Earlier today, Sony joined the ring with Microsoft and Nintendo and expanded the PlayStation Plus service to include further tiers. Now with all 3 of the big players in the company competing in the space, find out what each gives you and how much it will cost you.
What is the best option for you?
All of the information below has been taken from the official website of each company and is accurate as of the time of writing this. You can see and compare the plans yourself, but they’re all in one table for you to see right here.
|Xbox Live Gold (Needed for console and PC)||Xbox Game Pass (Console Games Only, includes Xbox Live Gold)||Xbox Game Pass (PC Games Only & Xbox Live Gold)||Xbox Game Pass Ultimate|
(includes PC, Console & Xbox Live Gold tiers)
|Access to previous generation titles||No||Yes||Not Applicable||Yes|
|Partnered with other plans (EA Play, etc.)||No||No||No||Yes|
|Backing up saves to the cloud||Yes, but isn’t required. Free with Microsoft Account||Yes, but isn’t required. Free with Microsoft Account||Yes, but isn’t required. Free with Microsoft Account||Yes, but isn’t required. Free with Microsoft Account|
|Day-One first-party titles on the service||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Discounts in store||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Needed for playing online?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Previous consoles included?||Yes (2 Xbox 360 & 2 Xbox One Games)||Yes (Xbox 360/Xbox One titles)||N/A||Yes (Xbox 360/Xbox One/Xbox Series)|
So now we have Xbox broken into 4 main categories:
- Xbox Live Gold
- Xbox Game Pass (PC)
- Xbox Game Pass (Console)
- Xbox Game Pass (Ultimate)
PlayStation is in 3 main categories:
- PlayStation Plus Essential
- PlayStation Plus Extra
- PlayStation Plus Premium
- PlayStation plus Deluxe
|PlayStation Plus Essential||PlayStation Plus Extra|
(Includes PS Essential Tiers)
|PlayStation Plus Premium|
(Includes PS Essential & PS Extra Tiers)
|PlayStation Plus Deluxe|
(Includes PS Essential, PS Extra, and Premium Tiers)
|$14.99/Month $99.99/Year||$17.99/Month $119.99/Year||TBD|
|Access to previous generation titles||No, Adds standard PS4/PS5 Game per month via PS+||No, Adds Even more PS4/PS5 games and monthly PS+ Games||Yes, Adds PS1, PS2, PS3, and PSP Games||Yes and No, Yes, Adds PS1, PS2, and PSP Games (No PS3 Games)|
|Partnered with other plans (EA Play, etc.)||No||No||No||No|
|Cloud Gaming||No||No||Yes, PS3 Games Only||No|
|Backing up saves to the cloud||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Day-One first-party titles on the service||No||No||No||No|
|Discounts in store||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Needed for playing online?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Previous consoles included?||No||No||Yes (PS1, PS2, and PSP games can be downloaded and streamed)||Yes (PS1, PS2, and PSP games can be downloaded and streamed)|
Nintendo has 2 main categories:
- Nintendo Switch Online
- Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack
|Nintendo Switch Online||Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack|
|Access to previous generation titles||No||Yes, Adds Games from NES, SNES, Nintendo 64, and SEGA Genesis|
|Partnered with other plans (EA Play, etc.)||No||No|
|Backing up saves to the cloud||Yes||Yes|
|Day-One first-party titles on the service||No||No|
|Discounts in store||No||No|
|Needed for playing online?||Yes||Yes|
|Previous consoles included?||No||Yes, You can download NES, SNES, Nintendo 64, and SEGA Genesis titles.|
What’s not included in the table:
Blanket statement for all 3 companies:
You DO NOT need PS+ Essential, Xbox Live Gold, or Nintendo Switch Online to play FREE TO PLAY GAMES. If you are able to download the game for free that has ALWAYS been free, you will be able to play it without any subscription. This includes games like Fortnite, Apex Legends, Halo Infinite on PC and console (Multiplayer), and other titles that are ALWAYS free.
The same rule will NOT apply for titles that are temporarily free and offer multiplayer (Call of Duty Open weekends, Overwatch Open weekends, Rainbow Six Siege Open weekends) etc.
Microsoft announces the lineup for Xbox Games with Gold at the end of the month, the same time as PlayStation Plus games are also announced.
Xbox Game Pass titles for the month are announced at the start of the month and at the middle of the month too.
Microsoft’s first-party studios are almost always a day-one release on Game Pass and stay that way (Gears 5, Ori, etc.) and this goes for future titles too like a Plague Tale: Requiem. They always announce what games are coming on day one via their live conferences and social media.
Sony will continue to release free monthly games via PS+ to subscribers, these titles are announced at the end of the month by the company and offer 2 PS4 and 1 PS5 game to keep while you are subscribed to PS+ Essential.
As of today’s announcement (29th March) Jim Ryan has commented that Sony is not focused on day-one releases, but rather focused on expanding Sony’s reach into live service games. This explains their acquisition of Bungie.
Sony will continue to release a bigger library of games for PlayStation Plus Extra in the form of even more PS4 and PS5 games, and for PlayStation Plus Premium players will get PS1, PS2, PSP, PS4, and PS5 games with the option of playing them off the local storage, but PS3 games will only be playable via cloud streaming (PSNow).
In addition, Sony has now put time-limited game trials behind the PlayStation Plus Premium tier. This was a feature previously available to PS+ Essential users but is now tied to the highest tier, not even accessible to PlayStation Plus Extra users.
We don’t know when to expect the first round of free games yet, we know some of the first games at launch will be Death Stranding, God of War, Marvel’s Spider-Man, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Mortal Kombat 11, and Returnal. The service is set to go live in June, so we will have to wait and see.
At launch the Extra and Premium plan will offer over 740 titles (400 PS4/PS5 games in Extra, and 340 PS2, PS1, PS2, PSP, through streaming and download, and PS3 titles via cloud streaming in Premium), it is nowhere near the massive library the Xbox Game Pass has to offer. However, with the passage of time, PlayStation can certainly catch up.
Lastly, PlayStation Plus Deluxe is a package for areas where PlayStation Now isn’t available, that will include the ability to play time-limited game trials but removes the ability to play PS3 games via cloud streaming. It will be cheaper than Premium, but a price was not specified at the time of writing.
Nintendo doesn’t offer monthly games the same way that Microsoft and Sony do. Their release schedule for NES, SNES, Nintendo 64, and SEGA Genesis games is also fairly sporadic, so you should follow their socials to see the latest game added to the service.
Nintendo doesn’t have a cloud streaming service perse, but it does sell a few games like Resident Evil 7, Control, and Assassins Creed Odyssey on the Nintendo Switch that can be played on Nintendo’s cloud servers, but not locally on the Switch. However, you still have to buy these titles.