Report: Sony to launch PS5 subscription service next year

Mike Wheatley

Sony is said to be working on a full-fledged rival to Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass. Dubbed “Spartacus”, the new service will replace the company’s existing Playstation subscription service.


Sources “familiar with Sony’s plans” reportedly told Bloomberg the new service will offer three subscription tiers. There will be an entry-level tier that offers what is more or less the existing PlayStation Now service, with a couple of games to download every month. There will also be a mid-range tier that provides access to a “large catalogue” of PS4 and PS5 games, and a top tier that also adds PS1, PS2, PS3 and PSP titles into the mix, as well as game streaming and demos of new titles.

The existing PlayStation Now service will be phased out once Spartacus is launched, Bloomberg said. Note that Spartacus is just a code-name at this stage – the final service could well be called something different.

Bloomberg said the new service could launch in early 2022 and will most likely resemble Micrsoft’s Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, which bundles Xbox Live Gold, Xbox Cloud Gaming and an ever-expanding library of Xbox games priced at £10.99 a month.

Sony hasn’t confirmed its plans for Spartacus, let alone prices, but for reference PlayStation Now is priced at £8.99 ($9.99) a month or £49.99 ($59.99) a year.

The launch of Spartacus, or whatever Sony ultimately decides to call it, could help the company attain parity with Microsoft when it comes to subscriptions. While the Sony PS5 is believed to have outsold the Xbox Series X by around 4.8 million units since the products were launched in late 2020, Sony trails in subscription gaming. That’s partly because Sony has never given PlayStation Now the same level of attention that Microsoft has given to Xbox Game Pass. So hopefully the launch of Spartacus will change that.

Many questions remain though. For one thing, we’re not sure when it will launch or how much it will cost. And will it provide access to major new games releases, such as the upcoming Horizon Forbidden West, from day one or will there be a waiting period?

Fingers crossed, Sony will soon make an announcement that answers these questions.