Sony is apparently planning to announce a competitor to Game Pass next week
Sony is expected to launch its response to Xbox Game Pass, currently dubbed Spartacus, “as early as” next week. According to previous speculations, Spartacus may be a mashup of Sony’s two existing subscription services, PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now. According to Bloomberg, the service will begin with a selection of popular recent titles but may exclude the impending tentpole God of War: Ragnarok.
The service is intended to have three distinct tiers, each of which will provide a variety of games at varying pricing ranges. The first tier is likely to be fairly similar to the current PlayStation Plus membership, while higher levels will include PS4 and PS5 games (though the latter will arrive “in the future”), as well as “access to extended demonstrations and the option to stream games over the internet.”
Sony presently offers two membership services: PlayStation Plus, which includes multiplayer gaming, discounts, and a few free games each month, and PlayStation Now, which provides access to a back catalog of select PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation 2 games through cloud gaming or download (which options are available depends on the specific title). These services, in my opinion, pale in comparison to Xbox’s Game Pass, which allows you to play key Xbox and PC games on the day they launch — primarily Microsoft-published titles — as well as a portfolio of third-party titles.
With Spartacus, Sony appears to be aiming to provide PlayStation customers with a service worth getting excited about — though sources indicate that it will rely more on the enormous PlayStation back library than on today’s fresh releases.
Additionally, the cost is unknown. At the moment, PlayStation Now and PlayStation Plus are each $60 per year when purchased as an annual subscription, or $120 when purchased in combination. That’s roughly the same price as the normal Game Pass subscription and somewhat less than Game Pass Ultimate, indicating that Sony does have some pricing flexibility.
Additionally, there is the question of migration – you can purchase numerous months, or even years, of PlayStation Plus. If the program is discontinued, how would Sony handle consumers who do not subscribe on a month-to-month basis? While it appears as though Spartacus will have a pretty comparable tier, price changes will have to be considered.