Some decent steps have been made, but we've got a long way to go.
Subscription services seem to be the way gaming's future is headed. Like it or not, with the rise of Xbox Game Pass and Microsoft's willingness to put almost every title it has on the service, it seems almost undeniable now that the success of these subscriptions aren't going to be slowing down.
By this point, Xbox Game Pass has built itself as the king of the hill when it comes to gaming subscription services. There are very few that can even hold a candle to it, but it does seem like Sony is building up its PlayStation Plus service to be a competitor one day.
With the release of PlayStation Plus Extra and Premium, the game catalogue and trials, the first big steps have been made into doing that, but there's still a long way to go before we can really talk about Game Pass and PS Plus in the same breath.
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If Sony does want gamers to consider PS Plus Premium as a competitor to Game Pass Ultimate, there are a few major changes that need to be made. The first and foremost of these are day one Releases. If you were to look up which games are set to release day one on Game Pass in 2023, you'd probably find everything you were looking for this year, save a few major titles.
This isn't to overly praise Game Pass, but rather, it highlights the work that PlayStation Plus Premium needs to do to make the cost worth it. Streaming games, demos, they're nice touches, but games are what get people to hand over their wallets.
In 2022, the most notable title that released on PlayStation Plus Premium day one was Stray, and even then the marketing didn't really push it as a game you should download the service for. Sony has plenty of profitable and well-received franchises it can put on the service.
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It would be a stupid business move to make God of War: Ragnarok or something similar playable through the service, but perhaps we could see something like whatever Bungie is cooking up on PS Plus, in the same way Xbox throws out Bethesda games onto Game Pass.
Adding in more meaningful day one games gives Sony a chance to transform its current PS Plus Premium service from something that's nice to have if you want to spend the extra cash to a subscription that you're going to need if you play more than a few games every year.
Of course, beyond day one games, there are other ways in which Sony can improve PS Plus as a whole, from the Essential tier to Premium. A simple way that Sony could make the service a bit better on the whole would be to actually talk about it. The marketing for PS Plus is often lacking, and can lead to a busy gamer who doesn't keep up with all the latest news miss out on their Essential free games, or not see that their favourite title is leaving the catalogue before it's too late.
Communication is key here, as it would simply feel more like Sony cares about this product if they want to push it out to more gamers. The amount of times I've seen an Xbox Game Pass ad begging me to join for just £1 makes it feel like Sony doesn't even have a competitor out there.
There is a lot to like about Sony's PlayStation Plus service now. It has brought games from every PlayStation generation to modern machines, and even though the classics catalogue could do with some expanding, it is still a main attraction of the service. However, at the price point of PS Plus Premium, I would expect more than just access to classic titles and the odd game trial here and there.
Unless Sony is thinking of dropping its pricing anytime soon, which outside of sales seems unlikely, then we simply need more to make this premium service feel like it lives up to its name. PS Plus Essential and Extra would do alright with a bit more marketing focusing on them, but Premium is an outlier in this regard.
Besides fixes to the performance of classic games, and giving us the ability to download them, to truly say PS Plus Premium is a Game Pass competitor and not just a more expensive version of Nintendo Switch Online, we need to see some day one releases. They are the cornerstone of Game Pass and if Sony is serious about this subscription service, it needs to step up in this regard most of all. As stated, I'm not saying we get every major Sony release for a sweet monthly price, but a bit more than Stray would make the Premium pill that much easier to swallow.