Sony’s big PS Plus rework is here. It’s pretty cool. It also could do with a little work on some of its most hyped perks, like game demos and classic hits.
Announced back in March, PS Plus 2.0 (not an official name, but by far the simplest abbreviation) is a reworking of Sony’s disparate subscription services. It essentially combines PS Now game streaming with a range of PS Plus perks. While PS Plus 2.0 has been available in various markets for a few weeks now, it was unveiled in the US yesterday.
The pricing model is unnecessarily confusing
Prior to the release of PS Plus 2.0, observers noted the tiered pricing model as more complex than it needed to be. Short version: For $10 a month, you get PS Plus Essential – more or less the same as PS Plus two days ago, and for the same price. $15 gives you access to PS Plus Extra, which includes a Netflix-style on-demand game library with hundreds of titles for PS4 and PS5. And for $18 a month, you get PS Plus Premium, which adds the ability to stream games and check out time-limited game demos, as well as access to a host of classic games from previous generations. (Here is a summary of exactly what you get with each level.)
Now that PS Plus 2.0 is here…yes, still confusing! Sony says it has offered pro-rata pricing to upgrade to higher tiers for people with an existing PS Plus membership. You can update directly from the PS Plus control panel on PS5; in fact, this is the very first button.
I decided to upgrade to PS Plus Premium as it’s a level with all the good stuff. (In the upgrade menu, you can press the square button to display a handy list of comparisons and comparisons between your tier and the tier you’re considering.) A popup informed me that a comically specific $19.23 payment would cover the upgrade to Premium on the remaining four months of my plan. Like, this is a “one-time amount”, but you know how it happens. We’ve all been burned by the fine print about recurring payments. I think I’ll know for sure from next month’s credit card statement. Wish me luck!
Strangely, after the update, the PS Plus app crashed. I had to reset my PS5 to get it working again.
Trial games leave a lot to be desired
One of the main advantages of PS Plus Premium is the ability to test recently released big-budget games. The list of launch day demos includes only two games from third-party developers, one of which is a remastered set of two games that are otherwise fully available as part of the PS Plus Extra game library. Here is the full list of game demos currently available:
- Forbidden Horizon West
- Tiny Tina’s Wonderland
- VVE 2K22 (PS5 only)
- Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves (PS5 only)
- Hot wheels on the loose (PS5 only)
- lego city undercover
- Farm Simulator 22
- Moto Grand Prix 22
- Cruel king and great hero
- Eleks II
- Crusader Kings III (PS5 only)
- SpellForce III reinforced (PS5 only)
- World of Ollyolly
Forbidden Horizon West as well as Cyberpunk 2077 offer a five-hour trial. Other games can be played from one to three hours. (Let’s hear the world’s loudest “lol” three hours after Crusader Kings III enough time to understand what is at stake.) Sony previously stated that more demos will become available over time. The April report suggests Sony begins to oblige developers to create trial versions of games that last at least two hours, but only if their game costs more than $34.
Offers for backward compatibility are small
Another major benefit of the PS Plus Premium tier is access to games from older PlayStation consoles. While there are over 300 PlayStation 3 games available for streaming, here’s the thing: they Only available for streaming. (Sony recommends a minimum connection of 5 Mbps. You can also download as well as stream “hundreds” of PlayStation games of all generations, including PS4 and PS5.) Maximum resolution is 720p, according to Ars Techniquetesting, though Sony says it can go up to 1080p, depending on your connection. And that’s not to mention latency, however slight, that hinders game streaming. Too bad the rich PS3 catalog can’t be downloaded.
Sony hasn’t made it easy to find the full list of PS3 games either. If you click on “classic games” under the “research” submenu, you’ll be taken to the full list of games from the combined PlayStation, PlayStation 2, and PlayStation Portable catalog, which we’ll get to in a second. But if you scroll down to “All New PlayStation Plus Benefits” and click on the “Catalogue of Classics” banner, you’ll be taken to a second splash screen. PS3 games are listed on the second line. Scrolling all the way to the right will take you to the “show all games” option.
I suppose you can also search for the exact game you want to play if you know it’s part of the game library. And once you stream a game, it will show up on your home screen as one of the last games you played. PS5 currently limits this list to 10 icons.
Classic non-PS3 offerings cost pennies so far. By my count, there are 38 games for all three platforms (PS, PS2 and PSP). At the moment, even using the filtering options (that little checkbox on the left side of the screen), there is no way to filter by platform. For all intents and purposes, PS Plus 2.0 treats PS, PS2, and PSP games as undifferentiated “classics,” just like you or I would look at 80º F, 85º F, and 90º F and say, “Ah, shorts.” weather.”
(on the bright side, recently the word what Sony fixed main presentation error this is done in PS1 games during the rollout of the new service in other regions. All games should now run at their intended speed and frame rate.)
It’s unclear if Sony plans to expand on classic offerings or make PS3 games downloadable. Sony representatives did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.
But there is huge potential here.
Sony’s portfolio is certainly a huge boon for PS Plus, and a large number of the company’s most popular games are indeed part of the gaming library. In terms of the sheer number of games you can play, the new on-demand games library (available on both PS Plus Extra and Premium) is impressive, bordering on mind-boggling.
It starts with the PS Plus collection of 20+ of the biggest PS4 games available for free to PS Plus members who own a PS5. This hasn’t gone away, despite concerns that it could happen before the release of PS Plus 2.0.
In May, Sony has unveiled a line of games Let’s move on to the library of games on demand PS Plus 2.0. Now that the library is actually missing, it’s clear that the full list is larger than expected.
The inclusion of a significant portion of the Ubisoft portfolio, including Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, definitely reinforces it. PS5 exclusives such as Demon Souls as well as Return also exist and are (correctly) listed under the “must play” banner. At first glance, there is no shortage of indie hits: psychologically exciting Observationfunny maddening death squaredexciting plot Virginiadelightfully minimalist Thomas was alone. Sony previously said Final Fantasy XV will be available and it’s part of the lineup, but it turns out the service also has a ton of other entries from Square Enix’s seminal RPG series, including the iconic VII as well as X. Also of note: Many of these games were previously listed on Microsoft’s competing Xbox Game Pass service.Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD literally simply on the left – so I have to imagine observers making a sharper comparison between the offerings of the two services in the coming weeks.
While PS Plus 2.0 has its flaws, it has solid potential. But this is only the beginning. I look forward to seeing how it changes in the coming weeks and months.