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New PlayStation Plus vs. Xbox Game Pass vs. Nintendo Switch Online

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PlayStation has announced that it will be revamping PlayStation Plus, bringing the subscription service more in line with its competitors Xbox Game Pass and Nintendo Switch Online. But not all subscription services are created equal. If you’re a console owner trying to find the best deal, here’s a breakdown of what each service offers, as well as their prices.

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

play station

PlayStation submission in the subscription game comes from the combination of two previously different services. There was anemia Playstation Now service that offered streaming for a mix of earlier and more recent PlayStation games, and PlayStation Plus, which offered online multiplayer access and a handful of free games each month to download and keep. While you can get great games through the services like the Final Fantasy VIII Remake In addition to streaming PlayStation games on PC, fans have complained that the games on offer weren’t as enticing as the Xbox Game Studios titles that launched on Xbox Game Pass on day one.

Sony is now bringing the two entities together into one and combining them under the name PlayStation Plus, with the top tier creating the largest subscription library to date.

PlayStation Plus works in three levels:

  • PlayStation Plus Essential costs $9.99 per month (or you can get a hefty discount by paying $59.99 per year) and is basically how PlayStation Plus works right now. Players get online multiplayer access, cloud storage for game saves, and two games to download and save per month.
  • PlayStation Plus Extra is essentially the Xbox Game Pass tier. It’s $14.99 a month (or, again, save by pre-paying for the year for $99.99). It gives you everything in the Essential tier, plus access to a library of what Sony called the “most enjoyable” PS4 and PS5 games to download. However, unlike Game Pass, if you want PC streaming or previous generation PlayStation games, you have to go to the next level.
  • PlayStation Plus Premium rolls the two lower tiers together and adds cloud streaming of PS3 games and streaming or downloading of original PlayStation, PS2, and PSP games. At $17.99 a month (or $119 a year), this tier is the specialty of retro games.

It’s critical that these services don’t offer first-party PlayStation games at launch. In an interview with gameindustry.bizPlayStation CEO Jim Ryan said they are in “a virtuous cycle” with their studios and that releasing new games at launch on these new subscription services would break that cycle.

“It’s not a road we’re going to go down with this new service,” Ryan said.

This doesn’t mean you’ll never see it God of War Ragnarok on PlayStation Plus, only that you’ll have to wait a little longer than Xbox fans with the new one fable or Elder Scrolls game.

Nintendo

Instead of making a straight Game Pass analog, Nintendo decided – as usual – that its subscription service would be a little different.

While Xbox Game Pass and PlayStation Plus seem to be more liberal with offering new games on their platforms, Nintendo Switch Online occasionally offers a new title – usually the limited-time, online battle royale versions of classic titles – while focusing mainly on on granting access to its extensive back catalog of retro games.

Nintendo’s subscriptions are the cheapest across the board. A basic subscription of $19.99 per year gives you the ability to play online multiplayer for the appropriate Nintendo games, as well as access to a host of NES and SNES titles. New (old) games are added every month, and you can access them as long as you are a subscriber.

Recently, Nintendo added a new premium tier of the service, the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack. For $49.99 per yearThe Expansion Pack offers all the features of a basic subscription, plus access to an ever-growing library of Sega Genesis and nintendo 64 titles, new Mario Kart 8 Deluxe courses, and a Animal Crossing: New Horizons DLC Happy Home Paradise

Once the family business, Nintendo also has a slightly more expensive family plan so every Switch in the household can take advantage of online offers. To be $34.99 per year for the family version of the online Nintendo Switch basic subscription and $79.99 per year for the Expansion Pack family plan.

The Xbox X in a circle logo against a dark background with green lines.

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Xbox

Xbox Game Pass has the largest library and the most generous supply of new releases on day one. It has added perks like cloud gaming, which lets you stream compatible games to your mobile devices, a robust PC component, and a not-too-shabby – but by no means extensive – back catalog of previous-generation games (I’d love to play Lost Odysseyplease!) But all these benefits come with the highest price tag.

Like the others, Xbox Game Pass works in layers. For $9.99 per month ($119 per year), you can access Game Pass on PC or console. Neither includes online multiplayer capabilities, but PC Game Pass subscription holders also get access to EA Play – Electronic Arts’ subscription service that offers publisher games such as dragon eraFIFAand more through Game Pass.

For $14.99 per month ($179 per year), you can purchase Game Pass Ultimate, which unlocks Game Pass for console, PC, EA Play deals, and online multiplayer. Xbox has gobbled up studios, which has only increased the profile of its Game Pass offerings. starfieldBethesda’s upcoming space RPG isn’t just Xbox exclusive – it’ll also be available on Xbox Game Pass on day one, along with other first-party games like Haloforza, and more. If Microsoft’s upcoming acquisition of Activision Blizzard goes through, we can probably expect the same.

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