Subscription Services

How the new PS Plus stacks up to Xbox Game Pass and Switch Online

After months of rumors, Sony finally revealed its new version of PlayStation Plus on March 29. The service brings together the current PS Plus and PS Now offerings and will feature three different tiers, with the two pricier plans including a library of hundreds of retro games going all the way back to the PS1 era.

Over the years, Xbox Game Pass has been a massive hit with fans and provides some serious value to its subscribers. It was only a matter of time before Sony responded with its own subscription service, especially with such a robust library of software from previous generations. But how does the all-new PlayStation Plus compare to offerings from both Microsoft and Nintendo?

PS Plus vs. Game Pass vs. Switch Online price

PS Plus now has three different pricing options scaling from $9.99 to $17.99.PlayStation

Nintendo Switch Online

Nintendo Switch Online is the cheapest of all three options, with a basic membership costing only $3.99 a month or $19.99 for 12 months. Of course, there’s also the Online+Expansion Pack option, which costs $49.99 for 12 months and adds on free access to N64 and Sega Genesis classics, as well as access to expansions for certain games. To recap, here are the options.

  • Nintendo Switch Online - $3.99/month, $19.99/year
  • Nintendo Switch Online+Expanion Pass - $49.99/year

PlayStation Plus

PS Plus now has three different tier options, with the basic option mirroring the current PS Plus subscription. For $9.99 a month, or $59.99 yearly, you can get access to online play, monthly free games, discounts, and cloud storage. The next two tiers cost $14.99 and $17.99 a month respectively and the first, PlayStation Plus Extra, adds on a catalog of nearly 500 downloadable PS4 and PS5 games. The second, PlayStation Plus Premium, then goes even further and adds on streaming options for the previous catalog, as well as games from previous generations. There will also be free game trials with Premium, although it’s not clear at the moment if those trials will apply to new releases or older ones. We’ll sum up the option again below.

  • PlayStation Plus Essential - $9.99/month, $59.99/year
  • PlayStation Plus Extra - $14.99/month, $99.99/year
  • PlayStation Plus Premium - $17.99/month, $119.99/year

Xbox Game Pass

Xbox Game Pass was the premier subscription service for years, and there are currently two different tiers. The basic $9.99 tier can be chosen for either console or PC and gets you access to the Game Pass catalog, as well as deals and discounts. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is the second tier and lets you play on console, PC, and mobile, both through download and the cloud.

  • Xbox Game Pass (choose PC/console) - $9.99/month, $119.99/year
  • Xbox Game Pass Ultimate - $14.99/month, $179.98/year

PS Plus vs. Game Pass vs. Switch Online Games

Nintendo Switch Online focuses on providing access to classic games, rather than new ones.Nintendo

The most important thing for all of these services, of course, are the games that they provide access to. The lineup for PlayStation Plus is about to expand, but not exactly in the way that Game Pass provides players content. Let’s compare how all three services provide value to players.

Nintendo Switch Online

Switch Online is the only service that doesn’t provide current-gen games to players with a subscription. However, the service leans heavily on classic games, with over 100 classic games now on the system from the NES, SNES, N64, and Sega Genesis like Ocarina of Time, Kirby’s Adventure, and Super Mario World. It’s also interesting to note that Switch Online is the only service providing access to game expansions, as the Expansion Pass instantly grants players access to the Animal Crossing New Horizons expansion and the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Course Pack. Of course, you’ll need the more expensive membership to get the expansions.

PlayStation Plus

The PS Blog post announcing the new PS Plus gives a few details about what the new service will entail. The post says PS Plus Extra “adds a catalog of up to 400 of the most enjoyable PS4 and PS5 games.” However, PlayStation doesn’t currently have a list of games, which means we don’t know if the said list will include new releases. The PS Blog post mentions that when the new service launches they plan to include titles like Marvel’s Spider-Man, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Mortal Kombat 11, and Returnal.

Past that, PS Plus Premium will add on a library of 340 more games, from previous generations. There is an important note there, however, as PS3 games in the library will only be available to play through streaming. PS1, PS2, and PSP games on the other hand will be available to download or play through streaming. While the numbers seem impressive, a deciding factor in the new PS Plus could be how current its game library is, and how soon new releases get added.

Xbox Game Pass

One of the biggest perks of Xbox Game Pass is that first-party games are always available on the service, meaning you can play titles like Halo Infinite, Sea of Thieves, and Gears 5. In addition, every first-party game that launches is generally added to the service as well. Xbox Game Pass essentially has a revolving door of over 200 games. New titles get added to the service every few weeks on average, but sometimes games will leave as well.

At the time of writing, Game Pass features quite a few big recent third-party games, like Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, Crusader Kings III, Tunic, Back 4 Blood, and A Plague Tale: Innocence. The service also has a selection of titles from the original Xbox and Xbox 360. An interesting thing to note is that Xbox supports using the disc versions of older games, as you can just insert it into your Xbox if it’s supported on Game Pass. By all indications, PS Plus will not have this option.

PS Plus vs. Game Pass vs. Switch Online Day One Launches

Xbox Game Pass’ biggest benefit is all first-party games launch on the service day one.Microsoft

Xbox Game Pass

This is one area where Xbox Game Pass obviously has the advantage. Every first-party Xbox Game Studios title launches on day one on Game Pass, and it’s one of the things that makes the service so attractive to players. Being able to play games like Halo Infinite and Starfield the day they release is huge.

PlayStation Plus

In an interview with PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan, he confirmed that new releases will not come to PS Plus on day one. In regards to adding games on day one Ryan said “We feel if we were to do that with the games that we make at PlayStation Studios, that virtuous cycle will be broken. The level of investment that we need to make in our studios would not be possible, and we think the knock-on effect on the quality of the games that we make would not be something that gamers want." Sony will start offering time-limited game trials, but you’ll need the most expensive tier in order to access those.

Nintendo Switch Online

Nintendo, of course, doesn’t offer any kind of current games with its online service, but again, the expansions for Animal Crossing and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe were available on the service the day they launched.

Having compared the logistics of all three services, PlayStation's new options are interesting, to say the least. It almost feels like Sony is striking somewhere in the middle ground between Xbox and Nintendo Switch, offering a selection of classic games with a few more modern options.

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