Sony could finally be ready to compete with Xbox Game Pass

(Image credit: Future)

Sony is cooking up a competitor to Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Cloud Gaming for PlayStation gamers that will reportedly combine cloud gaming, classic games, and new titles.

The platform is codenamed Spartacus, and according to Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier, who spoke to sources with knowledge of the plan, it will be divided into three tiers.

According to the report, the basic tier of the service would include the usual PlayStation Plus benefits of a handful of free games per month and access to online multiplayer matches. The second tier would offer a slate of PlayStation 4 and, eventually, PS5 games for you to download similar to Xbox Game Pass. The third tier would offer all of the above, plus demos and games from the PS1, PS2, and PSP eras. 

Bloomberg’s report didn’t include subscription pricing details or a rollout date for the service, but did say that Sony is expected to invest more heavily in its current cloud-based game-streaming platform – PlayStation Now – in the very near future.

While the service sounds quite similar to Microsoft's offering on paper, it's worth noting that Schreier later tweeted that we shouldn't "expect Sony to include its big new games day one like Game Pass does".

Analysis: If played right, this could remedy the PS5’s biggest problem right now 

As much as we love Sony’s hardware and exclusive library, there's nothing quite like Xbox Game Pass on the PlayStation platform. Even with fewer big new releases this year, Game Pass makes the Xbox Series X a more vibrant console.

With Xbox Game Pass, there are four or five new games a week to check out, making it enticing to boot up the system even when you haven’t bought a new game.

It would make sense then that Sony sees the value in a Game Pass-like subscription. Despite being one of the first game-streaming platforms on the market with PlayStation Now, Sony has struggled to find ways to maximize its software services as evidenced by the closure of PlayStation Vue in January 2020.

That said, we're a little worried that a lack of major first-party titles on day one may leave users a little underwhelmed by Sony's equivalent to Xbox Game Pass, as one of the biggest selling points of Microsoft's service is instant access to huge titles such as Forza Horizon 5 and Halo Infinite at launch.

We’ll obviously need confirmation from Sony and then more details around pricing and content plans before we get too invested in the potential service. Still, this report is enough to spark some excitement around PlayStation's subscription services and keep people desperately searching for PS5 consoles.

Nick Pino

Nick Pino is Managing Editor, TV and AV for TechRadar's sister site, Tom's Guide. Previously, he was the Senior Editor of Home Entertainment at TechRadar, covering TVs, headphones, speakers, video games, VR and streaming devices. He's also written for GamesRadar+, Official Xbox Magazine, PC Gamer and other outlets over the last decade, and he has a degree in computer science he's not using if anyone wants it.