Last December, reports began circulating that Sony was working on a new multi-tiered PlayStation Plus overhaul - codenamed Project Spartacus - to rival Microsoft's Xbox Game Pass. At the time, Sony was said to be aiming for a "spring" release, and a new report has suggested the service is now "pretty close to actually launching".
That's the word from VentureBeat's Jeff Grubb who, once again speaking in the latest episode of his Giantbomb show Grubbsnax (thanks VGC), also offered a little more insight into how the new three-tiered subscription service - which effectively merges Sony's existing PlayStation Now and PlayStation Plus offerings - will be structured.
Grubb claimed the new service (which Bloomberg previously reported would retain the PlayStation Plus branding while PlayStation Now is phased out), will call its three subscription tiers Essential, Extra, and Premium - said to $10 USD, $13, and $16 a month respectively.
As per Bloomberg's initial report on Spartacus, Grubb says the Essential tier will effectively be PlayStation Plus as it is today - that is, required to play online titles on PlayStation and providing a number of monthly games for subscribers to add to their libraries at no extra cost - while the Extra tier will also include a "downloadable game catalogue" featuring around 300 titles. "Anything on PSNow that was downloadable, seems like it would be in here", Grubb said.
The Premium tier, meanwhile, will reportedly give subscribers access to "classic games" and cloud streaming in addition to all the above, although Grubb admits, "I don't know what classic games means, but I do know that it's a major part of this premium tier." Bloomberg previously reported the premium tier would include access to PS1, PS2, PS3, and PSP games, alongside extended demos - something Grubb also reiterated.“Do you get full games? Not really, kinda... it's like EA Play," he said. "You get full game trials. I don't know if that's for every single game that comes out, but it seems like that.” Grubb also implied all PlayStation first-party titles could offer these trials as part of the premium tier.
Despite the increasing number of reports surrounding Project Spartacus, Sony is yet to make any such initiative official. According to Grubb, however, this may change very soon. "It's probably getting pretty close to this actually launching," he explained. "Something's probably going to happen by the end of this month and I don't think that necessarily means publicly, I think in terms of the internal milestone of where the service needs to be."