PS2, and PS3 eras, including PSP. Sadly, PS3 games can’t be downloaded and are stream-only. Speaking of, this tier also offers you the option to stream games to PS4/5 consoles, as well as PC.

So far, the premium tier sounds like a better deal than the Ultimate version of Game Pass. Price-wise, the month to month is 17.99. The 3-month deal is 49.99 (almost 4 USD saved), so it’s better, but still more expensive than Ultimate.

Once more, the real deal is with the yearly option. For 119.99, you save nearly 96 USD. The monthly cost also goes down to almost exactly 10 USD, making it go toe to toe with the base version of Game Pass. Sony positioned itself very well with these prices, encouraging people to pay for yearly subscriptions instead of relying on them to sub each month.


Games & Availability

All this math talk is great, but what really matters is the games. Unfortunately, comparing the exact offering of both companies is a little hard. Neither of them offers a list of games in a nice format, and we’d rather not rely on 3rd parties. You can check out the PS Plus list here, and the Game Pass library here.

We did notice some weird stuff with PS Plus. For instance, Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection is only available to Premium subscribers, despite the fact the game is on PS4. You could argue it’s because the trilogy was originally on PS3, but Shadow of the Colossus is in the Extra section, and that’s a PS2 game. The PSP offering is also quite lacking and there’s no PS Vita games, though we hope that’s a temporary thing.

In terms of availability, PS Plus takes this, no questions asked. It’s available in 75 countries, as opposed to Xbox’s 47. Not only that, any country with access to Game Pass also has access to PlayStation Plus.


Conclusions

So, which service is the best? As with many things in life: It depends.

If you want to buy one of the consoles and use the subscription to have a nice collection from the get-go, both services offer amazing value per dollar. Check the game libraries of both services, as well as availability in your country (for the console AND the service), and make a decision based on that.

If you’re a PC player, Game Pass is really the only option. PS Plus doesn’t offer any of its games on PC aside from streaming with the Premium option. That said, Sony has been porting a lot of their newer games to PC, and it took 2 years for Games Pass to get there, so we’ll see what the future holds.

At first glance, the new PS Plus has some issues. The latest games aren’t available day 1, and paying month to month is more expensive than Game Pass. That said, this is a great offering if you’re just now jumping into the PlayStation ecosystem. So we’d say Sony’s foray into game subscriptions is off to a good start.


What are your thoughts on the new PlayStation Plus? Does it have what it takes to compete with Game Pass? Let us know in the comments below!

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