Nowadays, when you purchase yourself a shiny new console, that is hardly the end of it. Aside from the many titles that you can potentially stock your library with, there are also subscription services. Be it PlayStation Plus for Sony’s ecosystem or the Xbox Game Pass for Microsoft’s family of consoles, there are always going to be pros and cons.
While it is not going to be a like-for-like comparison due to the way the services are executed, it still pays to know exactly what you can get as a consumer. We are not considering PlayStation Now as part of the equation since it is not available in the region, nor are we lumping the Nintendo Switch Online subscription into the mix. Let’s just keep things between the houses of Microsoft and Sony.
Pricing: PlayStation Plus vs Xbox Game Pass
For starters, the pricing is always going to be a sticking point for many.
If you are new to Xbox Game Pass, you can subscribe to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for just US$1 ($14.99/month after), or for $165.89 over 12 months. If you only play on either PC or console, the platform-specific Game Pass goes for $9.99/month.
On the PlayStation side of things, you can get yourself a 12-month subscription to PlayStation Plus for US$59.90, or a 3-month ($24.99) and a singular month subscription ($9.99).
At face value, PlayStation Plus is cheaper no matter how you look at it. Yet, it is more pertinent and important to look at the benefits.
Benefits: PlayStation Plus vs Xbox Game Pass
Subscribing to Game Pass Ultimate allows you to get a library of over “100 high-quality games” on both console and PC. The deal also includes Xbox Live Gold for multiplayer, as well as EA Play. For platform-specific subs, only PC players will get EA Play.
With a huge library, you are definitely spoilt for choice with the back catalogue. The caveat being that if Microsoft decides to retire a certain title from the service, you will no longer have access save for buying the game outright. The arrival of Microsoft-exclusive titles on day one may be enough to offset the requirement, just think Starfield.
On the PlayStation Plus side, as long as you are subscribed, you are getting two PS4 games a month that could also be cross-platform with the PS5. If you are a subscriber, these games will always be yours to play as long as you have claimed them. Online multiplayer will require a PS Plus subscription, and you will get 100GB cloud storage for your saves too.
Both subscriptions will provide discounts to users, so you stand to benefit if you are invested in the system.
Just like most of the supposed console wars, the saga of the subscription services yield no clear winner. It all comes down to where you are looking to invest your gaming time.
If you are looking to build up a library of mostly quality titles old and new, and have a penchant for online play, PlayStation Plus is a no-brainer on either the PS4 or PS5. However, if you own an Xbox Series X|S or Xbox One X|S, getting Game Pass lets you get first dibs on the latest titles from Microsoft and EA, alongside a gigantic, rotating library of older games.
Those who also game on PC will definitely benefit from Game Pass Ultimate, and in that sense, there is more inherent value on the Microsoft side of things.
Unless you have all of the platforms as part of your entertainment setup, there is really no reason to debate. Either way, you should be getting all the subscriptions, or just enhance your preferred console gaming experience accordingly.