Sony’s as-of-yet unannounced plan to compete with Xbox Game Pass could be revealed as early as next week, according to a new report by Bloomberg. However, the subscription service code-named Spartacus is apparently unlikely to feature big first-party blockbusters like 2022’s God of War Ragnarök on launch day.
The rival Netflix-like service for games was originally revealed in an earlier Bloomberg report published last December. Spartacus would combine existing subscriptions for PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now into a new multi-tiered program. The different priced tiers would include things like video game streaming, demos, and access to a back catalogue of old PlayStation games.
Sony did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and has so far remained silent on the reported plans. In addition to Sony apparently preparing to officially reveal Spartacus any day now, Bloomberg also reports that the new subscription service is unlikely to match one of the biggest selling points of Microsoft’s Game Pass: access to big day-one exclusive games like Halo Infinite and Forza Horizon 5. “The new service is not expected to feature its biggest titles on the day they come out,” writes Bloomberg.
Launched in 2018, Game Pass recently hit 25 million subscribers. Starting at $US10 ($14) a month, monthly subscribers get access to a rotating catalogue of hundreds of big third-party blockbusters and indie games, as well as immediate access to every first-party Microsoft game when it comes out. Following an acquisition spree by the tech giant, the list of first-party games has continued to grow and now also includes heavy-hitters like Bethesda’s Starfield, due out in November.
Part of the reason Sony might not follow suit could be the fact that its big new games like The Last of Us Part II and Ghost of Tsushima have historically sold much better than Microsoft’s. Sony does offer some first-party hits on its current Game Pass competitor, PS Now, but they usually don’t become available until several years after release, and even then only for a short period.
In possible preparation for Spartacus’ rollout, PlayStation fans have noticed a number of weird coincidences rencelty, including new patent filings related to backwards compatibility, glitches with the PSN store, and PS Now subscription cards being removed from sale at gaming stores. One big hope among some of them is that Spartacus will include access to PS1 classics which have been unavailable on new hardware since the launch of the PS4. Sounds like we’ll find out soon enough.