PlayStation is finally ready to take on Xbox Game Pass. Microsoft’s gaming subscription service is one thing Sony has never been able to match. PlayStation Now doesn’t sport as impressive of a gaming library, and the PS Plus Collection is limited to a small selection of familiar PS4 games. According to a new report from Bloomberg, Sony is planning a new service, codenamed “Spartacus,” that will take on Xbox Game Pass with a library of PS4 and PS5 games. But can it usurp the king of video game subscription services?
When is the PlayStation Spartacus release date?
As the service isn’t officially announced, we don’t have a specific start date. The Bloomberg report claims that Sony plans to launch the service in Spring 2022. Once again, we won’t know which tiers will be available at that launch date or what regions it will be in until it’s officially unveiled.
What are PlayStation Spartacus’ tiers and pricing?
According to Bloomberg, Spartacus will be available in three different tiers. The first tier would be very similar to PlayStation Plus’s current offer. The second tier is more like Game Pass, containing an extensive library of PS4 and PS5 games for subscribers to download and play at any time. The third tier would also add extended demos, game streaming, and backward compatibility into the mix.
PlayStation’s new subscription service would effectively merge PS Plus, PS Plus Collection, and PlayStation Now into something better.
While the Bloomberg report revealed the tiered system, it did not discuss pricing. Currently, PlayStation Now and PlayStation Plus are $9.99 a month. The price will likely be somewhere within the range of those combined, so $20, but it also needs to be priced competitively against Microsoft’s offerings.
When it comes to Xbox Game Pass, players can buy the individual PC or console versions of the service for $9.99 each. Alternatively, players can spend $15 a month. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate to gain access to Game Pass on console and PC, play games over the cloud, and get an Xbox Live Gold membership. We’ll have to see if Sony gives us a better or worse deal.
Will PlayStation Spartacus have backward compatibility?
One of the biggest boons this service will bring to players is backward compatibility. According to Bloomberg, the highest tier of this subscription service could include “a library of classic PS1, PS2, PS3, and PSP games.”
Backward compatibility is one area for Sony consistently has done worse than Microsoft over the last two generations. The Xbox Series X can read discs and play several games from every Xbox console and improves their resolution and frame rates. Meanwhile, the PS5 can only natively play PS4 games, with some PS3 titles also available to stream over PlayStation Now.
This service will finally make a lot of Sony’s back catalog and classics available on its modern consoles. That said, we don’t know just yet if all of these backward compatible titles will be streamed via the cloud, though that seems likely.
Will PlayStation Spartacus include Sony-published games on day one?
One of the best things about Xbox Game Pass is that several games are already on the service on launch day. Specifically, Microsoft launches all of its first-party games on the service day one. That paid off in 2021 as Microsoft released a strong lineup of games like Psychonauts 2, Forza Horizon 5, and Halo Infinite.
The idea of being able to play God of War: Ragnarok or Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 on day one via a Sony subscription service is exciting, but according to Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier, that won’t be the case. “Don’t expect Sony to include its big new games day one like Game Pass does, but the expectation is a stronger offering than PlayStation Now,” he said on Twitter.
This is disappointing, but it’s always possible that Sony or third-party publishers could change their minds in the future. “Spartacus” is definitely in a wait-and-see state until we learn more.