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Home / Features / PlayStation Plus vs. Xbox Game Pass: which is best?

PlayStation Plus vs. Xbox Game Pass: which is best?

The two subscription services, compared

Gaming subscription services

The console battle isn’t solely a choice between Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo. It extends to your gaming subscription, too.

Gaming subscription services provide gamers with a vast library of games at an affordable monthly or yearly price. The two major players in this arena are Sony’s PlayStation Plus and Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass, both of which offer a broad range of games and various benefits. Nevertheless, they also have unique features and dedicated exclusives that set them apart.

Game library

PlayStation Plus is a service that offers a selection of free games each month, which includes a mix of AAA titles and indie gems. These games are usually available for as long as you maintain your subscription. The subscription also provides exclusive discounts on games and DLCs and early access to some demos and betas.

Gaming subscription services: PlayStation Plus

Different tiers of services are available in the PlayStation ecosystem, each offering varying features and benefits. PlayStation Essential ($9.99/£6.99month) offers basic features and benefits, catering to gamers who desire an affordable entry-level subscription. Key features include access to the PlayStation Network, free monthly games each month, and exclusive PlayStation Store discounts.

PlayStation Extra costs $14.99/£10.99 monthly. It gives you access to exclusive early demos, betas, and game trials before the official release. You also get an expanded gaming library and premium themes and avatars.

On the other hand, PlayStation Premium is the most comprehensive package among the three tiers, providing the ultimate gaming experience. For $17.99/£13.49, you get total online cloud storage to store your game securely, save, and progress across multiple devices, exclusive content, and premium customer support.

Gaming subscription services: Xbox Game Pass

Xbox Game Pass operates on a Netflix-like model, granting subscribers unlimited access to a vast catalog of games, including first-party and third-party titles. The library periodically adds new games and some older ones may rotate out. As well as games, Xbox Game Pass offers exclusive discounts on titles and DLCs, online multiplayer support, and free monthly games.

Xbox Game Pass offers three different levels of membership: Xbox Game Pass Core, Xbox Game Pass PC, and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. The most affordable tier is Xbox Game Pass Core, which costs $9.99/£7.99 a month and provides access to over 35 high-quality games for Xbox consoles. It also comes with exclusive discounts and deals.

The Xbox Game Pass PC, also priced at $9.99/£7.99 per month, is designed for desktop users and offers access to over 100 high-quality PC games. With Game Pass PC, users also get new Xbox Game Studio titles the same day they are released, as well as discounts and deals.

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate offers the ultimate gaming experience for those who want it all. This membership tier costs $16.99/£12.99 monthly and includes Xbox Game Pass Core and Xbox Game Pass PC perks. You can play games alone or with friends on any device, such as consoles, PCs, mobile phones, tablets, and browsers. With Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, you can access a vast library of games and enjoy uninterrupted gaming on any platform. And, if it isn’t already clear, you don’t need an Xbox console to join in on the fun.

Availability of first-party titles

Xbox Game Pass

One area where Microsoft has a clear edge over Sony is in terms of first-party titles. What sets the Xbox Game Pass apart from other gaming subscriptions is that it includes new releases from Microsoft Game Studios on the same day as their official launch. This means gamers who subscribe to Xbox Game Pass have immediate access to the latest titles, giving them a significant advantage over those who do not.

PlayStation Plus also includes first-party games, but they are often older releases. While this is still valuable for gamers who want to explore new games or revisit old favourites, it does not offer the same exclusivity as Xbox Game Pass in that regard.

Cross-platform availability

Both Xbox Game Pass and PlayStation Plus are tailored to their respective console ecosystems, with Xbox Game Pass targeting Xbox consoles and PlayStation Now exclusively for PlayStation consoles.

Although both services have similar goals, Xbox Game Pass goes one step further by extending its availability to PCs and other platforms. With a Game Pass Ultimate subscription, gamers can enjoy a vast selection of games on both console and PC, providing more flexibility and broader access.

What about Microsoft’s purchase of Activision Blizzard?

In late 2023, Microsoft successfully obtained governmental approvals to acquire Activision Blizzard, one of the world’s largest video game companies. With this acquisition, Microsoft acquired a vast library of popular game titles, including Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Diablo.

Moreover, the acquisition of Activision Blizzard allows Microsoft to expand its gaming offerings on Xbox Game Pass. This means that gamers will have access to a greater selection of titles, providing them with more options and opportunities to enjoy the games they love.

Gaming subscription services: the choice is yours

Xbox Series X and Series S

When choosing between PlayStation Plus and Xbox Game Pass gaming subscription services, there are a few things to consider. Both services offer a variety of benefits and features that cater to different types of gamers.

If you prioritize access to first-party titles and desire a seamless multiplayer experience, Xbox Game Pass might be your better choice. With Xbox Game Pass, you can access a vast library of games, including first-party titles like Halo, Forza, and Gears of War. Additionally, Xbox Game Pass provides gamers exclusive access to new games before they are available to purchase.

On the other hand, if you are a gamer who enjoys a range of free monthly games and wants access to exclusive demos and betas, PlayStation Plus could be your ideal subscription service. With PlayStation Plus, you can access a new set of free monthly games and exclusive demos and betas for upcoming games.

Related: PS5 vs Xbox Series X: which top-notch console is best for you?

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Bryan M. Wolfe has written about technology for over a decade on various websites, including iMore, TechRadar, AppAdvice, and many more. Before this, he worked in the technology field across different industries, including healthcare and education.

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