Report: Sony to Merge PS Now, PS Plus and Take on Xbox Game Pass

Posted on December 4, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Games, PlayStation, Project xCloud, Xbox with 7 Comments

Bloomberg reports something we’ve long suspected, that Sony will use some in-house DNA to better take on Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming.

Bloomberg says that the coming service, codenamed Spartacus, will result in the merger of PlayStation Plus—Sony’s version of Xbox Live Gold—and PlayStation Now, a game streaming service for PlayStation consoles and PC. But based on its description, it appears that Spartacus will just replace PS Now, as Sony is keeping the PS Plus brand alive. (Microsoft also retains Xbox Live Gold today while moving forward with Xbox Game Pass.)

Spartacus is expected to launch in the Spring and work on PlayStation 4 and 5 consoles, and there will apparently be three tiers of service, one of which is basically just PS Plus. “The second [tier] would offer a large catalog of PlayStation 4 and, eventually, PlayStation 5 games,” Bloomberg explains. “The third tier would add extended demos, game streaming, and a library of classic PS1, PS2, PS3, and PSP games.” So those two tiers seem to map closely to Xbox Game Pass console/PC and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, respectively.

For clarity, Microsoft offers three versions of Xbox Game Pass across consoles, PCs, and both, but these aren’t game streaming services: users have to download games to their devices before they can play. But Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, the highest-end tier, includes a feature called Xbox Cloud Gaming that lets members also stream a growing collection of games as well. Microsoft has over 18 million Xbox Game Pass subscribers overall, but it’s unclear how many of them can access Xbox Cloud Gaming.

Also, it’s worth noting that Sony’s coming PS Now replacement may run at least in part on top of Microsoft’s Azure cloud infrastructure: as you may recall, the two companies announced a partnership toward this end in 2019.

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Comments (7)

7 responses to “Report: Sony to Merge PS Now, PS Plus and Take on Xbox Game Pass”

  1. chaoticwhizz

    Sony does the obvious step to combine their existing services but unless the tiers are very cheap (unlikely) this won't do anything against GamePass. They need more to compete. Hopefully there is more to this then what is uncovered

  2. echo64

    Interesting that PSP is mentioned, does this mean you can play PSP games on PS4 and PS5? That honestly might be enough for me to make the jump to the higher tier.

  3. Donte

    Gaming is such a mess right now. The hardware shortages and scalping are hurting the hardware side big time.

    Lots of games are being released way before they are ready...Cyber Punk, BF 2042, even Halo Infinite. They are beta's, broken and missing features.

    Forced cross play is the future and it is irking consoles gamers big time. Developers including Microsoft do not care because forced cross play = bigger pool of gamers and more loot sold for free to play games. Halo Infinite MP is the just the latest examples.

    I have a nice gaming PC that I used to only use for single player games or unique games like DCS only on PC and more of a simulator than game. I also have a XSX that I use for MP games because the PC world of AAA MP PC games is riddled with cheating. I also used my Xbox's for console exclusives.

    Now with forced cross play I am disadvantage on a console in MP games. MK has a distinct advantage over controller in most MP shooters. Also, Microsoft releases everything for the PC now, so Xbox exclusives are no longer a thing.

    I guess the best approach now is PC gaming and you can get everything from Microsoft and now Sony as they are now releasing their games for PC.

  4. brandonmills

    Without Day One access to new titles though, it lacks the biggest reason to get Game Pass. Part of the value of paying x amount a month is that you do get access to new titles on Day One. Titles that would cost a lot without Game Pass.

    • MoopMeep

      Do you get to keep games with Game Pass or does microsoft take games away?

      • christianwilson

        Third party titles cycle in and out of Game Pass over time.

        Xbox Game Studios titles arrive on Game Pass day one and stay there. You can play them as long as you maintain your subscription. One exception that comes to mind is Forza Motorsport 7 but that game was removed due to licensing deals expiring.

      • thretosix

        There are often discounts on the games in Game Pass as well. You can usually buy the game at a discount before it leaves if you really like the game.