How New PlayStation Plus Tiers Add Great Value to an Aging Platform

Constant, quality updates are key to its longevity

  • Sony's reworked PS Plus subscription service is finally live.
  • Experts believe it's a significant step forward, offering members more value than ever.
  • Constant updates and library expansions will determine whether the platform is successful
A PlayStation controller leaned on the the PS console.

Nikita Kostrykin / Unsplash

Sony's highly anticipated PlayStation Plus rework is now live, and it could pose stiff competition to other monthly game services, such as Xbox Game Pass.

PS Plus has been around for years, offering access to online features in return for a small monthly fee. That's all changed this month, as PS Plus has merged with PS Now—Sony's other platform that grants access to a massive library of games for a monthly fee. As of June 13, both platforms are now housed under the PS Plus umbrella. Customers can choose between multiple tiers of service, one of which includes classic PS1, PS2, and PS3 games, making a PS Plus subscription more enticing than ever.

"The reworked PlayStation Plus tiers are a marked improvement on the previous content subscription offering," Rhys Elliott, games market analyst at Newzoo, told Lifewire via Twitter. "PlayStation's new subscription offering will erase the negative branding associated with PlayStation Now, pushing the core fanbase to upgrade to the higher tiers and leading to more recurring revenues for Sony."

Stumbling Into the Ring

Customers in North America have access to three different tiers of PS Plus, each one more expensive and offering more content than the last. The most interesting plan is PS Plus Premium. At $18/month, it offers access to the largest library of games, time-limited trials of select titles, and cloud streaming of classics. Sony appears to be taking direct aim at Xbox Game Pass with this tier, but it's unclear if the company has successfully communicated the new PS Plus structure to the gaming community.

"The whole rebrand has been pretty confusing," Elliott tells Lifewire. "Even in the analyst world, people were puzzled. PlayStation's blog posts, which are long and include countless asterisks, didn't really clarify things further. If analysts and journalists were confused, imagine how general consumers might feel."

Game Pass Ultimate is the most direct competitor for PS Plus. For $15/month, a subscription lets you play hundreds of games across Xbox consoles, PC, and mobile. Subscribers also gain access to select day-one releases from Microsoft. This includes notable launches such as Halo Infinite and Forza Horizon 5.

PS Plus, however, won't see day-one launches for first-party titles. Instead, its catalog of classic games is much deeper than that offered by Xbox Game Pass—and that might be enough to persuade PlayStation fans to sign up.

"Compared to Microsoft, Sony relies more on its games business, so it's simply unwilling to offer its first-party content on a subscription service on day one, right now at least," Elliott said. "Nevertheless, the content library in new PS Plus is vast and will add plenty of value for many PlayStation fans."

It's a slightly different approach than the one by Microsoft, but it still results in a gigantic library of games for members to wade through. And while the original announcement of the PS Plus rework was a bit muddled, Elliott said the actual roll-out of the service seems to have gone smoothly, thanks to "transparent messaging" from Sony.

PS Plus Needs Quality Updates to Survive

If you're a PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 5 owner, you've probably embraced these changes with open arms. An update of this magnitude was long overdue, and the added functionality should breathe new life into the old service. Subscribers will also be treated to significant monthly updates.

PlayStation Plus tier benefits.


"Games will continue to refresh monthly with the all-new PlayStation Plus service, so there is always something new to play," Sid Shuman, senior director at SIE Content Communications, wrote in a blog post. "In keeping with our normal cadence for PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now, the refreshes will occur twice monthly."

Whether this overhaul and constant influx of new games can pull in new subscribers—or steal market share away from other platforms—remains to be seen. But regardless of how it boosts total membership, it's clear that current PS Plus subscribers have more choices than ever before. And the promise of constant updates should give members hope that it'll only grow more exciting in the future.

"While the new PlayStation Plus tiers offer less value than Xbox Game Pass, that doesn't matter for the ~48 million gamers already in the PS Plus ecosystem, who are just looking to get the best value from their chosen ecosystem," Elliott said. "But whether or not people will subscribe, upgrade, and stick around relies on that all-important beast: content."

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