Sony is reportedly working on a new PlayStation subscription service to rival Microsoft's Xbox Game Pass, which will bundle together the existing PlayStation Now and PlayStation Plus as part of a multi-tier membership approach.
The news comes via Bloomberg's Jason Schreier, who reports the project - code-named Spartacus and expected to launch in spring 2022 - will provide subscribers with access to a range of both modern and classic for a monthly fee.
Citing sources familiar with the project, as well as documents it has reviewed directly, Bloomberg says the launch of the service will see Sony's two existing PlayStation subscription offerings - PlayStation Now and PlayStation Plus - merged into a single package, with Sony retaining the PlayStation Plus branding while phasing out PlayStation Now.
Currently, Plus is required to play the majority of online games on PlayStation, and provides subscribers with a small collection of games each month, while Now enables members to stream and download both recent and older titles in the PlayStation catalogue.
Although details are reportedly still to be finalised, Bloomberg says Sony plans to offer three subscription tiers for its new service. The first would be functionally identical to the existing PlayStation Plus offering, while the second would give subscribers access to a large catalogue of PlayStation 4 and, eventually, PlayStation 5 games. However, PlayStation Now's streaming functionality is planned to be reserved for a third subscription tier, which will also offer extended demos and a library of classic PS1, PS2, PS3, and PSP games.
Microsoft's own offering, Game Pass - which is available on both Xbox and PC - has continued to grow since its launch in 2017, with the company reporting over 18 million subscribers in January this year. A second subscription tier, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, was launched last June, combining Game Pass' extensive all-inclusive library of titles with Xbox Game Pass Gold, required to play Xbox games online.
More recently, the company has expanded its Game Pass Ultimate offering - which costs £10.99 a month, compared to its £7.99 standard Game Pass tier - to include perks, access to EA Play, and streaming via Xbox Cloud Gaming. As such, Ultimate would be the closest equivalent to the third subscription tier Sony is reportedly currently considering.
If the spring 2022 launch for Sony's reported new PlayStation subscription service proves to be true, it likely won't be too long before the company makes it official. Until then, I've asked Sony for comment and will update the story if I hear more.
In the meantime, do check out Chris Tapsell's brilliant investigation into the future of subscription gaming, Is Xbox Game Pass too good to be true?