New PlayStation Plus: yes or no? Here we think

New PlayStation Plus: yes or no? Here we think

New PlayStation Plus

Sony's announcement of the restructuring of the PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now offering was undoubtedly the news of the day. The judgments, however, were conflicting, both from users and from the press.

And in order to try to capture the widest spectrum of points of view, unlike what we usually do, we decided to make this article a more hands in which to give space to the point of view of the editorial team as a whole.

Virginia Paravani: the expectations were different

Project Spartacus has finally come out in the open and the result is far from what could be expected. The merger between Playstation Plus and Now appears quite chaotic at the moment, the victim of a not-so-brilliant communication from the Japanese company and a lack of adequate explanations to users.

Playstation's move makes sense but will it be a sign of success? With the ability to choose between three membership options and the integration of emulation from past generations, Sony wants to offer diversified gaming experiences that will find favor with those players interested in retrogaming and a rich library.

But the number of games featured on the Playstation Blog for the maximum tier does not specify their quality, rather underlining how the new subscription will not enter into direct competition with the Game Pass. Not only will there not be the great exclusives at Day One but at the moment even those already released will not find space except for Returnal, Marvel Spiderman: Miles Morales, God of War and Death Stranding.

We would have expected, given the prices offered, something slightly more gritty

We would have expected, given the prices offered, something slightly more gritty to accompany the launch of the service such as Demon's Souls, Ratchet & Clank and The Last of Us 2, which have long since come out of their peak period , with the bulk of sales now behind us. The rule that will see the exclusives on this service therefore does not seem clear, leaving everything to the pure discretion of Playstation.

Proposing these prices, slightly higher than the Xbox counterpart and the greater advantages it offers, is a bit risky considering that a large part of Sony users are used to buying the game at launch without necessarily having to activate the online to use it, if not for rare occasions. A player who so far has never felt the need to subscribe to the Playstation Plus, therefore, will not find it appetizing to spend € 17 a month to stream a catalog whose most of the games are likely to be related to previous generations of consoles.

At the moment, and from what has been declared, this new subscription will find the favor of those users who have so far benefited from both the Plus and the Now, thus creating a unique service, certainly more convenient, even if it pays the costs it will be PC streaming players who will have to subscribe to the two highest price tiers.

Riccardo Cantù: in the end the gamers win

After months of rumor and speculation, Sony's infamous 'Project Spartacus' has finally shown itself to the world in a somewhat form .. . unexpected. All those who expected a carbon copy of the Xbox Game Pass service that hit like an earthquake on the gaming market (both on consoles and on PC), will have been at least banned: Spartacus is nothing more than the natural evolution of the subscription. PS Plus, launched twelve years ago on PS3 and has become a cornerstone of the PlayStation ecosystem in subsequent generations.

Does this mean that the 'new PS Plus' is a disappointment? No, in the most absolute way: it is simply yet another proof of how different Sony's approach to the video game market is compared to that proposed by Microsoft in recent years. While the US giant has decided to go all-in with its Game Pass, making it the beating heart of the new Xbox platforms in all respects, PlayStation remains anchored to a more traditional conception of the medium and its distribution, the same that has guaranteed to hold a prominent place in the collective imagination as well as an overwhelming success in terms of sales.

Does this mean that the 'new PS Plus' is a disappointment? No, absolutely

No exclusives on day-one, then, but the reason is easy to understand: Sony's first party studios, thanks to an organic growth path masterfully conducted by the publisher in the last decade, has never had major problems presenting, communicating and ultimately selling their vision. Suffice it to say that even less famous titles such as Sony Bend's Days Gone manage to place almost 9 million copies worldwide (without disturbing the approximately 20 million units sold by God of War, so to speak).

Two opposing sides of the same coin, then. On the one hand there is Microsoft which opens all the doors to its large catchment area, also concluding some epochal acquisitions such as that of Zenimax or that of Activision Blizzard, while on the other we have Sony which is pursuing its now well-established strategy and 'limits' to significantly enhance the PS Plus offer, merging it with the PS Now service but leaving out, of course, what is one of the spearheads of the Game Pass offer: the exclusives available on launch day.

Which of the two strategies will pay off the most in the long run? Posterity will judge. But, as we often repeat, the reigning flame of competition between these two gaming giants always has only one winner: the gamers. The future looks exciting!

Lorenzo Mancosu: Sony as Prime Video (but Disney Plus was better)

The new PlayStation Plus variants are strange creatures: on the one hand it was evident that Sony should renew the offer of its subscription services, which have long been anchored to the legacy of a vanished era, while on the other hand the feeling that the Japanese giant is timidly testing the ground with the tip of his toes is prevailing, undecided whether to dive into depth of these waters or whether to go back comfortably under the umbrella to sunbathe.

We must not forget, in fact, that in the last few years PSN, despite its meager offer, has been the subscription service to most profitable gaming on the planet: 12 billion in 2019 of which over 3.2 billion deriving from PS Plus and PS Now alone. This happened mainly thanks to the extraordinary diffusion of the machines of the house, accompanied by the numerous launches of off-scale works. Consequently, it is natural to think of the new variants of Plus as "answers" rather than real reasoned initiatives, since at times these seem to collide with the manufacturer's philosophy.

It is never nice to feel users of series B or even series C

President Jim Ryan is well aware of this, who specified how "the launch of exclusive SIEs at day-one within the confines of the service would be in contradiction with the production system of home". After all, paying 13 euros to get hold of a catalog of 400 titles, including proprietary ones that are not available on any other platform, is an offer that could be tempting in itself, were it not for the fact that beyond at PS Plus Extra ("Sony's Game Pass") there is also the Premium version, which, net of a two-euro monthly surcharge, also offers "cloud backward compatibility".

In addition to non be a real backward compatibility, since it is not possible to play the titles of the past that you already own, this actually divides the Sony users into three macro-groups, and it is never nice to feel like a series B or even series users C. Our feeling, to put it in a nutshell, is that if Xbox Game Pass is up to Netflix, PlayStation Plus is setting up a sort of Amazon Prime Video: lots of content, some original productions but also lots of titles that are only available. paying extra and some "a subscription within the subscription ".

Sony's formula, on the other hand, would have lent itself very well to embrace the idea behind Disney Plus: all the fantastic SIE titles available on the platform, maybe even a few days away from the launch, accompanied by a total backward compatibility capable of reviving the unforgettable memories of childhood and adolescence spent in the company of the home consoles for millions of fans. After all, Sony is - just like Disney in cinema - a brand that has accompanied tens and tens of millions of people during a past life playing video games.

Gianluca Musso: Sony didn't need to be more daring

I was particularly curious to find out what Sony's inevitable response would be to the success of the Game Pass and other gaming-related services, but I never expected to witness such a test of strength of the Japanese giant, which in defiance of all our forecasts yesterday presented a very timid and conservative offer of services, if compared with the others on the market.

The growth of Xbox in the sector of consoles is there for all to see and someone would have liked to see a response from Sony aimed at decisively bridging the gap born with the birth of the Game Pass. Instead of crushing the Xbox rebirth ambitions with overwhelming and aggressive proposals, the Tokyo company has squared around the founding concepts of the PlayStation brand, such as the sacredness of its exclusives, presenting what on balance is a microscopic renewal of its current offer of services.

Sony has done very well to consolidate its dominant position

Whoever chews on video games at 360 °, in my view, will inevitably have little left impressed by yesterday's announcements, but I am convinced that as always, once again, Sony has done very well to consolidate its dominant position, which at the moment is still particularly granite.

In the current conditions, that is those of a semi-monopoly of Sony in the context of the console installed base, the company does not need to expose itself aggressively on the services front, but only to reinforce the perceived value of the its users so that players, those who have always been loyal to the brand, do not irreparably start looking around to realize that gaming is no longer what it was in the 2000s. When Xbox is finally scary, and it may not be long before, Sony will already have a well-established service platform, and will be able to think about the steps to take in order not to succumb to the future of video games: subscription services.

The the only, indisputable drawback of Sony's current strategy is, in my opinion, relative to the last tier of its three new Plus subscriptions, the one entirely dedicated to retrogaming. Of course, the idea of ​​returning to explore the libraries of the first PlayStation is tempting but I'm sure it is more so in theory than in practice: you can spend an afternoon, maybe two, but retrogaming is unquestionably a passion reserved for a very subtle niche of players. Dedicating him the most expensive tier of the new PS Plus, especially if the competition offers the native backwards compatibility of his old games, is a move I can hardly explain.

Stefano Silvestri: backwards compatibility is now a luxury ?

Wanting to avoid repeating the judgments already expressed above, I kept myself very last in this examination. And I would like to draw attention to a point that has left me rather perplexed, namely backward compatibility. When Microsoft made it one of its flagships, Sony itself shrugged: in the end the nostalgia market is much discussed and apparently dear to gamers, but in practice irrelevant (or scarcely relevant) in deciding the fate of a console.

And just look at the latest IIDEA report to find confirmation: in the top 3 of the best-selling games in Italy we find FIFA 22, GTA V (which we could provocatively define by now as retrogaming) and FIFA 21. From the series: we fans see it in a way, then the average user who goes from MediaWorld to buy "the Play" to play FIFA or Call of Duty, emulation and backward compatibility are of little interest.

Maybe that Does streaming a game for PSP cost more than for PS5?

All clear and all consistent, in short, then yesterday's announcement arrives in which PlayStation suddenly rediscovers itself very interested in the past, coming to study an offer that, I copy and paste Claudia's news, "includes up to 340 additional games, including PS3 games available via streaming in the cloud, a catalog of great classics, available in both streaming and download, from the original generations of PlayStation, PS2 and PSP. Not only that but offers streaming access in the cloud to the original PlayStation, PS2, PSP and PS4 games available in the Extra and Premium tiers in the markets where PlayStation Now is currently available ".

Let's be clear, only fools don't change their minds and so we can't help but welcome with pleasure Sony's increased attention to the past of gaming, but ... is it possible that this is the most expensive offer? Given that Microsoft does not ask its users additional costs for backwards compatibility, it is surprising that in order to play games dating back to geological past, Sony asks for the beauty of 16.99 euros per month or 119.99 euros a year. Does streaming a game for PSP cost more than for PS5? We doubt that emulating outdated hardware will significantly impact game servers ...

We would have expected the most expensive offer to be the one that included triple A on day one, but Sony expects the public you open your wallet to savor the old glories of the past, which usually ends up being a fleeting pleasure for a couple of evenings a month. This, as I said, surprises me but since it has happened several times in the past that the market has given answers very far from what seemed sensible to me, I can only suspend my judgment and await the response of the public.

In closing, there is another (at least for me) apparent contradiction. Sony has recently opened up to gaming on PC and the results of God of War seemed to suggest that the road was now marked. The confluence of the PlayStation Now in the PlayStation Plus, however, will lead PC users to spend practically double when their current subscription expires: a year of PlayStation Now today costs 59.99 a year, while the PS Plus Extra will cost 99.99 euros l 'year. A year of Game Pass PC, on the other hand, can be found today also on sale for 54.99 euros. Is it possible that this "detail" has escaped Jim Ryan?

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