Back in March, I wrote that the new Xbox Game Pass rival for PS4 and PS5, the revamped PS Plus, looked like an expensive library of old games. And, now that the launch titles have been announced for it, I'm certain of it.
As we already know, PS Plus comes in three tiers. Essential is $9.99/£6.99 a month, Extra is $14.99/£10.99 and Premium is $17.99/£13.49. Essential gives you up to 400 PS4 and PS5 titles, and Premium brings another 340 games including PS1, PS2, PS3 and PSP titles.
Writing on the Sony PlayStation Blog (opens in new tab), Sony's Nick Maguire announced the catalogue of PS4 and PS5 games. It's pretty much what you'd expect, so there's Death Stranding and God of War, Resogun and Returnal, The Last of Us Remastered, Horizon Zero Dawn, various Uncharteds and the WipEout Omega collection. These are all perfectly good games and some of them are absolute masterpieces – but in many cases they're masterpieces we already got in the PS Plus Collection when we bought our PS5s, or games we already have on disc from our PS4 days. Very little here is new. And that's deliberate.
Why Sony is doing it differently
Speaking to Gamesindustry.biz in March, PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan said that Sony wouldn't be following Microsoft's lead with first-party titles: the big PS5 blockbusters are to sell, not to stream. And that makes sense from a business point of view: why give your Crown Jewels away when you can charge seventy-plus quid for them instead? Sony is also at a disadvantage here because it hasn't bought half the gaming industry like Microsoft has, presumably to keep the triple-As coming to Game Pass. But it means that, to my eyes at least, the catalogue feels a bit stuck between two time periods: the line-up of stone cold classics from the PlayStation's past feels a bit thin, while the more modern games are all overly familiar.
This is early days, of course, but one of the big selling points of gaming subscriptions for me is discovery: I want to play games that are new to me, not games I played to death years ago. So Microsoft's approach suits me much better. So far at least I think I'm going to keep paying my Game Pass subscription and shop around for the best deals on the PS5 games I want to play, such as Horizon Forbidden West. There are lots of really good games on PS Plus, but it clearly isn't the game subscription service for me.