Don't think about buying the new PlayStation Plus, just do it

Despite the slightly anti-climatic reveal, here's why the new PlayStation Plus is an essential buy for any loyal PS5 gamer

Kratos in PS5 game God of War and PS Plus
(Image credit: Sony)

So, after months and months of speculation about what Sony's upgraded online PS5 subscription service was going to offer, the Japanese firm went and revealed all.

The new PlayStation Plus, which had been reported with the codename 'Spartacus', in the media, was unveiled quite matter-of-factly on the official PlayStation Blog yesterday.

This upgraded PlayStation Plus service pulls together the benefits of the existing PS Plus as well as Sony's game streaming service, PS Now, into one package, with three different subscription tiers available to gamers.

These tiers range from PlayStation Plus Essential, where gamers basically get the same package as PS Plus used to offer, up to PlayStation Plus Premium, where they get access to hundreds of modern and retro games to play on top of the Essential plan's benefits.

It's very much a move that makes the new PlayStation Plus far more in line with Xbox Game Pass, which itself offers the same sort of package and tiers, with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate offering Xbox gamers additional games and functionality over standard Game Pass.

Aloy with yellow armour in front of pirate ship in the PS5 game Horizon Forbidden West

(Image credit: Sony / Guerrilla Games)

Where, though, the new PlayStation Plus announcement felt a bit anti-climatic (aside from the naming; I mean, really, PlayStation Spartacus sounded so much cooler!) was that Sony confirmed that the new PlayStation Plus is not going to have major AAA Sony studio games launching on it day one.

This differs massively from Microsoft's current strategy with Xbox Game Pass, which has massive exclusive games like Halo: Infinite and Forza Horizon 5 launching on day one on the service.

On paper, then, it looks like Xbox Game Pass gamers are getting a lot more value out of their yearly subscription service cost than PlayStation Plus gamers. And, well, there's no way to spin that any other way – they absolutely are.

However, in my mind at least, any loyal Sony PlayStation gamer should jump on board and sign up to the new PlayStation Plus as soon as possible. Here's why.

As T3 has written about before, the playing field is not very equal right now between Sony and Microsoft. Not only is Microsoft as a company significantly bigger than Sony (Microsoft has a market cap of $315.41 billion compared to Sony's $105), a fact that means it can make huge gaming industry shaking deals such as the $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard), but Sony is also lagging notably behind in the Netflix-for-games streaming service war.

Gran Turismo 7 PS5 game

(Image credit: sony)

Sony's weaker position right now is, in part, down to historically bad decision making, but even if it had followed Microsoft's lead much earlier and moved into cloud gaming and Netflix-for-games subscription services sooner and in a more comprehensive way, it would likely still find itself unable to offer AAA games on day one.

I mean, PlayStation boss Jim Ryan has actually said that the Japanese console maker can't do that as "the level of investment that we need to make in our studios would not be possible" otherwise. Sony needs to sell its games in the traditional model in order to fund the next big game. It needs to sell Horizon Forbidden West to gamers so it can make the third game in the trilogy, it is as simple as that.

I am not privy to Microsoft's Xbox financials, but I think it is quite obvious that the North American firm is heavily subsidising Xbox Game Pass right now to offer what it currently does. I mean, from a financial point of view, launching AAA games on Xbox Game Pass, which costs just $14.99 / £10.99 a month for the top, Ultimate, tier can't pay off as well as selling those games to gamers at $59.99 / £49.99 a pop.

I mean, sheesh, you can currently sign up to Xbox Game Pass for just a buck ($1/£1!) for three months. So instead of paying over $100 to play, say, Halo: Infinite and Forza Horizon 5, you can instead do so for just $1, and then also play hundreds of other top games for that price, too. Can you see just how crazy that deal is? How is Sony supposed to compete with that without losing a dump truck load of money?

Microsoft's decision makes sense to a degree, of course, though. Xbox took a massive loss to PlayStation in the last console generation, with the PS4 range of consoles selling over double that of Xbox One. And that has left Microsoft playing catch-up this generation with its Xbox Series family of consoles. By offering such a great deal in Xbox Game Pass, Microsoft has made a really aggressive play to lure gamers over to the Xbox ecosystem.

And while Xbox poaches those gamers Microsoft looks like it is happy to absorb the financial hit.

Ratchet & Clank PS5 game

(Image credit: Sony)

Sony, though, in my mind can't do anything similar (Ryan basically confirms that in the above quote) and so, honestly, I think the best thing any PlayStation gamer who enjoys the PlayStation brand, hardware and games can do is invest in the new PlayStation Plus.

Yes, on paper you won't be getting the almost too good to be true Xbox Game Pass service with its free day one AAA new releases, but you'll be helping Sony secure its placement at the cloud gaming focussed Netflix-for-games future of the gaming industry and getting a load of incredible games and perks for your spend.

I mean, even with the mid-tier PlayStation Plus Extra, you get access to over 400 of the very best PS5 and PS4 games to play. Sign up to the top tier, PlayStation Plus Premium, and you get over 700 games to play. In my mind that is still a load of value for your spend.

And, that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to fight against my feeling of slight anti-climax with the new PlayStation Plus and just sign up, as it will help Sony to continue to create awesome gaming experiences for the PS5 generation and beyond.

Deputy Editor for T3.com, Rob has been writing about computing, gaming, mobile, home entertainment technology, toys (specifically Lego and board games), smart home and more for over 15 years. You can find Rob's work in magazines, bookazines and online, as well as on podcasts and videos, too. Outside of his work Rob is passionate about motorbikes, skiing/snowboarding and team sports, with football and cricket two favourites. Feel free to contact him with any related products, events, and announcements.