The oft rumored PlayStation streaming service finally appears to be official, revealing as early as this week. While Sony has been coy on even confirming its existence, the industry seems quite sure that this week is reveal week. Here are our thoughts on how we got here and what we expect of PlayStation Spartacus.
I’ve never been a fan of PS+. I’m generally the type of person that buys the game I want to play, so the free + games were never that enticing. There was certainly value to be had, especially if you liked trying out indie titles. The value just didn’t make sense, especially when the quality seemed to drastically drop as the years passed.
At $60 per year, it wasn’t outwardly expensive. Equalling to about $5 per month, it’s a drop in the bucket within the onslaught of subscription services. You could argue it was worth it for online play and cloud saves, but that would be pushing it.
PlayStation Now (PS Now).
Debuting in 2014, PS Now has gradually become a more lucrative service. With limited offerings and only being able to stream games early on, it now has a deep collection of games and the ability to download them locally for many. They’ve also rolled out the ability to play via streaming from a PC. Untethering the subscription from the console was a fantastic move that certainly lowered the barrier to entry.
Coming in at $60 a year as well, PS Now is a decent subscription if you don’t like to own games. it’s grown in its offerings, even if it doesn’t include everything or allow for local downloads for all games.
What is PlayStation Spartacus?
Supposedly, the upcoming announcement (if it happens) will combine these two offerings. This makes sense for a variety of reasons:
- The value for either in themselves isn’t enough. Yes. PS+ does well, but a lot of that fact is due to having to have it to play online
- Simplification of services allows for easier adoption of said service.
For as great as PS Now potentially could be, it still needs something more. I think that something more is the combination of the two services. A holistic approach, of which will most certainly be tiered, will allow for less confusion and a strong likelihood of adoption.
How Much will PlayStation’s new sub cost?
Who knows? It is up to anyone’s guess. I’d bet that they’d be smart to split the difference between the two separate offerings. Let’s say $90 per year for the lower tier. That would combine PS+ and PS Now into a much neater package. But, the rumors allude to Sony reaching further in its back catalog and providing more value to the service. I’d wager that hitting $15 per month would be ideal, which would put it in the range of Microsoft’s offering with Game Pass. Depending on the offering, I could see it hitting $20 per month, while offering a collection of a comprehensive library of games.
What PlayStation Spartacus Isn’t.
Pricing may end up being similar, but Sony’s new service is not a Game Pass competitor. Microsoft’s offering is so lucrative due to it having first party games (and select third party titles) releasing day one on the service. I don’t think PlayStation would do this, nor do I think it is smart to. Sony doesn’t have to do anything to market their first party titles. They sell extremely well, and they would lose money by placing their first party games on the service day and date. The two companies are in very different spots in the gaming industry. Thus, they are using their subscription services in very different ways.
My Hopes for PlayStation’s New Subscription.
Assuming it exists, here are the four things I hope the service includes:
- Only two tiers. The best subscription services are the ones that include fewer services. Make it simple for users to use. I think two tiers would be ideal. One for the everyday user that just wants to play online and play certain games via streaming/downloading. The other tier would be more power user focused that includes exclusive titles, and the ability to trial just released games. Similar to how EA Play Pro users can trial games.
- PS3 Games. I highly doubt they emulated ps3 games for the service to be able to download locally. It’s a shame too, since there are so many great games stranded on the hardware. From Resistance to Killzone to Metal Gear Solid 4, it’s just impossible to fully play through these franchises.
- Exclusive perks for owning PlayStation titles. I think it’d be beneficial to provide benefits for games that aren’t even on the service. Something like kicking over some credits to Gran Turismo 7 users or even an exclusive costume for Returnal Players. Just a little something to add to your PlayStation ecosystem of games.
- $20 or less per month. I feel like this is the sweet spot for a sub. While not a direct comparison, Game Pass has sort of worked as the bellwether for what gamer’s will pay.
In no way is PlayStation being forced to compete with another company that has a subscription service. They are in a spot where creating a subscription service will further encourage people to choose to play on their system vs any other. As much as I’d hate to add another service to the growing roster, it’s looking likely to happen with what they have to offer; that is, especially if they are able to dig into their unparalleled roster of older franchise games.
Will PlayStation Spartacus manage to cut through the clutter of the subscription wars? Hopefully we find out later this week!