So the news is official: Sony’s long-rumoured Xbox Game Pass competitor, previously codenamed “Spartacus,” was revealed earlier today. You can read more about that here. Alongside the announcement, PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan decided it was finally time to explain exactly why the company’s biggest first-party games won’t hit the service the same day they launch.
In a GamesIndustry.Biz interview, Ryan talked about the “good virtuous cycle” PlayStation is in right now. According to Ryan, this cycle consists of Sony’s investment in its first-party studios producing success, which then enables more investment, which in turn fuels more success. It’s this “virtuous cycle” PlayStation shouldn’t break, Ryan said. And what Ryan believes would break it is putting first-party games, like God of War Ragnarok, on the service day one.
“[In terms of] putting our own games into this service, or any of our services, upon their release…as you well know, this is not a road that we’ve gone down in the past,” Ryan said. “And it’s not a road that we’re going to go down with this new service. We feel if we were to do that with the games that we make at PlayStation Studios, that virtuous cycle will be broken. The level of investment that we need to make in our studios would not be possible, and we think the knock-on effect on the quality of the games that we make would not be something that gamers want.”
Ryan said things could change, noting it wasn’t that long ago when PlayStation started porting games such as Days Gone and Horizon Zero Dawn to PC. “I look back four years and think nobody would have seen that coming.”
“So I don’t want to cast anything in stone at this stage,” Ryan said. “All I’m talking to today is the approach we’re taking in the short term. The way our publishing model works right now, [putting new games directly onto the new PS Plus] doesn’t make any sense. But things can change very quickly in this industry, as we all know.”
PlayStation’s position on adding first-party games to its newly overhauled subscription service is an obviously stark contrast to what Microsoft’s done with Xbox Game Pass. You could even argue that the biggest value proposition for Microsoft’s service is that you can play the biggest Xbox Game Studios-branded games, including Halo Infinite and Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2, on launch day for just $US10 ($14) a month for the regular PC or Xbox Game Pass tiers or $US15 ($21) a month for the premium Game Pass Ultimate membership.
By comparison, the highest cost for PS Plus starting this June will be $US18 ($25) a month, though in the interview, Ryan notes that over two-thirds of current PlayStation Plus subscribers pay annually. The yearly rate for this highest tier is $US120 ($167). For that, you get what PlayStation has dubbed the Premium tier, which gives you access to a variety of as yet unspecified PS1, PS2, PS3, and PSP games. Most of these titles will be available to either download or stream, though the PS3 games will be streaming-only.
Kotaku has reached out to PlayStation for comment.