Sony PlayStation is launching an expanded online subscription service, according to a new report by Jason Schreier at Bloomberg. Currently under the development name “Spartacus,” the new service will combine the multiplayer online service PlayStation Plus and the service for streaming and downloading older games, PlayStation Now. According to documents obtained by Bloomberg, the service will retain the PlayStation Plus branding and be split into three tiers—one with current PlayStation Plus benefits; another with a catalog of PS4 and PS5 games; and a final tier with “extended demos, game streaming and a library of classic PS1, PS2, PS3 and PSP games.”
The move by Sony seems like an attempt to catapult them into the competition with Xbox’s Game Pass service, which has over 18 million subscribers and an Ultimate tier that includes the multiplayer benefits of Xbox Live. Game Pass puts all Xbox’s first-party games on the service, save for the odd exception with a pre-merger existing contract, like Sony having exclusive console access to Bethesda-published Deathloop. They made waves late November by opening up Halo Infinite’s multiplayer on Game Pass, while the campaign comes next Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Nintendo added their “+ Expansion Pack” to the Switch Online service in the fall and today announced a tenth Nintendo 64 game for subscribers, the original Paper Mario.
According to Sony’s own sales numbers and estimates of Xbox Series X and S sales from Niko Partners analyst Daniel Ahmad, the Sony PlayStation 5 consoles are currently outselling the Xbox consoles by a wide margin. A successful deployment of a more robust PlayStation Plus service will likely further increase demand for the PS5, though problems with supply remain. Whatever the final details, fans of long-dormant Sony first-party properties like the Jak and Daxter series or Xenogears are likely excited about the prospect of Sony PlayStation reviving old favorites.