Sony’s answer to Xbox Game Pass is reportedly a subscription service codenamed “Spartacus,” which will offer access to a catalogue of new and retro games on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5, per Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier. Sources familiar with the matter say that the monthly subscription fee-based service is expected to arrive in spring and will merge the existing PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now services. It seems the PlayStation Plus branding will remain when Spartacus is revealed, whenever that may be.
Spartacus is tentatively planned to offer a three-tier model for players. Tier one would give players their existing PlayStation Plus benefits, likely including offerings like access to online multiplayer and the occasional bonus sale. Tier two would provide access to a large number of PlayStation 4 games and, over time, PlayStation 5 games. Tier three would provide access to PS1, PS2, PS3, and even PSP games, plus extended demos and game streaming. Which PlayStation titles would be available is unclear, but if Spartacus is anything like Xbox Game Pass, we would likely see the list of titles grow over time.
Microsoft has continued to flesh out Xbox Game Pass for the last few years, turning it from a standard games service with a few so-so titles into a juggernaut with more than one hundred titles accessible through Xbox One, Xbox Series X | S, PC, and even cloud streaming technology. In addition to classic titles, Xbox Game Pass boasts the occasional day-one release, including of all first-party releases, with this month’s highly anticipated Halo Infinite and last month’s Forza Horizon 5 being two titles launching on the service. However, players probably shouldn’t expect PlayStation to follow that Game Pass precedent of offering day-one first-party releases with Spartacus.
Sony is reportedly doubling down on the streaming technology we’ve seen in PlayStation Now for Spartacus. Whether that means we’ll be playing God of War on our phones isn’t clear, but what is certain is PlayStation’s desire to compete with Xbox Game Pass.