Sony Group Corp’s PlayStation division rival Microsoft Corp., according to people familiar with Sony’s plans and documents reviewed by Bloomberg. U.S. is planning a new subscription service to compete with the popular Xbox Game Pass.
The service, code-named Spartacus, will allow Play Station Owners asked to pay a monthly fee for access to a list of modern and classic games, people asked not to be identified because they were not authorized to speak to the press about the plans. The offering will likely be available on Smash Hit Playstation 4, which has sold more than 116 million units, and its elusive successor, playstation 5, which was launched more than a year ago but is still difficult to buy due to supply chain issues.
When it launches, expected in the spring, the service will merge two of Sony’s existing subscription plans, playstation plus And now PlayStation. Currently, PlayStation Plus is required for most online multiplayer games and offers free monthly titles, while PlayStation Now allows users to stream or download older games. Documents reviewed by Bloomberg reveal that Sony plans to retain the PlayStation Plus branding but phase out PlayStation Now.
Details on Spartacus are yet to be finalized, but documentation reviewed by Bloomberg outlines a service with three tiers. The first will include existing PlayStation Plus benefits. The second will offer a larger catalog of PlayStation 4 and, eventually, PlayStation 5 games. The third level will include expanded demos, game streaming, and a library of classic PS1, PS2, PS3 and PSP games. A representative for PlayStation did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Although PlayStation has overtaken Xbox in recent years, Sony has lagged behind Microsoft on the subscription front. With this new structure, Sony would like to compete with an Xbox feature that has been popular and attractive.
Microsoft’s Game Pass, often called the Netflix of video games, has over 18 million subscribers. This allows users to pay $10 to $15 per month for unlimited access to several hundred games. Xbox has built its overall strategy around the service in recent years, putting all of its internally published games on Game Pass as soon as they are released. Xbox also made big acquisitions like Bethesda Softworks last year for $7.5 billion with the goal of bolstering the Game Pass library.
Sony is also investing resources into expanding its efforts in cloud gaming, people familiar with the plans said. Microsoft’s xCloud game streaming service became widely available earlier this year.