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Playstation Plus Essential, Extra, Premium: For whom Sony's new subscriptions are worthwhile

2022-06-21T16:18:29.051Z

Until now, Sony's Playstation Plus online service has been easy to see through. Now there will be three variants of the widespread monthly subscription. Here we answer the most important questions.



Sony has revised its Playstation Plus service: The monthly price varies depending on which of the three offers you choose

Photo:

Sony

When something fundamental changes at Sony, it sometimes has to do with Microsoft.

In recent years, the Xbox manufacturer has made headlines less with its own blockbuster games than with acquisitions and services.

Microsoft's Xbox Game Pass, launched in 2017, is considered a defining feature of the industry. It is a subscription service that gives gamers access to a catalog of classics and brand new titles for a fixed monthly fee.

According to the company, there were 25 million current Game Pass subscriptions worldwide in January.

In the future, the Playstation manufacturer Sony also wants to get more involved in the subscription market.

Almost half a year after the US journalist Jason Schreier leaked the plans for this, a revised version of Sony's Playstation Plus service will also be rolled out in Germany on Thursday.

It is divided into three individual offers of different prices and at the same time also replaces Sony's games flat rate Playstation Now, which has caused confusion for some players.

In the following we answer the most important questions about the reorganization of the service.

Which of the three subscription levels offers what?

It cannot be said that Sony has given its subscription services clearly distinguishable names.

There's

Playstation Plus Essential

, which turns out to be the previous Playstation Plus with a new coat of paint.

For 8.99 euros per month, there are fresh game licenses for two games for the Playstation 4 and one for the Playstation 5 as well as access to the online multiplayer functions of the consoles once a month.

So far, so well known.

Playstation Plus Extra

is Sony's new mid-range offering.

For EUR 13.99 per month, it offers players access to around 40 Playstation 5 titles and hundreds of Playstation 4 games in addition to the features of Playstation Plus Essential.

Finally, Playstation Plus Premium

, which costs EUR 16.99 per month, offers everything from the Extra and Essential packages plus access to selected cloud streaming versions of games from the Playstation 1 to 3 era. The insider Zuby_Tech has on Twitter lists all titles that are included in the service's US offering and comes with around 700 games in the premium package.

The number of titles available in Germany should be similarly high.

The premium package also includes two-hour trial versions of some blockbusters such as »Horizon Forbidden West«.

Which package is worthwhile for whom?

Anyone who is one of those who only uses their console for free-to-play titles such as "Fortnite", "Warzone", "Rocket League" or "Apex Legends" can continue to avoid the new plus offers.

Those free downloadable titles can continue to be played online without a Plus subscription.

On the other hand, if you want to play commercial games like "Fifa 22" online, you need at least the Essential package.

If you fancy an extensive gaming flat rate, you might get the most for your money in the extra tier.

The premium subscription for three euros more also offers access to older games.

But on the one hand, cloud streaming requires a stable internet connection and, on the other hand, the game line-up is quite thin, especially for Playstation 1 and 2.

There are said to be only around 40 emulated games from the first two console generations.

Among them are some real pearls like »Tekken 2«, »Ape Escape« or the Director's Cut of »Resident Evil«.

But many of the games on offer have long since received a remaster or are so obscure that those interested in them probably have them physically on the shelf anyway.

We have collected some play tips in our photo gallery:

How well do the old titles play?

Games from the Playstation 4 and 5 era can also be played as usual in the course of the new Playstation Plus packages.

With older games, especially from the time of the first two Sony consoles, this could obviously be different.

According to the tech experts from Digital Foundry, the Asian version of Playstation Plus Premium sometimes experienced noticeable stuttering, flickering textures and slowing down of the gameplay in some games on the Playstation 5.

The reason for this: First-party titles are apparently emulated in the European 50 Hz PAL version in all Asian regions except Japan, but modern consoles such as the Playstation 5 can only output a frame rate of at least 60 Hz.

The US variant of Playstation Plus Premium uses the 60 Hz NTSC versions.

How does the new Playstation Plus compare to the Xbox Game Pass?

As far as the mass of reasonably up-to-date games are concerned, Microsoft's Game Pass is ahead.

There are currently 464 console games and 430 PC games, not counting overlaps.

The new Playstation Plus Extra should offer about 300 current games, with Premium there are another 360 Playstation 3 games and the games for Playstation 1 and 2 on top.

In terms of price, users of the most comprehensive Xbox offer, Game Pass Ultimate, get one or four euros cheaper than Playstation Plus Extra and Premium.

The Game Pass Ultimate also includes the option of playing various blockbuster games via cloud streaming on smartphones and tablets.

Another shortcoming of Playstation Plus: Unlike Microsoft, games from Sony's in-house studios do not automatically end up in the subscription package on the day of release.

The reason given by Playstation boss Jim Ryan to Gamesindustry.biz is that new Sony games would be devalued if they were released directly via Playstation Plus and that such a publication strategy would have "impact on the quality of the games".

Source: spiegel

All tech articles on 2022-06-21

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