PlayStation is reportedly taking on Xbox Game Pass with a similar service of its own with an expected launch in early 2022.
Bloomberg reports that Sony Group Corp.’s PlayStation division is hard at work on a subscription service nearly identical to Xbox Game Pass, according to sources familiar with Sony’s plans. Code-named Spartacus, this new service will be an extension of Sony’s online subscription service PlayStation Plus that will allow subscribers access to a catalog of both classic and modern titles.
The service is expected to act as a replacement of sorts to Sony’s poorly-received and largely cloud-focused PlayStation Now service, which has never managed to become as successful as the company had hoped. Sony will merge PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now while retaining the name of the former.
Bloomberg gained access to documents that detail three tiers of service, though it’s important to note that these are subject to change. The first tier would be the standard PlayStation Plus subscription that allows players access to online gaming and multiple free games per month. The second tier would provide access to a collection of PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 titles – though it’s unknown whether this tier would include first-party new releases like Xbox Game Pass. The third and final tier would add a variety of demos, game streaming, and access to a selection of classic PS1, PS2, PS3, and PSP games.
While Sony hasn’t announced this new service formally, it’s likely that we’ll hear about it sometime early next year with a release window of Q1 2022. For retro enthusiasts that have long bemoaned Sony’s reluctance to fully embrace backward compatibility, this could potentially be a massive step forward in that department.