Xbox Game Pass vs. New PS Plus: how do they stack up?

Xbox Game Pass logo and PS Plus logo facing off
(Image credit: Microsoft/ Sony)

Sony unveiled its revamped PlayStation Plus subscription service this week, but how does it stack up against Microsoft's offering?

The all-new PS Plus is PlayStation's answer to Xbox Game Pass – at least that's what we keep hearing. It combines the PS Now games-on-demand service with PS Plus. So you'll get access to a library of games to download and stream, combined with online multiplayer, free monthly games, and exclusive discounts. 

Game Pass has made the Xbox Series X incredibly appealing. And thanks to Xbox Cloud Gaming, the cheaper Xbox Series S is also becoming a viable option for super serious gamers; it's not just for kids, folks! 

But has Sony gone far enough to shore up the widening gap between itself and Microsoft in terms of the services they both offer? Let's break down the new PS Plus and Xbox Game Pass to see which one comes out on top.   

It's worth noting that the single-platform Xbox Game Pass options don't include Xbox Live Gold, which lets you play online, and gives you free monthly games as well as exclusive discounts. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate includes Xbox Live Gold. 

Similarly, PS Plus (which is becoming PS Plus Essential) doesn't include a library of games; it's on par with Xbox Live. The Extra and Premium tiers incorporate the PS Now catalog of games to stream and download, bringing those two offerings in line with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. 

Ratchet looking at camera

(Image credit: TechRadar)

PS Plus vs. Xbox Game Pass: games library

I'm saving the price for last because we need a bit of context in terms of what exactly it is we're coughing up cash for. 

Xbox Game Pass' main draw is its giant library of games spanning four console generations. That means players can peruse titles from the OG Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S.  

Backwards compatibility has been something Xbox has kept at the forefront of its strategy. Sony, on the other hand, dropped it pretty quickly with the PS4. Signs that backwards compatibility was becoming more trouble than it was worth for the company began with the PS3. The feature was a pricey addition in terms of hardware, and was completely removed with the PS3 Slim. You can read more on Sony's history of backwards compatibility here.     

The PS Now service in its current form offers hundreds of PS2, PS3, and PS4 games to stream to your Windows PC, PS4, or PS5. While it's being absorbed by the new PS Plus, those previous gen titles are only accessible with the most expensive PS Plus Premium tier subscription. The mid-tier PS Plus Extra will get you a library of PS4 and PS5 games.

Xbox Game Pass, meanwhile, has one model for PC, one model for console, and the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate tier, which lets you play games on PC, console, and mobile. But its backwards compatibility library is consistent across all three options, for the most part. 

In terms of the sheer amount of games available, PlayStation has Xbox beat with a total of 740 games to the latter's 454. But there are caveats! Check out the breakdown below.

  • Xbox Game Pass - console: 454 games
  • Xbox Game Pass - PC: 419 games
  • Xbox Game Pass Ultimate: at least 454 games
  • PS Plus Extra: Up to 400 PS4 and PS5 games
  • PS Plus Premium
    • Up to 400 PS4 and PS5 games, and up to 340 additional games
    • Includes PS3 games (via cloud streaming)
    • PS1, PS2, and PSP games for streaming and downloading 

Best Xbox Game Pass games

(Image credit: Microsoft)

PS Plus vs. Xbox Game Pass: free monthly games

The current iteration of PS Plus is directly comparable to Xbox Live Gold, rather than Xbox Game Pass. Although Microsoft is eager as ever to usher Gold members over to Game Pass, with the landing page highlighting that Xbox Live Gold is included with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. 

Xbox Live Gold is the same price as the existing PS Plus service. Sony is maintaining the same price and benefits for the switch over to PS Plus Essential.

To keep things as clear as possible, we've compared Xbox Live Gold and the new PS Plus Essential tier like-for-like. Remember, while you need PS Plus for cloud saves, you don't need an Xbox Live Gold membership for cloud saves on Microsoft's consoles.  

Basically, if you're just looking to play online and get a couple freebies thrown your way every month, Xbox Live Gold and PS Plus Essential offer the same thing. But not having to pay for cloud saves on Xbox is a bonus. 

  • PS Plus Essential
    • Online multiplayer access
    • Exclusive discounts
    • Cloud storage for saved games
    • Two monthly downloadable games
  • Xbox Live Gold
    • Online multiplayer access
    • Exclusive discounts
    • Two monthly downloadable games

Starfield promo poster

(Image credit: Bethesda Softworks)

PS Plus vs. Xbox Game Pass: day one releases

Xbox Game Pass adds tremendous value to your subscription by eliminating the cash you'd usually have to drop to play a brand new game. You can play Xbox Game Studios titles the same day as they release with Game Pass.

That also extends to the Bethesda titles (Starfield, anyone?), indie games, and blockbusters like Halo Infinite

Meanwhile, Sony boss Jim Ryan has confirmed that this won't be the case with PS Plus.

"[In terms of] putting our own games into this service, or any of our services, upon their release... as you well know, this is not a road that we've gone down in the past. And it's not a road that we're going to go down with this new service," he told

"The level of investment that we need to make in our studios would not be possible [if we did this], and we think the knock-on effect on the quality of the games that we make would not be something that gamers want."

He stresses that this approach isn't set in stone and that he's addressing the "short term." 

So, until that changes, Xbox takes the dub here. 

  • Xbox Game Pass: includes (some) new releases at launch
  • PS Plus (all tiers): new releases not included

God of War: Ragnarok Kratos and Atreus

(Image credit: Sony)

PS Plus vs. Xbox Game Pass: early access

Now that Xbox Game Pass includes EA Play, subscribers can take advantage of early access to select titles. For example, members got to dive into Battlefield 2042 before release in a 10-hour early access trial. That only applies to Game Pass on PC and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.

The new PS Plus service doesn't feature pre-launch early access to games. But it does include time-limited trials at the premium tier. 

  • Xbox Game Pass Ultimate: includes EA Play early access
  • PS Plus: no early access 

PS Plus vs. Xbox Game Pass: price and tiers

With all of that out of the way, how do the prices stack up? 

Xbox makes it super simple – if you're looking to play online and want a library of games, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is the way to go. It lets you play Xbox games on console, PC, and mobile; gives you access to a huge library of games across four console generations; includes EA Play; and throws in Xbox Live Gold for just a little extra over the cost of the console and PC versions of Game Pass.

PS Plus's three tiers keep the existing membership intact, while offering two more options that incorporate PS Now's catalog of games to some degree. PS Essential is on par with Xbox Live Gold, while Extra and Premium split the additional bells and whistles between them. 

If you want to play anything beyond PS4 and PS5 games, you'll need the premium tier to access the 'classic' games library. Cloud streaming and time-limited game trials are also Premium perks.   

As we're focusing on the two consoles, we'll ignore Xbox Game Pass for PC for the price comparisons. 

Xbox Live Gold vs PS Plus Essential

  • Xbox Live Gold price:
    • $9.99 monthly / $24.99 quarterly / $39.99 six months
    • £6.99 monthly / £17.99 quarterly / no six month option
    • AU$10.95 monthly / AU$29.95 quarterly / no six month option
  • Xbox Live Gold benefits:
    • Online multiplayer access
    • Exclusive discounts
    • Two monthly downloadable games
    • (Cloud storage available with no membership required)
  • PS Plus Essential price:
    • $9.99 monthly / $24.99 quarterly / $59.99 yearly
    • £6.99 monthly / £19.99 quarterly / £49.99 yearly
    • AU$11.95 monthly / AU$33.95 quarterly / AU$79.95 yearly
  • PS Plus Essential benefits:
    • Online multiplayer access
    • Exclusive discounts
    • Two monthly downloadable games
    • Cloud storage for saved games

Xbox Game Pass for console vs. PS Plus Extra

  • Xbox Game Pass for console price:
    • $9.99 / £7.99 / AU$10.95 per month
  • Xbox Game Pass for console benefits:
    • Library of 454 games across four console generations
    • New games added regularly 
    • Play Xbox Game Studios titles the same day as release
    • Exclusive discounts and deals
    • No Xbox Live Gold perks included 
  • PS Plus Extra price:
    • $14.99 monthly / $39.99 quarterly / $99.99 yearly
    • £10.99 monthly / £31.99 quarterly / £83.99 yearly 
  • PS Plus Extra benefits:
    • All PS Plus perks
    • Library of up to 400 PS4 and PS5 games to download and play

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate vs. PS Plus Premium

  • Xbox Game Pass Ultimate price:
    • $14.99 / £10.99 / AU$15.95 per month
  • Xbox Game Pass Ultimate benefits:
    • Library of 454 games across four console generations
    • Play on console, PC and mobile devices
    • Play Xbox Game Studios titles the day they release
    • Exclusive discounts and deals
    • Cloud streaming 
    • Free in-game content 
    • Xbox Live Gold included
    • EA Play included (early access)
  • PS Plus Premium price:
    • $17.99 monthly / $49.99 quarterly / $119.99 yearly
    • £13.49 monthly / £39.99 quarterly / £99.99 yearly 
  • PS Plus Premium benefits:
    • Includes all perks from PS Plus Essential and PS Plus Extra tiers
    • Cloud streaming access for original PS1, PS2, PSP and PS4 games using PS4 and PS5 consoles, and PC (available only in the regions where PlayStation Now is currently available). 
    • Time-limited game trials
    • Additional 340 games from the PS1, PS2, PS3, and PSP generations (PS3 games only available for cloud streaming)

PS Plus vs. Xbox Game Pass winner

If you don't care about being able to dip into a huge catalog of games on a whim, then you're better off sticking with Xbox Live Gold or PS Plus Essential. They're around the same price, and include the same benefits. Xbox doesn't charge for cloud storage but this is included in PlayStation's service. 

Xbox Game Pass for console doesn't include any of Xbox Live Gold's perks so you'll need to buy that separately for online play. But at the point you might as well just upgrade to Game Pass Ultimate. The games catalog is sitting at 454 right now, and members get to play select new releases on day one, as well as enjoy exclusive discounts. If you intend to stay offline, Game Pass for console is for you.

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is for players who want a library of games and will fully take advantage of online play and cloud gaming. Plus there's the added benefit of being able to play your games across platforms. With EA Play thrown in, adding early access, it's worth opting for this over the other two options for most people. 

Skipping over to PlayStation, if you're happy with your current PS Plus membership, PS Plus Essential is all you need. 

If you're looking to get access to a 400-strong library of PS4 games on top of that, then PS Plus Extra tacks that on for you.

But if you really want to get stuck into previous generation titles, with a catalog of over 700 games, as well as cloud streaming, and try-before-you-buy trials, you should hop straight over to Premium. 

PlayStation's library of games has Xbox beat, but Xbox has extra perks like playing new games on day one, and early access with EA Play that pips PlayStation to the post. 

In my opinion, those extra perks make it more appealing over a massive well of games that I'll never have time to get to. But the nice thing about all of the PS Plus tiers is that they include online play. While Xbox Game Pass for console doesn't so you need Xbox Live Gold, or an upgrade to Game Pass Ultimate.

Which service is best suited to you depends on what and how you play. Hopefully this deep dive has given you enough info to come away with an idea of which service is best suited for you.    

Shabana Arif
News Editor, TechRadar Gaming

Shabana has been writing about games for almost a decade now, as well as covering tech, politics, food, and other random tidbits at Gizmodo UK. She's stepped outside of news every now and then to write game guides, and always appreciates a DM if she's helped get you out of a pickle. During her time freelancing, you may have spotted her words at VG24/7, GamesRadar, and IGN. She's also held the position of news editor at Gizmodo UK, T3, and The Sun Online.