Microsoft has slowly built Xbox Game Pass into a superior service compared to Sony's PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now. However, it wasn't until this year that Microsoft finally widened the gap between its offering and Sony's. Not only does the Xbox Game Pass now boast a wider selection of more recent titles, but Microsoft has also managed to secure several titles that have launched and will continue to launch on the Xbox Game Pass, starting with Outriders earlier this year, with the likes of Halo Infinite and Starfield included as well.
It appears that this widening chasm hasn't gone unnoticed as Sony is now reportedly working on a competing Xbox Game Pass service.
Sony is dropping PlayStation Now in favor of Spartacus
According to a Bloomberg report, Sony is planning on a new subscription service under the code name "Spartacus" that will offer a mix of modern and classic games similar to the Xbox Game Pass. The documents included in the report mentioned three different tiers for the unnamed subscription service.
The first one is effectively just PlayStation Plus, which grants access to online multiplayer with a handful of free games every month. The second tier will mirror Xbox Game Pass with the third tier offering access to game streaming similar to PlayStation Now, with extended demos as well as a library of classic PS1, PS2, PS3, and PSP games.
The third tier is perhaps the most interesting part of PlayStation's new unannounced service. PlayStation and Nintendo have lagged behind Microsoft in terms of backwards compatibility for years. The offerings included in the third tier could help change how gamers perceive PlayStation.
As for when the new service will arrive, Bloomberg claims that Sony is expected to launch this improved combination of PlayStation Now and PlayStation Plus sometime in spring 2022. In addition, Bloomberg claims that Sony will phase out PlayStation Now with PlayStation Plus remaining.
Earlier this year, we tried to justify how much better PlayStation Now has gotten. Unfortunately, Sony's patience for the service's sluggish growth has run thin. With Microsoft adding several launch titles to the Xbox Game Pass, as evidenced by its robust November and December offerings, Sony might have taken a look at where they went wrong with PlayStation Now and decided to repackage it instead.
With that said, it will be interesting to see how Spartacus will fit with Sony's experimental movie subscription service. Sony might decide to scrap it entirely instead or add it to the third tier to give audiences even more incentive to throw money at a more expensive subscription. Of course, Sony will have to get the pricing right. Xbox Game Pass Ultimately only costs $15 a month and already includes Xbox Game Pass, Xbox Cloud Gaming, as well as EA Play, among other bonuses that are added regularly.