Sony understands that the gaming space is changing and although they are not starved for success it doesn’t mean that they rest on their reputation. With the success of Xbox Game Pass, Sony knows that they have to compete because Microsoft’s subscription based service is an undeniable and incredible value in a still very much unstable economic time we’re still living in.
Xbox Game Pass is currently 18 million subscribers strong and Forza Horizon 5 and Halo Infinite Multiplayer are massive successes having shown staggering player numbers in the millions and with next week’s Halo Infinite campaign player numbers surely to also be in the millions, Sony knows it’s time to address the elephant in the room and make some big changes to keep fickle gamers involved in their ecosystem.
Sony has had a subscription based service in PS Now for quite a few years but it’s largely flown under the radar because Sony tends to do what Sony does and not promote what could be some of its best hardware and services in favor of just games regardless how much its community may want it, remember the PS Vita anyone?
Sony’s new service code named Spartacus is set to be their newest or rebranded version of their subscription service PS NOW. According to reporting, the service is set to launch in March 2022 and as it stands now Sony intends to offer three tiered services that based on whatever tier you subscribe to, that will determine what games you are ultimately able to play. Sony will be allowing access to PS2, PS3, PS4, PSP and eventually PS5 games. This of course is all tentative and subject to change and as of yet subscription tier pricing is also not known.
This looks to be a big move for Sony and great for gamers if Sony can pull this off the right way. Microsoft and their unlimited pockets and native infrastructure make something like Game Pass very easy. Sony isn’t cash strapped and don’t have Microsoft’s deep pockets and infrastructure but they do have the benefit of having the better game library in terms of meaningful and classic single player games such as God of War, Horizon Zero, The Last of Us, Uncharted, Ratchet & Clank and the list goes on. Sony is unmatched in this area.
The big question that remains for Sony is, are they going to match Xbox in terms of Day One launch title availability or are they going to remain reliant on game sales? This is what is going to make or break the service and realistically speaking, if Sony chooses not to do this with at the very least their first party titles then this endeavor will end up being kind of a failure because Day One releases is the singular selling point of Xbox Game Pass. You can use your Game Pass on older devices like your Xbox One and One S and then there’s Xcloud for PC and mobile. This is an ecosystem that allows anywhere gaming access on any of their legacy and current hardware. Sony has to know that what they do going forward must be on a similar level. The game has changed (No pun intended).
I don’t think Sony will allow this to fail but they have their work cut out for them. Good news is, there are over 116 million PS4’s compared to Xbox One’s 40 million or so and the PS5 is still the hottest console on the market so Sony if they get this right can make some big noise and cut into those Game Pass subscriptions or put gamers in a position to have both subscriptions. That remains to be seen but it’s only Sony that can screw this up. Hopefully they’ve been reading the room and they’re seeing what works and what won’t. It’s a good thing and it’s good for gamers. We should all look forward to this.