Game pass

PlayStation plans new game subscription service to tackle Xbox Game Pass

NEW YORK (BLOOMBERG) – The PlayStation division of the Sony Group is planning a new subscription service to compete with Microsoft’s popular Xbox Game Pass, according to people familiar with Sony’s plans and documents reviewed by Bloomberg.

The service, named Spartacus, will allow PlayStation owners to pay a monthly fee to access a catalog of modern and classic games, said the people, who asked not to be identified because they were not authorized to speak to them. the press of the plans.

The offer will likely be available on the hit PlayStation 4, which has sold over 116 million units, and its elusive successor, the PlayStation 5, which launched over a year ago but still difficult to buy due to issues. supply chain.

When it launches in the spring, the service will merge Sony’s two existing subscription plans, PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now. Currently, PlayStation Plus is required for most online multiplayer games and offers free monthly titles, while PlayStation Now allows users to stream or download older games.

Documents reviewed by Bloomberg suggest that Sony is considering retaining the PlayStation Plus brand but phasing out PlayStation Now.

Details on Spartacus may still not be finalized, but the documentation Bloomberg reviewed describes a three-tiered service. The first would include existing PlayStation Plus benefits. The second would offer a large catalog of PlayStation 4 games and eventually PlayStation 5. The third level would add extensive demos, game streaming and a library of classic PS1, PS2, PS3 and PSP games.

A representative for PlayStation did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Although the PlayStation has overtaken Xbox sales in recent years, Sony lags Microsoft on the subscription front. With this new structure, Sony will be looking to compete with an Xbox feature that has been popular and lucrative.

Microsoft’s Game Pass, often dubbed the Netflix of video games, has over 18 million subscribers. It allows users to pay US $ 10 (S $ 13.69) to US $ 15 per month for unlimited access to several hundred games.

Xbox has built its overall strategy around service in recent years, putting all of its internally released games on Game Pass as soon as they release. Xbox has also made some big acquisitions, such as Bethesda Softworks last year for $ 7.5 billion, in an attempt to bolster the Game Pass library.

Sony is also devoting resources to expanding its cloud gaming efforts, people familiar with the plans said. Microsoft’s xCloud game streaming service became widely available earlier this year.

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