Sony Teases A PlayStation Response To Xbox Game Pass

PlayStation has already been trying to compete with Microsoft's popular gaming subscription service, and Sony CEO Jim Ryan hints that more is in store.

240 Comments

Xbox Game Pass is likely the most popular gaming subscription service right now, and all eyes are now on Sony's response to it. In a TASS interview, when asked directly on what Sony might have planned in order to compete with Xbox Game Pass, Sony Interactive CEO Jim Ryan stated that there is "news to come."

Ryan also pointed out that PlayStation does offer a competitor to Xbox Game Pass already. "We have PlayStation Now...and that is available in a number of markets," he stated.

PlayStation Now is primarily meant for streaming. However, certain games are available for download. Xbox Game Pass games can be played locally or, if on an Android device, via streaming. PlayStation Now's market is also limited compared to Game Pass, with the service only being available in North America, Europe, and Japan.

In the past few years, Sony has already been steadily trying to compete with Xbox Game Pass. In 2019, it cut the monthly price of PlayStation Now from $20 to $10, seemingly in an effort to match Xbox's Game Pass monthly base price of $10. In 2020, Sony announced PlayStation Plus Collection, a service that gives PS Plus subscribers a selection of big PS4 titles. In a Gamesindustry.biz interview, Ryan stated, "The great first-party IPs are all there, the great partner titles, and we'd say that if you are new to PlayStation, or if you didn't have a PS4 but are getting a PS5, and you're taking out a PS Plus subscription, you're basically getting PS4 there for the price of the subscription."

Ryan also emphasized that the company will not be emulating certain parts of Xbox Game Pass' strategy. In particular, Ryan disagrees with Microsoft's tactic of releasing new games as soon as they come out on the subscription service. "We are not going to go down the road of putting new releases titles into a subscription model. These games cost many millions of dollars, well over $100 million, to develop. We just don't see that as sustainable," he commented.

It's no secret that the Xbox Game Pass is a big appeal for consumers looking to make a decision between the PlayStation or Xbox console. At $10 a month, players can access over 200 games. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate tier also incorporated EA Play titles recently, adding a bigger slate of games to the subscription service. Ultimate includes Xbox Live Gold, as well. Subscribers essentially never have to buy a new Xbox Game Studios title again, as they are all released through the service the same day they launch traditionally. You can check out our breakdown of Xbox's Game Pass for more information.

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jgr9

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Wow, I was going to say this article was Nothing, but then it was worse than nothing:

'Ryan disagrees with Microsoft's tactic of releasing new games as soon as they come out on the subscription service. "We are not going to go down the road of putting new releases titles into a subscription model. These games cost many millions of dollars, well over $100 million, to develop. We just don't see that as sustainable," he commented.'

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NBKNAS

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I agree with Sony with the concept of releasing new games on game pass. while on paper it sounds like a good idea.. the problem is that it would push microsoft to cut corners to meet deadlines and have quantity over quantity.. they would rather have 100 new mediocre games on game pass than 10 amazing games.. and we saw it with games like Sea of Thieves and State of Decay that came out flawed and with so many problems and it took years to get better.. I rather sony focus on releasing games like god of war, uncharted and demons souls remake than a ton of mediocre games.

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Crazy_sahara

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If Xbox didn't have game pass, both consoles would be dead papper weights, as of right now only cyberpunk 2077 makes those systems feel next gen and relevant, if cyberpunk didn't release this year, or game pass wasn't even thinkable then we have reached the limit to bores law.

But gamepass exists.

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bookfan8780

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Doesn't really seem like they were "teasing" anything. I hope that PS NOW expands to be something you can stream on Android/browsers/PC more than it is now. Right now it's a select few games and requires a PS4 controller on PC (to work well). Just having the ability to even buy PS5 games and stream them on other platforms would be a game-changer for me. I would buy PS5 exclusives I wanted to play if I had the option of streaming them on PC or on an Android device.

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fursecu

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I like the Xbox PC Game Pass, played 7 or 8 games with 1 dollar. But can anyone explain me how Ubisoft+ is making money with their games? I can buy the pass for a 15$ / month and play AC Valhalla and Watch Dogs Legion and didn't have to pay the full price! Or even two months to enjoy them properly. How is this not a deal? How come they want to lose profit like this? Am I missing something?

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Fitzy_2812

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@fursecu: Ubisoft games are littered with microtransactions, the $8ish profit they make from actually selling a game pales in comparison to the extra players they entice into their ecosystem that simply need to purchase only 1 thing from the store to make up for not buying the game and most people buying into the microtransactions aren't going to stop at just 1 item.

Many people make the mistake of looking at the equation as $60 vs $15 and think that if they get away with only a single month subscription it seems like the developer isn't really making anything but when it comes down to it, the developer is lucky if they make 10-20% profit back from that $60 sale once all the overhead costs come out like production/shipping/retailer fees etc.

$15 a month on the other hand is almost entirely nothing but profit, and very little overhead costs depending on how many subscribers they have. Throw in the microtransactions which cost them next to nothing to make in most cases and you start to see how much better it actually adds up.

In short, in many cases a single month subscription tends to be more profitable than selling an entire game at full retail price and that's not even accounting for the people that will spend on microtransactions or stay subbed for many months.

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Fud_Sang

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Its always good when yet another media giant wakes up and says "how do we make more money?"

This was bound to happen sooner or later.

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CherrySoda

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But PS Now is full of old games...

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Streamlife

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Tsk i.use xbox game pass since fiesta day AND all games there aré crap just the Forza Horizons 4 AND one or two More aré playable the rest aré just crap Sony kick Microsoft with they titles also Microsoft aré perming put good games and nothing good Yet but hey!! Nos the game pass cost the double... Funny Microsoft

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METALION

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@streamlife: Can you even language?

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sladakrobot

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@streamlife: For some reason i doubt you know a thing about GP

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ConsoleHaven

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I've read the article a few times now, and the CEO is definitely not teasing more. He seems to be saying that what's available now IS Sony's response to Gamepass and the rest will be same old same old. I can see maybe a few extra titles land on the PS4 collection, but nothing seems to be in the works to match gamepass. That's fine by me, and I should revisit PS Now to see what's on there.

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jenovaschilld

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This console war is heating up nicely. Cmon Nintendo jump on in, the pool is crowded and full of sharks. The winner... gamers.

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sippio

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I love Sony but trusting them is like trusting a Cyberpunk release date.

~PSnow was a $hitshow and Sony ignored PS1 +PS2 library knowing a million gamers loved those games....

Many hands were forced to get a EA01 Backwards PS3(self included) but the headaches over HDMI & Power & shelf space is an issue in the cave...

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Revl8n

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Microsoft will likely not continue their policy in the long run. This is simply what Microsoft does if you know their history. Windows - Web Browsers - Office - etc. They will implement any practice to drive toward a market monopoly. Which is why the XBone launch was such a huge blunder - of course that is when Balmer was in charge...so... Sony's strategy is sound, just as Apple's strategy is sound. They offer a premium product/service and have all the customers they need. Game Pass will pose an ever increasing profit loss to MS as the number of 1st party studios grows. A subscription cost cover of one or two game releases a year is cash flow neutral (and no I don't have to work for MS - I simply have to do the math: $120 = $120), but will forfeit serious cash flow when delivering 5 releases. In any event, the competition is great for us... which means both companies need to remain successful.

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Pyrosa

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@Revl8n: Remind me what 25M * $10 to $15 / mo is again...

(CURRENT numbers, monthly...)

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BDRTFM

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@Revl8n: Microsoft didn't become a trillion dollar business with ever increasing profit losses. If they're doing it, its making money. If its not making money, they stop doing it.

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Tanzel

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@bdrtfm: they became a trillion dollar company by getting customers into an ecosystem and then keeping them there.

The sub model is the bait to get people in the door. The goal is to keep them when the bait runs out. That's when the money starts to flow.

The trillion dollar companies all have one thing in common. A virtual monopoly in their primary market. Microsoft is trying the same thing in gaming by creating an omnipresent ecosystem.

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BDRTFM

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Edited By BDRTFM

@tanzel: An omnipresent ecosystem. LOL. You mean like Xbox Live, PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now? People act as if they HAVE to buy Game Pass and that its ruined the gaming industry. Sony will do the same thing eventually. They have to or risk being left behind. It doesn't help that their new CEO is an idiot though, always twisting in the wind, changing his stance every other day.

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Tanzel

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@bdrtfm: no, I mean like Game Pass. It's design and purpose is to be used on as many different devices as Microsoft can get the service on. That's an omnipresent ecosystem.

Sony had Now before MS had GP. Microsoft jumped on board and upped the ante. Sony is either going to call their bluff and stand firm or adapt. I would guess that Sony will improve Now but not copy what they believe is an unsustainable business model.

Sony stands by their first party output and their quality and don't want to devalue their games by making them essentially free. MS won't keep the day and date release on GP forever.

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CyberEarth

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Edited By CyberEarth

@bdrtfm: And that's the worry when you examine MS tech that's been abandoned in their history. Poof! Everything you had, gone!

Even with Gamepass right now, there's a major issue that occurs when a game gets delisted. Half way through? Oh, too bad!

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BDRTFM

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Edited By BDRTFM

@CyberEarth: Every subscription service has stuff that is limited. Do you really expect them to keep every single game that goes on Game Pass on it for eternity? Name one subscription model that does that. Every company also abandons products and services that don't make money. Even Sony. Don't act like Microsoft is unique in this.

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Tanzel

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@bdrtfm: pretty sure canceled Netflix originals are still on Netflix. Hulu does the same. You said name one. There's two.

You really need to take your own advice and be a little more objective.

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Fitzy_2812

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@tanzel: The more appropriate comparison would be comparing third party titles on Netflix. When Netflix loses the distribution rights to another company or they expire, that content is absolutely removed from the service like with all the recent Disney/Marvel/Fox stuff.

A Netflix original is usually owned by Netflix and thus doesn't need to be removed when cancelled which is exactly how Microsoft's first party titles are, they don't leave the platform either because Microsoft owns them.

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BDRTFM

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Edited By BDRTFM

@tanzel: I meant gaming subscriptions, not Netflix. And Microsoft's 1st party games will likely always be on there just like Netflix originals. The ones that matter anyway. Every Gears, Every HALO, Crackdown, Rare Replay, Fable, Killer Instinct, Ori. Minecraft, Minecraft Dungeons, Quantum Break, Recore, Sea of Thieves etc. have been there since day one. You can't expect IP's they don't own to remain on there forever.

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CyberEarth

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@bdrtfm: Do you really expect them to keep every single game that goes on Game Pass on it for eternity? Name one subscription model that does that.

Sure, I'll take your bait. Amazon/Twitch Prime. I can freely download anything I have access to offline, and use/play it even if I'm no longer a Prime subscriber. In fact, I just booted up and played Metal Slug 3 today, which I got absolutely free for Prime. My Prime sub expired last month.

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BDRTFM

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@CyberEarth: I didn't realize they had enough games to be able to afford to remove any.

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CyberEarth

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@bdrtfm: You said name one, I did. Now you want to move the goalpost. They've had several games come and leave the platform, and I can still boot them up, even as a non-subscriber.

In fact, Metal Slug leaves in March, I think. Yeah, it's a few months off, but I'm willing to bet I can still play it after it leaves. If they get in more games I want, I'll sub again for another year.

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Pyrosa

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@CyberEarth: So it sounds like AmaTwitch Prime uses the Xbox Live Gold model (about 3 per month for Gold), where some number of monthly titles are permanently licensed to your account when you click the entitlement. I keep seeing these notifications ticking up in the Twitch client...

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BDRTFM

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Edited By BDRTFM

@CyberEarth: I never moved any goal posts. I said name one and you did. I just didn't think they have all that many games to begin with so figured they'd keep what they have on there. You're literally the only person I've ever heard that's used it so I know nothing about it. Doesn't really make much sense that if it leaves you can still play it. That would imply it didn't leave. But like I said, I've no idea because I've never met anyone who uses it. Just seems odd that if a game is no longer there yet you can still play it - and without a subscription no less. Can't make a whole lot of money and its sounds pretty wacky if games are there but not there but playable and its a subscription based service where you can play games without a subscription. That still doesn't mean the games will always be there. It would be odd for them to have a contract with the IP owners to use the IP forever. Unless the IP owners get royalties for every person who plays it as well as money up front.

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Wahsobe

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@Revl8n: Microsoft is asking everyone to pay for a gym membership knowing that even those that do go regularly will still only use a few pieces of the equipment. It's a lucrative business practise.

This also jives with the business model of in game currency much like a free to play but with money at both ends. Let's also not forget that a bigger user base allows them a larger potential sales for DLC if they so choose.

Microsoft's goal is in the hundreds of millions (or billion if you shoot for the stars) and they are well on their way. They've already talked about how this business model has picked up in areas where the console hasn't typically done well.

If even 10% of Sony exclusive players picked up game pass that would be a substantial amount of previously untapped market that Microsoft didn't have, and that's on top of mobile market that Microsoft has never previously touched.

Last but not least, with such a large userbase Microsoft can start saving money by cutting a huge chunk of the budget for advertising multiple IP's and focus on selling Game Pass. The majority of marketing for the games can be done from within Microsoft's ecosystem which costs them nothing. This is a huge win since the marketing budgets for a lot of these games is often near or equal to their production budget.

This is just one mans outside view of what Microsoft is doing, you can bet on the inside they've thought about every avenue of potential cost savings and profit.

PS. I'm not arguing that prices won't go up, that is the nature of everything in the consumer world.

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sippio

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@Revl8n: COMPETITION = Happy fans..

Look what happened to Madden when EA bought Exclusivity.

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johnny0779

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Edited By johnny0779

Sony can't afford to have their 1st party games on day 1 indefinitely the way Microsoft does.... financially Sony would go bankrupt.

The best Sony could do is raise the PSNow price subscriptions by 50% and release the games on it 30 days after release and for a limited time...... WHICH IT WOULD BE A HALF-ASSED ATTEMPTED AT GAMEPASS.

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LiveDreamPlay

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Edited By LiveDreamPlay

@johnny0779: You do know Playstation makes roughly double the revenue that Xbox makes, right? One's around 20 billion yearly, while the other's around 10 billion yearly.

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02050muh

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@johnny0779: guys! we have a sony's representative here! pls take note about this leak guys!

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johnny0779

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@02050muh: Sadly for Sony we don't need to be a "Sony Insider" to know the reality of their spending capabilities.

Ha ha ha

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banana23man

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Sony has 3 generations of fantastic games (PS1-PS3) at their disposal. If they can bring all of that onto a platform like Gamepass, it would be a killer move. I own all Sony consoles since the PS2 and I still play PS1 and PS2 games on my PC. I would gladly subscribe to a platform that brings together all of the games of those consoles.

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Alphazonex

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@banana23man:

If it had the Armored core series, I'd get it.

I miss Armored Core so bad

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Crazy_sahara

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@alphazonex: You should try the father of mechs, mech warrior on pc, gamepass, cities can be wrecked, payloads can launch.

https://youtu.be/B6oWjctDxT0

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banana23man

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@alphazonex: Ah, man of culture! I've been searching "Armoured Core 6" every few weeks, just to see if there's any update. I'm also planning to try out Daemon X Machina when I have the time.

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Alphazonex

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@banana23man: I have Daemon x Machina.

Its the closest thing to Armored Core I've ever played. It doesn't have as much customization or parts. But its better than nothing

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Xenus13

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I was subbed to Xbox game pass on PC - terrible experience although I understand it possibly might still be in beta. Games wouldn’t launch and there were numerous issues with downloading titles and patches. Worst thing was when I was half way through a game and they removed it from Game Pass. I wouldn’t buy it through the Xbox app because it’s performance was so unreliable. I imagine it’s better on an Xbox but while I have a high spec PC I see little point in buying one.

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Pyrosa

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@xenus13: I've always had both, and yeah -- it's weird. They're trying to replicate the console store experience ("it just works") but it kind of turns it into a black-box instead. The PC client has gotten better throughout the year though. Weird having 5 stores, but there's more free every month than I'll ever be able to play.

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