Nowadays, purchasing a gleaming new console is hardly the end of the story. There are subscription services available in addition to the many titles you can potentially add to your library. There are always going to be pros and cons, whether it’s PlayStation Plus for Sony’s ecosystem or Xbox Game Pass for Microsoft’s family of consoles.
While there won’t be a true like-for-like comparison due to the differences in how the services are delivered, it’s still beneficial to know what you can expect as a consumer. We’re not including PlayStation Now in the equation because it’s not available in the region, and we’re also not including the Nintendo Switch Online subscription. Let’s just keep it between the Microsoft and Sony houses.
Pricing: PlayStation Plus vs Xbox Game Pass
For starters, many people will always have a problem with pricing.
If you’re new to Xbox Game Pass, you can get Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for just $1 ($14.99/month after that), or $165.89 if you pay for it over 12 months. The platform-specific Game Pass costs $9.99 per month if you only play on PC or console.
On the PlayStation side of things, you can get a 12-month PlayStation Plus subscription for US$59.90, or a 3-month ($24.99) or a single month ($9.99) subscription.
No matter how you look at it, PlayStation Plus is cheaper at face value. However, it is more relevant and important to consider the advantages.
Benefits: PlayStation Plus vs Xbox Game Pass
Game Pass Ultimate gives you access to a library of more than “100 high-quality games” on both console and PC. EA Play and Xbox Live Gold for multiplayer are also included in the deal. Only PC players will be able to subscribe to platform-specific subs.
With such a large library, you will be spoiled for choice when it comes to the back catalogue. The caveat is that if Microsoft decides to remove a title from the service, you will no longer be able to play it unless you pay for it outright. Consider Starfield: the arrival of Microsoft-exclusive titles on day one, which may be enough to satisfy the requirement.
On the PlayStation Plus side, as long as you’re a subscriber, you’ll get two PS4 games per month, which may or may not be cross-platform. These games will always be yours to play if you are a subscriber as long as you have claimed them. A PS Plus subscription is required for online multiplayer, and you’ll also get 100GB of cloud storage for your saves.
Users will receive discounts for both subscriptions, so if you are invested in the system, you will benefit.
The saga of subscription services, like most ostensibly console wars, has no clear winner. It all boils down to how you want to spend your gaming time.
PlayStation Plus is a no-brainer on either the PS4 or PS5 if you want to build up a library of mostly quality old and new games and enjoy online play. If you own an Xbox Series X|S or Xbox One X|S, however, Game Pass gives you first access to Microsoft and EA’s newest games, as well as a massive, rotating library of older games.
Game Pass Ultimate will undoubtedly benefit those who also play on PC, and there is more inherent value on the Microsoft side of things in this regard.
There’s no point in debating unless you have all of the platforms as part of your entertainment setup. In any case, you should get all of the subscriptions, or simply improve your preferred console gaming experience.