This new model of Sony’s subscription service will now include three tiers, and PS Now will be absorbed into this new service, with a library of games available at both the second and third tier, the third including retro titles as well.
Last month, I talked about Project Spartacus before we knew anything concrete about it. I talked about how it could be an incredible service, with a complete library of classic PS games, all available to download or stream, whichever you choose.
After pouring through the news, I find myself more let down by Sony’s strategy than ever. It’s called PlayStation Plus Premium, but is it really premium?
So far, it doesn’t look like it.
PlayStation Plus Premium…Is It? – Opinion
Just Throw It All Together And Move On
If you missed the announcement of this new subscription, you can go check out our breakdown of it here, outlining the three tiers and their pricing.
Many fans, myself included, had thought and hoped Sony would have gone through more of an effort in remodeling the subscription service which players have been using for years now.
The PS4 console base alone is massive, and the PS5’s only grows each day. There are still millions of users who don’t subscribe to PS Plus, so one would imagine getting them on board would be a priority, by perhaps trying something new.
That’s not what we got with this new PlayStation Plus.
PlayStation Plus Essential as the first tier is what I was expecting to get, just the same thing we have now for the same price. The Extra tier has the potential to be quite appealing, but the Premium tier is ultimately disappointing.
This new model necessitates the absorbing of PS Now into PS Plus, and in that, all Sony has decided to do is break it up, and make players pay for the pieces differently.
Just throwing it all together, in a new order and pay scheme, doesn’t really make anything “all-new”.
It also can’t help but feel like Sony wants us to forget about PS Now, and all its shortcomings and issues, and just subscribe to the Premium tier under this ‘new model’ as if the service, or any part of it might improve.
Premium Price, Not So Premium Anything Else
To be clear, Sony hasn’t raised their prices with this new Premium tier. It’s the same price as if you already paid for both PS Plus and PS Now for one year.
But you aren’t really getting all of that.
None of the PS3 games will be downloadable, for one. They will remain as streaming only, as Sony seems insistent on leaving that PS3 generation behind.
It’s also worth noting that if we examine the current retro library of PS Now, to say that it is lacking would be an understatement.
If the library of games available for retro platforms is not seriously updated, then that will be a staggering disappointment.
The fact that it has remained as poor as it is now is still upsetting, especially considering that paying the price of a Premium subscription seems to mean you really want to play classic titles.
It would be unfair of me not to say that we don’t wholly know what games will be available in the catalogs for the second and third tier, and there are now two new console generations with the PSP and PS1.
Knowledge of what games actually come in those libraries, and if they are really all downloadable, save PS3 of course, could potentially change things.
But you still can’t download every PS2 game currently available on PS Now. If it’s already the case now, it’s likely going to be the case in this new model.
Streaming on a whole is still too unreliable for a great gameplay experience. PlayStation Now’s streaming capabilities have never been up to par, making it difficult to even have a good gameplay experience.
Playing something over streaming versus playing something natively on your console is the difference between having an, at best, okay gameplay experience, or a great one.
Not having every title, including PS3 games, available to download in 2022 is almost disgraceful, when it is entirely possible to have emulators for each generation running on PS5 hardware.
There’s No Reason To Be Hopeful
What I find most disappointing though, is that it seems clear Sony has no intention of preserving their history.
Putting the majority of what’ll be considered the retro library as streaming only is almost the first nail in the coffin, as the PS3 generation could very likely just be pulled off servers one day.
Once that’s done, there will be no easy way to play hundreds of games, and a huge chunk of the platform’s history will be gone from public access in the blink of an eye.
Tracking down a PS3 and games to play on it, especially if you’re looking for something not still on the PS3 digital store, gets more difficult each day.
As gaming grows across the world, it’s cultural importance and effect will only grow with it. For one of it’s major players to be dismissive about it’s own part in gaming’s history is just saddening.
Nothing about PlayStation’s actions show that we have a reason to hope they’ll put the effort into actually making all retro titles available to download, as they already should have.
All Sony sees is the financial cost of what that would take, which it concludes to be not worth it. Sony is a business after all, and decisions are almost always made around the idea of making more money, not less.
I get all that. But that won’t change the fact that the Premium tier will remain an overpriced and incomplete service if Sony doesn’t change anything.
And I’m betting they won’t change anything.