PlayStation Plus Essential – what everyone used to call good old PlayStation Plus – has been returned again an exceptional list free games for players who subscribe, and of course players must subscribe if they want multiplayer access.
But on subscription new Extra and Premium service levels, which launched in june, it’s frankly hard to see where the value is. And I say that as a PlayStation Plus Premium subscriber, mainly because of the work that I do.
No one expects PlayStation Plus to emulate Xbox Game Pass; an impersonator would be five years late to the party, anyway. But even the raw number of games available to PS Plus Extra and Premium members – most of which have been inherited from the old PlayStation Now service – doesn’t do much to make the PlayStation 4 and PS5’s add-on program competing with Microsoft’s.
By the end of the year, PlayStation Plus Premium subscribers – the highest level of service – had access to over 1,000 games. (Around 450 are PS4 and PS5 games, which form the core of the service and are available to PlayStation Plus Extra subscribers. The rest are streamable classics from the PlayStation 3 generation and earlier.) That’s a lot of games, more than double what Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers currently have access to (thanks to the inclusion of the EA Play library) .
But it’s also because Xbox Game Pass is curated, with games rotating as new ones are added. PlayStation Plus Extra and Premium feel like Sony, with the help of third-party publishers, is throwing things at the wall in hopes that something will stick. The problem is that everything sticks together, making it nearly impossible for the subscription to have a big name game that stands out, let alone justify the $14.99 (Extra) or $17.99 (Premium) each month. . PlayStation Plus Essential is still $9.99 per month.
Second, the fact that Sony is in the folder saying it won’t launch proprietary games on higher PS Plus service levels. It’s Sony’s choice, of course, but it’s not like it forces third-party publishers to go for Extra or Premium either. Wandera console exclusive — and an acclaimedof course – is the only title to launch on PS Plus Extra on the same day as its general release.
It seems odd that Sony is such an obstacle, when day and date launches are perhaps the defining feature of Xbox Game Pass, and especially when PlayStation Plus Essential has had no issues with day and date launches over the years. years – covering titles like rocket league to small indie games exclusive to the platform. PS Plus Essential even had two daily PlayStation launches in 2022.
The flood of games added to the top two tiers of PS Plus – 240 in all – aren’t really worth analyzing in the same way we analyze the smallest collection of PS Plus Essential games. Not when data points like age (decades or even dozens) and whether titles are offered on other services (many have appeared on the old PS Plus over the years) are in any case fundamentally debatable.
This analysis will instead focus on what PlayStation Plus Extra and Premium could do in 2023 to create a more attractive subscription, rather than dwelling on what Sony didn’t do in 2022.
Add value to PS Plus Premium or kill it
The only real distinguishing feature of PS Plus’s higher tier of service is that subscribers can stream hundreds of games to their PS5, PS4, or PC – but, importantly, not to a mobile device, as Xbox Game Pass Ultimate does. And games that are only available to Premium subscribers — mostly PS3 and PlayStation Portable games that are at least ten years old — aren’t worth the extra $3 a month.
Sony Interactive Entertainment should either beef up the streaming opportunity – mobile device support at a minimum – or simply expand the streaming capability they have to Extra and drop Premium. The extra level of service only adds to the confusion for customers as to what the new PlayStation Plus really offers them. Generosity at the Extra level could also drive subscription numbers up.
Choose a star each month and stick to it
SIE’s approach appears to be to open a content firehose, where their Game Pass competitors have a more focused approach. Notably, PS Plus Extra games don’t leave the library, and of course that’s value for the paying subscriber. But the new game additions each month – Sony’s biggest opportunity to market PlayStation Plus – feel more like a theme week, or overload, than a buffet that guarantees you’ll like at least one thing.
For example: in addition to Wanderthe start, July saw four Assassin’s Creed titles – including The Ezio Collection, which is actually three games – added to the PlayStation Plus Extra library. It’s with Marvel’s Avengers (a PS4 and PS5 game launched in 2020) and Final Fantasy 7 Remake for the PlayStation 5. So, in September, Death Loopthe availability of Origins of Assassin’s Creed and Watch Dogs 2.
It may seem ungrateful to complain about so many AAA games with a monthly subscription. But again, Sony’s shotgun approach doesn’t seem to be working, when it comes to distinguishing PS Plus or telling gamers of the service’s unique value. In November, the company announced to investors that it lost approximately 2 million paid subscribers, even though PlayStation’s overall network services revenue was up 10% for the quarter. This means that some people have upgraded to the more expensive plans, but a 10% increase doesn’t seem like much cause for celebration.
At a minimum, additions to the game should follow clearly defined genre lines (a sports title here, a driving title there) rather than a flood of open-world adventures drowning out a timed console exclusive launched barely a year ago. year before.
Please reconsider launch day and date
Sony seems rather firm in its stance that first-party day and date launches won’t happen on PlayStation Plus. But they offer a product whose customer expectations have been set, for the most part, by Microsoft over the past five years. It could be good in a 2022 when Xbox brought little to the table – but the disparity will become much more glaring in 2023.
If Sony won’t take off a title from its stable of in-house developers, or if it can’t convince another big publisher to join, that’s their business. But Sony will then have to make do with most of its subscribers sticking to PlayStation Plus Essential level only, as most seem to be at the end of 2022.