Let’s Talk… Xbox Game Pass vs PS Now

game pass ps now

I’m back with another lets talk piece!  I know you guys love them and I had another thought, which in all honesty has crossed my mind a few times.  When are Sony going to do something that competes with Game Pass?  I can hear you guys now saying “Sony have PS Now“.  Indeed they do, however the problem is that by comparison, it’s just not on the same level and the perception of it is quite poor.  I’ll be honest here, I do prefer Sony exclusives over Microsoft’s offering.  That being said, the sheer value that Game Pass provides is unmatched.  So it’s time to look at Game Pass vs PS Now.

The Microsoft Service

Game Pass has multiple levels of entry, depending on your format essentially.  We have Game Pass on the PC, Game Pass on the Xbox itself and then Game Pass Ultimate (Ultimate including both PC, Xbox, Xbox Gold and Cloud gaming along with EA Play).  Game pass allows full game downloads on Xbox and PC.  Any first party release is now on game pass day one, e.g. The Medium, Gears 5, Forza Horizon, along with the upcoming Halo.  Microsoft also acquired Bethesda and we will be getting some of their new titles exclusive to any device that is game pass compatible, so rules out Sony then!

[Editor’s note: which new Bethesda titles are going to be Microsoft exclusive haven’t been confirmed, don’t worry yet Nintendo and Sony owners.]

The best thing here is that even without Bethesda, Game Pass is getting 3rd party games on its service day one, such as the recent Outriders.  The subscription service is also updated very regularly – it feels like a week doesn’t go by until we get more news on the service.  Now, lets just jump over the other side of the Game Pass vs PS Now debate…

Sony’s Offer

We have PS Now which is on the consoles themselves and PC.  You can stream games to any PlayStation device, with titles ranging from PS2 to PS4.  You can download PS4 games, though it doesn’t include PS Plus and there is no way to add it as Sony don’t offer it as an option.  The biggest problem with PS Now for me is the streaming.  I have a very quick connection and streaming itself isn’t a problem, but the quality is just not the same as a download.  The cost to value ratio is also not as good as Microsoft’s offering either in my view.  My next big gripe with this as whole is that Sony could easily match Xbox Game Pass and yet they have chosen not to.  We have heard from Sony themselves they do have something in the pipeline, however the more time passes, I do find myself wondering – is that the truth?

What Could Sony Do?

Sony has a massive back log of exclusives and surely, as company, they could do similar deals with 3rd parties to have a game day one.  The next improvement would be to change the subscription model.  PS Plus and PS Now are separate things which in itself isn’t a problem, however on the green side there is an option to have Gold along with all the benefits of Game Pass, which is Game Pass Ultimate.  If anything, Sony could so the same.  Random name here, but they could call it PS Pass, throwing PS Now and PS Plus together.  Part of the problem with Game Pass vs PS Now, as I mentioned earlier, is the latter’s perception.  Sony do nothing at all to help this grow and it’s rarely mentioned by them.  Very rarely do we see them actually post news about it or what’s coming next.  It’s like they treat it as an after thought, or something they threw together because they bought Gaikai and want to use the tech.

Now these are in one aspect both very different business models, we have Sony that appears to be more focused on the streaming side, where as Xbox have it as mostly downloads.  There are other aspects which can skew the perception of both which is the number of games if comparing the two side by side, just going into it at a basic level PS Now has 800 Games with Game Pass having 300 when looking at the PC and Xbox total including EA play.  You would think from a numbers game PS Now would be the one that is far ahead, this is where I believe the perception comes into play and Sony’s lack of effort in really pushing PS Now.  Nearly every Microsoft advert I have seen or tweet, news piece etc., seems to reference Game Pass.  In fact it’s one of the first thoughts and recommendations I have to any one that says “I’m getting an Xbox” – I will advise them to get Game Pass.  It’s also on offer that often I’d be surprised if any one ever pays the full monthly cost.

Why Not Offer A Service?

Sony’s business model seems very much the same tried and tested exclusives will sell the console and that’s it, thus far they aren’t wrong.  PS5 has broken a record already in being the fastest console sold in US history, considering it’s been out less than a year along with many stock issues that’s good going.  I believe this will be down to such releases as Spider-Man Miles Morales, Sackboy and even though it wasn’t that well received, likely Godfall as it had hype behind it and it was a game exclusively to PS5 with it skipping Xbox.  Sony’s history with new IP’s and exclusive games are highly thought of through history, but in particular the PS4 generation which will have helped PS5 sell.  I believe the way in which we consume games is changing and the tried and tested method Sony is using won’t last forever.  Let’s look at Outriders for example: it’s out on both consoles and included day one in Game Pass; Sony on the other hand don’t have it in PS Now so you need to buy it for full price.  Depending on your region could be anywhere from £40 – £60.  If you own both consoles there is only one choice when looking at Game Pass vs PS Now which screams value and saves you money.  This is exactly what I did – I’m currently playing it on Game Pass and loving it.  For a game such as Outriders though Xbox Game Pass gives it an instantly large player base and people whom may on the fence about it a chance to try it.

This generation and no doubt future generations love to have everything at hand instantly whether that’s wanting new games, movies or TV shows.  This becomes the key difference between the two and what I feel gives Microsoft the edge and why Game Pass is perceived as better.  There are new first party games day one alongside selected 3rd party ones.  PS Now does not do this, and whilst its library is larger it just doesn’t feel like it’s what people want, and perhaps why Sony don’t seem to push it that much either.  That being said Sony could easily change this.  We have the upcoming Returnal on 30th April, later we have Ratchet and Clank and then Horizon Forbidden West.  Just Imagine if Sony said these will now all be day one downloads on PS Now for any subscriber.  If that happened I would jump on it in a heartbeat.  Sony could potentially with a flick of a switch have a service that’s similar and still have the quality of exclusives they’re known for in one place.  This all leads me back to the same thought – will Sony do anything to improve PS Now, whether that’s match Game Pass or something new entirely?  Let me know what you guys think.

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The newest member of the Codec Moments team… you can find me on nearly every gaming platform there is.

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1 comment

  1. Matthew Holloway April 25, 2021 2:38 pm  Reply

    I agree entirely. Unfortunately, it looks like they’re going to try and boost PS Plus subscriptions by adding video content, instead. Personally, I’m just hoping that they manage to crank up production on the PS5 hardware, or find a distribution method that gets it into the hands of consumers, and not just scalpers. Maybe something like Xbox All Access?

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