After months of watching Xbox Game Pass enjoy near-universal acclaim, Sony has decided they want in on the action. That’s according to Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier, who says Sony is planning to launch a new service next Spring. Referred to as “Spartacus”, the service is meant to merge existing services PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now, the service that allows subscribers to stream older PlayStation games.
The new service will supposedly retain the PlayStation Now branding, and is currently planned to have three different tiers. The main tier will be the existing PlayStation Plus service, while the next tier would offer PS4 and PS5 games. Finally the last tier would offer additional demos, streaming, and the ability to play games from the PS1 through PS3 generations, as well as PlayStation Portable games.
But the thing that’s most important about Xbox Game Pass, the ability to play first-party games Day One, isn’t part of the plans. Though much of this is unconfirmed, this would be the biggest problem with a potential new service–offering everything but what made the other service so popular is a recipe for disaster. Of course currently Sony has no problem getting their first-party projects to sell ten to twenty million copies per project, but it still puts them in a tough spot from a value perspective. Currently the perception is that Xbox doesn’t have the prestige first-party IP that PlayStation has, but that doesn’t always have to be true. Xbox has bought multiple studios over the last four years, including the massive Bethesda Softworks purchase which gives them over two dozen studios to work with.
With nothing confirmed yet, there’s still a lot in the air on how this service might work, but if it exists this feels like a big win for Xbox. After people questioned whether or not Game Pass was a good idea, only a few years later, Xbox has forced Sony to go on the defensive and made them want to develop a competitor service. Time can only tell if this will turn out to be a good thing for the customers as well.