Xbox Game Pass vs. PlayStation Plus: Which is right for you?
For a very long time, if you wanted to play a game, you had to either buy it yourself or borrow a copy from a friend. Now, however, you have more options than ever, including Netflix-like services for games that give you access to a steadily growing library for a monthly subscription fee.
This innovation in game distribution has recently emerged as another key segment for the biggest names in the industry, especially Microsoft Xbox and Sony PlayStation. The respective subscription services of the two publishing giants, Microsoft Game Pass and PlayStation Plus, have drawn many comparisons, which is only fitting, given that they serve somewhat of the same need – an alternative affordable to play games without needing to own them.
If you’re interested in either of these services, you’re probably wondering which one is better. The honest answer is neither. Personally, comparing the two would be like comparing apples to oranges. While there are similarities between the two – even some aspects where one seems better than the other, what I think will ultimately influence your opinion is your gaming taste and the system you you already own.
Still, having tried both Microsoft’s PC Game Pass and Sony’s PlayStation Plus Extra for a few months, I think it’s worth taking a look at what both services have to offer and to see how they compare.
Value for money
If we’re talking price alone, PC Game Pass in the Philippines is the most affordable option. It only costs P119 per month. PS Plus Extra (US region), on the other hand, costs $15 per month, which when converted is more or less in the P830 range. That’s a huge difference in terms of price. Other regions such as Hong Kong have cheaper pricing for PS Plus Extra at around HK$75 or around P530, but even then Game Pass is more affordable.
There’s almost no contest between the two when it comes to price, so it’s best to consider what value you’re getting for your money.
Both PC Game Pass and PS Plus Extra give you access to a mix of first-party and third-party releases, including some notable indies. The difference is that Game Pass has a more limited selection of around a hundred, while PS Plus Extra has around five or six times that number, depending on which region you subscribe to. I’ll get to games in the next part, but the numbers favor PS Plus – it is, after all, more expensive.
You can even upgrade your PS Plus plan to Deluxe (or Premium in some markets) to get more games, including select PS1, PS2, PS3 and PSP favourites. If you’re a big PlayStation fan, this is probably your best bet. Just expect to pay more for your subscription – $18 per month in the US, to be exact, which converts to around P1000 or HK85, which converts to around P600.
At the time of writing, Microsoft’s local service has only one tier unlike its counterpart in other markets.
Where Microsoft seems to have an edge over PlayStation is in its approach to day one games. The former lets you play first-party exclusives on launch day, while the latter could make you wait a year or two before adding the game to the service. Day one access can net you thousands in savings, saving you the hassle of paying full price for a new game.
Considering everything I’ve mentioned, I think it’s still a toss-up between the two as to which one has the better value-for-money proposition. If you want more games, go for PS Plus. If you want to save money and usually play games at launch, try Game Pass.
Okay, this is where the comparisons get trickier. Since both PlayStation and Xbox have their own exclusives, choosing between the two depends on what games you actually want to play.
From a general point of view, however, it feels like Game Pass leans more towards multiplayer games, while PS Plus favors story-based single-player games – or so it looks like for me.
Microsoft Game Pass exclusives include the Halo, Gears and Forza franchisees, as well as sea of thieves and Based, to name a few, all of which rely on competitive and cooperative experiences. Then you have third party offers like Back 4 Blood, Rainbow Six Siegeand Dead in broad daylight. Your subscription also includes EA Access, which includes games like Battlefield, Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare and Fifa.
Sony’s PS Plus library, meanwhile, includes PS5 exclusives like Devilit is souls and Return, both of which are single-player games with multiplayer components. Other exclusives include more story-driven games like Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Death Stranding: Director’s Cut, Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut, Until dawn, god of war and Days gone. It also includes third-party achievements such as Red Dead Redemption 2, Control, Intergrade from Final Fantasy Remake and the release recently Wander. Additionally, you get access to Ubisoft Classic+, which covers the majority of Assassin’s Creed catalog, including the latest opus, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.
These are all well-received single-player games that are definitely worth checking out if you haven’t already.
There are, of course, notable exceptions to the rule I just discussed, but if you need some sort of general guide, you can probably follow this. You can view the full list of games available on each service by visiting their respective websites.
In my case, I enjoy Xbox Game Pass a little more than PS Plus Extra only because I already own a lot of games available on the latter. Otherwise, I’d probably get more out of my PS Plus subscription, given that I spend more time playing on my PS5 than on my PC.
When it comes to benefits, PS Plus Extra seems to have a slight advantage over Game Pass. Along with having the choice to subscribe at different tiers, you get cloud storage for your game saves, access to online multiplayer, and features like Game Help and Share Play, as well as exclusive content and discounts. You also get up to three pre-selected games per month, the same games that are available to all PS Plus subscribers.
If you upgrade to PS Plus Deluxe, you even get limited time trials of select games, like Horizon Forbidden West, as shown below. If you like the game enough to buy it, you can load your progress from the trial and continue where you left off.
When it comes to Game Pass, arguably the best perk is the aforementioned day one access to select games. It also includes exclusive discounts in case you want to own any of the games available in the EA Play library and subscription. Microsoft hasn’t introduced game streaming to the local market yet, so for now you’re stuck with downloading and installing games to your hard drive.
Sony and Microsoft are making big moves in the industry to expand their respective services. The two have ripped off development studios and publishers left and right over the past few years to bolster their respective stables of first-party collaborators.
Microsoft has already completed the acquisition of Zenimax, the parent company of Bethesda, the originator of franchises like To fall, Elder Scrolls and Wolfenstein. Almost the entire catalog of the studio is available on Game Pass, including blockbusters like Skyrim and Fallout 4.
Now, Microsoft hopes to do the same with Activision-Blizzard’s catalog as it continues to negotiate its takeover offer. If the deal does materialize, you could probably expect the Call of Duty catalog to add to Game Pass, among other publisher properties. It’s an exciting possibility that could make Game Pass’s subscription price even more attractive than it already is.
Sony has also bought up studios and publishers, chief among them the acquisition of Bungie. The deal is particularly noteworthy as the Destiny developer is expected to contribute to PlayStation’s plans to offer more types of live service games.
It’s perhaps safe to assume that there will be more multiplayer games in Sony’s lineup in the near future, which is admittedly very exciting. The move could serve as a good diversion between the company’s single-player releases and further flesh out its catalog of subscription services.
There are also a number of highly touted PlayStation exclusives that have yet to be added to the PS Plus catalog, including Ratchet & Clank: Rift A part and Sackboy: A Big Adventure. Perhaps when the revenue streams from these games dry up, they could find their way to the service. Their addition will likely convince more PS Plus subscribers to upgrade or stay on Essential or Deluxe tiers.
If you have both a PC and a PS4 or PS5, I suggest trying both services, if only for a month, to see which works best for you. If budget isn’t an issue, having both might have its advantages. For example, I use Game Pass to replay Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegasas I plan to use PS Plus to check Wander.
Also ask your friends what system they are on so you can find a game you can all play together. That’s the joy with these services – you all have access to the same catalog of games, so all you have to do is choose what you want to play and get straight into it. And if you ever get tired of just one game, you can try something else. – Rappler.com