It's no secret that Sony has had the upper hand over its competitors in the video game industry for the better part of the past two decades.
Of the 5 best-selling video game consoles in history, Sony owns three of them. The top-selling unit, the PlayStation 2, has a sizable lead over the Nintendo DS portable consoles (2nd place), as well as the combined sales of the Gameboy and Gameboy Color (3rd place). The PlayStation 4 (4th place) and the original PlayStation (5th place) are also both close behind.
As a matter of fact, the only console that Sony made that didn't even break into the top 5 is the PlayStation 3. This has something to do with audiences avoiding the PS3 upon release due to its expensive price. As a result, it took a while for sales to pick up. Meanwhile, the PlayStation 5 is expected to become of the best-selling consoles in history. Right now, it's already become the fast-selling console in the United States just four months into its release.
However, even though Sony has the best-selling consoles, they're not exactly winning at everything they do, or in this case, don't.
Case in point, Microsoft's Xbox Game Pass is currently one of the best video game subscription services out there today. Sony's offerings can't even come close. But, if recent rumors are to be believed, Sony is working on releasing a similar offering poised to compete against the Xbox Game Pass.
What Is Xbox Game Pass?
Xbox Game Pass is a subscription service offered by Microsoft for their Xbox consoles. At just $9.99, it's relatively cheap, and it offers access to a wide variety of games in its library, with more and more titles finding their way to its catalog of games even at launch. The most recent of which is Outriders, with the Sony first-party title, MLB The Show 21, expected to follow suit.
What makes the offering even more attractive is that it has an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription that tacks on Xbox Live Gold for only a couple of dollars more ($14.99 a month). At the same time, it gives you access to even more games via Microsoft's partnership with EA Play, free perks, xCloud, and access to your account across Android, PC, and Xbox consoles.
On the other hand, Sony's offering isn't half-bad. A PlayStation Plus subscription costs $9.99 a month (or $59.99 for an entire year) with a lifetime value that historically has been higher than how much the subscription costs for years. Then, there's PlayStation Now. Sony's other subscription service also has an extensive library of titles that now includes Marvel's Avengers.
But while Sony's alternatives aren't half-bad, they're not exactly growing either. In comparison, there are rumors that Microsoft intends to add more to the Xbox Game Pass in the coming months. We're not just talking about new games at launch either. We're talking about Microsoft in talks with Ubisoft to integrate their library of games with the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.
With Microsoft so willing to throw a lot more money towards making Xbox Game Pass even better than it already is, it spells bad news for Sony. It won't take too long for Sony to find their offerings obsolete if they don't plan on doing something about it.
Is The PlayStation Xbox Game Pass Equivalent Confirmed?
While Sony has yet to confirm that they're working on an Xbox Game Pass equivalent, there's just far too many similar rumors to suggest that this is just fan speculation. Perhaps the most prevalent rumor comes from Shpeshal_ED via a recent Xbox Era Podcast.
According to him, Sony's answer to Xbox Game Pass won't necessarily have the same features. Instead, what Sony is planning is similar to Apple One. This subscription essentially bundles all of Apple's monthly services under one roof. This includes Apple Music, Apple Arcade, Apple News, and Apple Fitness+, as well as Apple TV+ and iCloud.
Shpeshal_ED then explained that for Sony, an Xbox Game Pass equivalent would look something like music streaming via Sony Music Entertainment Label, movie streaming with Sony Pictures Entertainment, and anime streaming via Funimation, as well as one of PlayStation now or PlayStation Plus, although he's not sure which of the two Sony will include.
However, Shpeshal_Ed did clarify that this could all still change. He explained that Sony's recent deal with Netflix is a major factor. The said deal gives Netflix exclusivity to all future Sony Pictures movies after their theatrical run. This will likely include Ghost of Tsushima and Uncharted, among many other video game film adaptations.
Ultimately, this is all unconfirmed as of yet. However, it's good news that Sony is working on an Xbox Game Pass competitor, especially as more competition is always good for us consumers. It's just unfortunate that there's very little confirmed information available, so we don't know what this potential service could look like once it releases.
What we can be sure of is that once this subscription releases, we can expect it to be better than what the PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now is currently offering on their own.