PlayStation Now Won't Copy Xbox Game Pass's Best Feature

Sony exclusives won't launch on PlayStation Now on the day of release.

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Sony isn't planning on imitating Microsoft's Xbox Game Pass strategy with its PlayStation Now subscription service, so don't expect to be able to play The Last of Us Part 2 when it launches on May 29, 2020 without buying your own copy first.

Game Pass subscribers receive access to big first-party titles like Gears 5 and the upcoming Halo Infinite on the day of release, but Sony exclusives will take much longer to appear on PlayStation Now. That's according to Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan, who spoke to GamesIndustry.biz about PlayStation's different approach to first-party games.

"It's an area that is fast changing and fluid," he said. "The nature and scale of some of the first-party games that we are making leads us to think that, right now, it's better to spend energy on making sure that the launch of those games is a massive entertainment event. I would cite God of War and Spider-Man, and The Last of Us 2 next year will fall into that category. That's where we stand right now.

"But our stance on the inclusion of first-party games in PlayStation Now in terms of what we've done this month is very different to our stance 12 months ago." This is evidenced by the fact Sony recently slashed the price of PlayStation Now to better compete with rival streaming services. It also started adding "blockbuster" games to the service for a limited time, including the likes of God of War, Grand Theft Auto V, Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, and inFamous Second Son.

"I don't want to say this is what PlayStation Now is going to be like forever. But certainly right now, given how some of our first party IP is incredibly special and valuable, we just want to treat them with amazing care and respect, and have those launches be clean and pure."

Aside from conjuring images of Frank Reynolds, it's a stance that makes sense from Sony's perspective when you consider how well its first-party titles often perform. It's a win-win when you factor in PlayStation Now's growing popularity amongst those willing to wait, as the service has seen a 40% increase in paying members between April and October 2019--where it reached one million subscribers. This month also sees Persona 5, Middle-Earth: Shadow of War, and Hollow Knight join the lineup for a limited time, so there's no shortage of games to get stuck into.

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