Xbox Game Pass is Beating PlayStation Now

Posted on May 20, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Games, PlayStation, Project xCloud, Xbox with 0 Comments

Microsoft may be losing the console wars, but its video game subscription service, Xbox Game Pass is outpacing Sony’s by a wide margin.

This surprising news comes via Sony’s most recent quarterly results, in which the electronics giant announced that there are now 2.2 million PlayStation Now (PS Now) subscribers. PlayStation Now is Sony’s streaming game service, a sort of “Netflix for video games,” and it lets subscribers stream a collection of PlayStation 4, 3, and 2 titles to their console or PC for $9.99 per month.

PS Now competes with Microsoft’s video game subscription services, which fall under the Xbox Game Pass moniker; there are three versions: Xbox Game Pass for console, which works on Xbox One, Xbox Game Pass for PC, and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, which provides access on both platforms. Unlike PS Now, Xbox Game Pass doesn’t stream its games, which span Xbox One, Xbox 360, and the original Xbox; you must instead download them first. Prices start at $9.99 per month.

But here’s the thing: Xbox Game Pass is far more successful than PS Now. According to Microsoft’s most recent quarterly results, there are now 10 million Xbox Game Pass subscribers. So Xbox Game Pass is over four times as popular as PS Now.

Given how badly Sony is beating Microsoft in console sales, this reversal of fortune in streaming services is interesting. But there’s another data point to consider, even if it’s a bit muddier. Sony also revealed that there are now over 41 million PlayStation Plus (PS Plus) subscribers. PS Plus is Sony’s version of Xbox Live, and both services allow gamers to compete in online multiplayer matches and get free games each month. But there is one big difference: Where Microsoft offers both free and paid subscriptions, PS Plus is paid-only.

We don’t have an exact figure for Xbox Live Gold, which is Microsoft’s paid tier. But we do know, again from its most recent quarterly earnings announcement, that Xbox Live overall has 90 million active users. The paid figure that compares to PS Plus is a subset of that. Is it half? One-third? We don’t know.

Regardless, it’s interesting to see Microsoft pull out a victory of any kind in video games, and with Project xCloud, a true game streaming service, on the horizon, it’s a lead I’m sure Microsoft would like to keep.

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