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prospect | PlayStation Plus will make an impressive debut with room for improvement

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On Monday, PlayStation announced the first batch of games available to subscribers of its upcoming revamped online service. While there’s plenty of room for improvement, it’s a promising start for the service.

PlayStation recently announced the merger of its monthly access to online multiplayer games with its cloud-based and subscription-based PlayStation Now service into a single PlayStation Plus service. For $18 a month or $120 off a year, the service’s highest tier gives subscribers access to free games, including PlayStation 4 and 5 titles, as well as classic games. This allows PlayStation to offer a few of its PlayStation 2 games with PlayStation 4 remasters, like Naughty Dog’s Jak and Daxter platform series.

The service, which has three tiers in total, begins a staggered regional rollout next week, arriving in North and South America on June 13. The lowest tier, PlayStation Plus Essential, will cost you $10 per month, or $60 per year, and gives you basic access to play titles online, cloud storage for saved games, and a small rotation downloadable games each month. The middle tier, PlayStation Plus Extra, costs $15 per month or $100 per year for the same benefits as the Essential tier plus access to Sony’s catalog of hundreds of downloadable PS4 and PS5 games. The aforementioned most expensive tier, PlayStation Plus Premium, includes all of the above plus a library of legacy titles from previous console generations and cloud streaming.

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Another surprising but welcome announcement was the ability to directly purchase some of the original PlayStation and PlayStation Portable games coming to PlayStation Plus. Previously it was unknown if any classic games would be available to non-subscribers through Sony’s online storefront, and now we know that access to some of these older games won’t be locked behind a paywall of subscription. Players who already own digital versions of some of these PlayStation 1 and PlayStation Portable games will not have to make a separate purchase or sign up for PlayStation Plus to play them on PS4 and PS5. That being said, anyone who is not subscribed to a PlayStation Plus service plan will not be able to access online features for most games.

Many legacy PlayStation titles are missing from that initial announcement, like the Sly Cooper series from Sucker Punch Productions. But PlayStation has promised that over 700 games will be available on the service. Monday’s announcement includes more than 100 games, with more promised as the service updates. It’s unclear if all 700 or so games will be available at the same time, as online subscription services are known to rotate content. But it’s still a promise of many more titles to come.

As a flex of its first-party offerings, however, the lineup is still beefed up. The entire Uncharted series will be available through the PlayStation 4 Legacy Collection, which includes quality remasters of the PlayStation 3 trilogy as well as PS4 games.

Bend Studio’s “Syphon Filter,” a military action game that was one of the first prototype third-person action shooters, makes a welcome return to the 21st century. “Jump Lightning!” is another offering – an original PlayStation launch title and one of the pioneers of 3D platforming alongside Nintendo’s most influential “Super Mario 64”. The game is also a known personal favorite of Sony PlayStation President Jim Ryan.

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Several PlayStation 3 classics will be available, but only via cloud streaming. Still, it’s nice to see the infamous superhero games on the list, along with “Ico,” another influential 3D platformer exclusive from Sony that later inspired “Elden Ring” director Hidetaka Miyazaki to pursue. a career in video game development.

The entire Ratchet and Clank “Future” trilogy finally escapes PlayStation 3 limbo, albeit, again, only via cloud streaming.

PS4 offerings are no slouch either, offering the PlayStation Vita portable system’s cult Gravity Rush series via its PS4 remasters. Both hit Spider-Man games will be available, along with the recent director’s cut of “Ghost of Tsushima,” which is still one of the best experiences on PS5.

Proprietary exclusives are also backed by generous help from third-party offerings, including several from publisher Ubisoft. This includes his recent monster hit “Assassin’s Creed Valhalla” as well as a remastered “Far Cry 3”. It’s complemented by one of the highest rated games of the last console generation: Rockstar’s cowboy western epic “Red Dead Redemption 2”.

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It continues to disappoint that Sony is unable to offer PlayStation 3 games for download. Yes, it’s very sad that the emotionally charged “Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII” remains trapped on the PlayStation Portable. And some of the older PlayStation Plus deals are expected and mundane. The classic fighting game “Tekken 2” is cool, but “Tekken 3” became the crown jewel of the 3D fighting experience on the first PlayStation, and it’s nowhere to be found (at least for now). But it’s also a surprise for longtime PlayStation fans to see former “Hot Shots Golf” on the list, a reminder that PlayStation exclusives have a long history of diverse experiences beyond big-ticket titles. budget, story-driven, that the company is known for. to produce today.

With over 100 games, this is a much larger offering than Xbox Game Pass when it debuted in 2017. Xbox Game Pass currently offers subscribers over 300 games to play. Much of the service’s value is maintained by Microsoft’s strong support for backward compatibility, even for its third-party titles.

As generous as Game Pass is, its offerings expose a longstanding and persistent problem for the Xbox brand: a relatively small list of exclusives throughout its history. Most of its exclusive offerings are only bolstered by the Halo, Gears of War, and Forza series. PlayStation, meanwhile, has From Software’s “Bloodborne” and “Demon’s Souls,” along with its entire Uncharted collection, Spider-Man games, possibly the best samurai game ever made in “Tsushima,” and several others.

All of this is a reminder that the PlayStation heritage is not to be taken lightly. If Sony is able to capitalize on its proud history, this revamped PlayStation Plus could turn out to be bigger than expected.

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