PlayStation’s subscription services have long lived in the shadow of what Xbox has to offer. Game Pass has become a behemoth for Microsoft, amassing over 25 million subscribers. PlayStation Now, on the other hand, never really took off as Sony had hoped.
Now that the company has merged PlayStation Now and PlayStation Plus, completely revamping PS Plus into three distinct tiers, there’s a lot more value in a subscription. But whether or not players should stick with PS Plus Extra or upgrade to Premium isn’t so straightforward.
The All-New PlayStation Plus
For those unaware, PlayStation Plus is now split into three distinct tiers: PlayStation Plus Essential, Extra, and Premium. Each tier offers more benefits than the last, with Essential effectively offering the same core benefits PS Plus members used to get before the revamp.
PlayStation Plus Essential: Priced at $10 per month, $25 per term, or $60 per year. Offers exclusive discounts, a few free games each month, cloud storage, game support, share play, and online multiplayer.
Additional PlayStation Plus: Priced at $15 per month, $40 per term, or $100 per year. Offers an additional catalog of 400 downloadable PS4 and PS5 games on demand.
PlayStation Plus Premium: Priced at $18 per month, $50 per term, or $120 per year. Includes all the benefits of the Essential and Extra versions, plus 340 other games that can be downloaded or streamed, including classic titles from PS3, PS2 and the original PlayStation. Time-limited game trials are also only available to Premium subscribers.
Experience needs a little work
Anyone who previously had a PlayStation Now subscription or separately upgraded to PlayStation Plus Premium will notice that the PlayStation Plus page on the PS5 home screen has been revamped. There are immediately sections for its Games Catalog, Classic Games, Game Trials, Cloud Streaming, and Monthly Games, with the aim of making it easy to access the exact type of content you’re looking for. However, it’s not always intuitive what you’ll be greeted with when you select them.
Exploring classic games at the top brings me to a list of over 30 PSP, PlayStation, and PS2 games, with no way to search the full list or find PS3 games in this menu. Back on the PS Plus Premium homepage, I have to scroll down to another menu in the Classics catalog where it’s listed as a benefit of a Premium membership.
Selecting that brings up another page where I can apparently see all the games, or scroll down and select from PSP, PlayStation, PS2, or PS3. Oddly enough, when I selected the top option to show games, it only opened a list of PS3 games.
To find the full list of each one, you’ll need to go to the Collections section of PS Plus Premium and scroll down until you find the properly divided Classics catalog.
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The Collections page is also where you’ll see PlayStation Plus Premium’s long list of games broken down by platform and genres, such as action, RPG, shooter, and strategy, to name a few. only a few. Its classic catalog has sections for PS One, PS2, PSP (all grouped together); Remasters; and PS3.
On the subject of poor navigation, its Cloud Streaming menu doesn’t actually provide a list of streamable games. Either you receive another list of classic PS3 games or you are redirected to the Collections page. Whereas more games are streamable, classics (PS One, PS2, PSP) and PS5-only games are not. Games with PS5 and PS4 versions will only stream the PS4 version. It would be nice to have a dedicated streaming games section broken down by platform, even if it’s just a list that excludes PS5 games and classics that aren’t on PS3.
Simply put: PS3 and PS4 = Yes. PS One, PS2, PSP and PS5 = No.
Sometimes you will even have to check the overflow menu to see if it can be streamed, as its store page will only show the price and a download option at first sight.
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Its section of remastered classics is also a bit odd, because while they’re technically PS4 games, they are not included in a PlayStation Plus Extra subscription. Only Premium subscribers with access to classic games can play them, apparently because the originals came out on PS3. This means that games like BioShock Remastered, Metro Redux 2033 and Borderlands: The Handsome Collection are not available to PS Plus Extra members despite being released on PS4.
Navigation issues aside, PS Plus Premium has a lot to offer subscribers. The catalog of games is quite extensive, although it won’t be home to early PlayStation Studios releases like Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass. Considering the list will only get longer over time, I can’t really complain about where she has to start right now.
As for its cloud streaming, I tested a variety of games to try and get a feel for how much latency it had. Between Hollow Knight, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Borderlands 2 (in The Handsome Collection), it seemed to be random. Valhalla felt a little sluggish in its controls compared to what I’m used to, but Borderlands 2 felt responsive. The biggest issue I encountered was not latency, but frame rate drops. Things could get choppy very quickly, and it’s not the ideal streaming experience that everyone wants.
Is PlayStation Plus Premium really worth it?
When looking at the differences between PlayStation Plus Extra and Premium, it comes down to the catalog of classic games, the ability to stream games, and game trials. I don’t know if the extra monthly fee is worth the catalog of classic games for most people, but it’s easier to swallow when you think about Premium’s annual subscription that only costs $20 more. That said, I think a lot of gamers will find PlayStation Plus Extra more than enough for their needs.
Personally, I’ll be sticking to Premium for the foreseeable future, as I love having those extra games and being able to test out new releases on playtests, but the UI definitely needs some work. As things stand, PlayStation Extra is probably the way to go. Essential is no longer enough, and Premium needs more incentive to justify the monthly price.