Game Pass Vs. The New PS Plus, The Comparison We Had To Make

Game Pass Vs. The New PS Plus, The Comparison We Had To Make

Aloy and the Master Chief stand next to each other.

Image: Sony/Microsoft/Kotaku

Two months ago, Sony reinvented PS Plus, its old membership program for PlayStation owners. Now, it’s a lot like Microsoft’s Game Pass: For roughly the same amount of money, both offer access to a Netflix-style library of on-demand games. Obviously, we had to stack the two services against each other.


Game Pass is available as a subscription for console, PC, or both. The two separate tiers cost $10 per month. Xbox Live Ultimate, which joins the two and provides access to the EA Play Library (a similar games-on-demand service) and Xbox Live Gold, costs $15 a month. There is no way to pay for several months or a year in advance at a tiered discount (officially at least).

PS Plus is also available by subscription, but it gets very complicated very quickly. There are two new levels. The Extra costs $15 a month, or $100 a year, and offers free monthly games, online games, and a catalog of games on demand that includes some from Ubisoft’s library. Premium costs $18 per month, or $120 per year, and adds access to classic games, game trials, and cloud streaming for most games in the library. That’s a huge price difference, and while PS Plus Premium is more expensive month-to-month, it’s actually almost 50 per cent cheaper if you commit to the whole year.

Winner: PS Plus


Game Pass allows cloud streaming, as long as you pay for the most expensive Ultimate level. The streaming functionality is technically still “in beta,” but for all intents and purposes it’s up and running. Microsoft recommends Internet speeds of at least 10 Mbps for mobile devices and 20 Mbps for consoles and PCs. based on Kotakuis testing, is… okay? Despite the big strides in cloud gaming recently, streaming still can’t compete with downloaded games. Latency, however small, cannot be ignored. As such, cloud gaming is best used for puzzles, relaxing RPGs, light platformers, and other games that don’t demand split-second reflexes.

Microsoft says “over 100” games can currently be streamed through cloud gaming on Xbox Game Pass, but more games are added every few weeks. Right now, the Game Pass library currently lists 381 streaming-capable games.

A cat hits a puddle in Stray.

Screenshot: Annapurna/Kotaku

To unlock streaming on PS Plus, you need to purchase the $18 per month tier. And even then, the streaming quality is nothing to write home about. At best, it’s only as good as Xbox Cloud Gaming. Sometimes it’s worse. Approximately 320 games in the Premium library can be streamed on console or PC, and a good chunk of them are PS3 games and classics rather than the full PlayStation 4 library. For example, marvel avengers Y Lost they are available on the console but not in the streaming library.

Notably, you can’t stream PS Plus games to your phone. For now, the service is based on Remote Play, which means you need a console to play on mobile and it must be on the same WiFi network.

Winner: Game Pass

game library

Of course, a games-on-demand service is only as good as what it’s supposed to provide: games.

Right now, the Xbox Game Pass library it has around 475 games, but that count comprises the library at both tiers, including the 92 games that are currently part of EA Play. The main draw, of course, is that Microsoft puts its entire proprietary portfolio on the platform. That also includes the main poles of the tent, such as infinity halo Y force horizon 5alongside upcoming blockbusters like star field Y red fall—which will be available the day they left. Third-party games tend to stick around for a year at most, though some, like Rockstar’s open-world Hold ‘Em simulator red dead redemption 2, becomes unavailable after a few months. It’s unpredictable.

Two banshees flying through the air in Halo Infinite.

infinity halo.
Screenshot: 343 Industries

The library also regularly toggles on third-party games, and often serves as a launchpad for standalone gems. Only this year, the twee Zelda-I like it Sayothe snowboard simulator crushersand the puzzle-cum-dungeon-crawler river booty all released on Game Pass. (Here it is KotakuThe list of the best games under the radar currently available.) The developers have acknowledged Kotaku that debuting on Game Pass cuts into initial sales, but it’s ultimately worth the trade-off in advertising.

PS Plus Extra currently includes around 430 games from PS4 and PS5, while Premium adds another 395 from PS1, PS2, PS3 (streaming only) and PSP. While the classics are a nice bonus, by far the biggest draw is the PlayStation exclusives like horizon zero dawn, God of War, Spiderman: Miles MoralesY blood borne. Unlike Microsoft, Sony has vowed not to put its most recent releases on the day-and-date service, and if Returnal comes a year after launch is any indication, it seems like a good bet gamers will have to wait at least a year. for 18 months before new things appear.

However, there are plenty of strong contenders in the third-party department. games like Final Fantasy VII Remake, Prey, Control, CondemnY tetris effect they are all present, just like the Indians light blue, outside wild cards, Dead cellsY Virginia. The library has a lot of diversity. and was more recently bolstered by the same-day addition of Lostwhich is already a contender for GOTY 2022. The Ubisoft component, led by Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is also a strong compliment. At the same time, Sony has yet to show that it is, or will be, as aggressive as Microsoft in courting a steady stream of third-party day-and-date additions. There is also no part of the library exclusive to PC.

Winner: PS Plus

Ari: Going into this exercise, I fully envisioned it painting a clear picture of Game Pass’s superiority, but these two services look fundamentally identical to me, right down to the user interface, with Sony’s new version of PS Plus marginally better in the few respects it affair. Prices are mostly the same, but the option to pay for a year of PS Plus at a “discount” beats Game Pass in that regard. Sure, the big draw of Game Pass is that it puts Microsoft’s first-party games on the service at launch, but…Microsoft hardly has any first-party games this year! Right now, that perk seems like little more than a line of marketing.

Ethan: I also thought Game Pass would be the clear winner on this, but now I’m conflicted as well. Not everyone can pay for a full year up front, but it really does change the calculus in this matchup. There are other key differences as well, and while I don’t think they make one a clear winner over the other, I do think it makes it easier to decide which one you want to pay for. Want immediate access to a vast catalog of some of the biggest and best games of the last generation? PSPlus wins. Do you want to keep up with some of the best new games coming out every month and play them anytime on your phone? So it’s Game Pass all the way.

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