According to the people, who asked not to be identified because they weren’t authorised to speak to the press about the plans, the service, code-named Spartacus, will allow PlayStation customers to pay a monthly subscription for access to a collection of new and old titles. The product will most likely be accessible on the PlayStation 4, which has sold over 116 million units, as well as its elusive successor, the PlayStation 5, which was released over a year ago but is still difficult to obtain due to supply chain concerns.
According to people familiar with Sony’s intentions and documents reviewed by Bloomberg, the PlayStation division is considering a new subscription service to compete with Microsoft Corp.’s popular Xbox Game Pass.
Details on Spartacus may still not be finalized, but documentation reviewed by Bloomberg outlines a service with three tiers. The first would include existing PlayStation Plus benefits. The second would offer a large catalog of PlayStation 4 and, eventually, PlayStation 5 games. The third tier would add extended demos, game streaming and a library of classic PS1, PS2, PS3 and PSP games. A representative for PlayStation didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
When it launches, expected 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 plans to retain the PlayStation Plus branding but phase out PlayStation Now.
Microsoft’s Game Pass, which is often dubbed the Netflix of video games, has more than 18 million subscribers. It allows users to pay $10 to $15 a month for unlimited access to several hundred games. Xbox has built its overall strategy around the service in recent years, putting all of its internally published games on Game Pass as soon as they’re released. Xbox has also made big acquisitions, such as Bethesda Softworks last year for $7.5 billion, with the goal of bolstering the Game Pass library.
Although the PlayStation has outsold the Xbox in recent years, Sony has lagged behind Microsoft on the subscription front. With this
Sony is also putting resources into expanding its efforts in cloud gaming, the people familiar with the plans said. Microsoft’s xCloud game streaming service became widely available earlier this year.
new structure, Sony will look to compete with an Xbox feature that has been popular and lucrative.