The new PlayStation Plus: Sony misses making an exclamation mark
Sony versus Microsoft. Since the launch of the first Xbox in November 2001, these two console manufacturers have been battling for market dominance. What about Nintendo, you might ask? Well, they’ve always been doing their own thing, and they’ve been doing it very successfully, but they’re targeting a different target group or their platforms are often the perfect companion console, while with Xbox and PlayStation it’s often: either … right?!
In the last few generations, I’ve always had the feeling that Sony is clearly ahead. The exclusive franchises like Uncharted, The Last of Us, God of War, Gran Turismo, Jak & Dexter, Crash Bandicoot, Ratchet & Clank, Horizon and so on are just too strong. Halo, Forza Horizon and Co. simply couldn’t keep up in the past or they were too outnumbered. And without strong exclusives, having more horsepower under the hood will do you little good.
New generation, new situation
However, the narrative has now changed. Although Sony still owns the more powerful (already published) in-house productions for the last and current generation of consoles, this time Microsoft not only has the slightly more powerful console, but also a subscription model with the Xbox Game Pass, the PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now clearly outshines. Added to this are the numerous acquisitions of recent years. By that we mean not only Zenimax/Bethesda and Activision Blizzard, but also the various other well-known studios such as Obsidian, Ninja Theory, Mojang, Rare or InXile, which now belong to Team Xbox.
All these studios are working on projects that will eventually end up on the market. And then the discussion “Who makes the best games?” very different than in previous years. The fact that these investments need time to bring the desired return was only revealed a few days ago Starfield and Redfall shifts proven.
Sony Empire strikes back? Unfortunately, no
Since the announcement of the Activision takeover, an entire industry has been waiting for Sony to react to the Microsoft move in some way. the Bungie acquisition in February 2022 was not a reaction, but should have been in the making long before. the Acquisition of Haven in March is just a side note. The fact that further takeovers are in the works PlayStation boss Jim Ryan made no secret. According to the rumor mill, there should even be a Big players in the games industry targeted by Sony condition. So far, however, nothing has been confirmed. But there was a promise that you still more money into developing their own first-party games stuck, i.e. want to further develop the greatest strength. I think that’s basically a good thing.
But I’m a bit disappointed with the way Sony is currently tackling another construction site: PlayStation Plus. As is known, a new version of the service offer awaits us in June, in which the old PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now in the three PlayStation Plus variants Essential, Extra and Premium being transformed. After the announcement, it was still unclear what the game libraries of the more expensive Plus versions Extra and Premium should look like, but there were recently the first details. And they don’t exactly cause storms of enthusiasm.
The killer applications are missing
Do not get me wrong. In the List of games released so far for PlayStation Plus Extra you will find a lot of pearls. However, most of the games are a few years old, having been part of PlayStation Plus or part of the PS5 Collection. The only positive surprise: We will also be able to unlock some of the Ubisoft+ games via PlayStation Plus Extra and Premium. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, for example, is said to be part of the package from launch. What I’m missing here, however, is an exclamation point that shows the fans: Okay, Sony wants to know. A Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart as perhaps the best exclusive title of the current generation of consoles, for example, and/or the Gran Turismo 7 released in March.
I find the offer for Premium even more sobering. As is well known, Sony promises a library of up to 340 games from the PlayStation, PS2, PS3 and PSP generations. What would have really interested me here: Uncharted: Golden Abyss and the countless, sometimes really fantastic JRPGs of the various Playstation phases. However, there is no trace of them in the list. And many of my favorites from the PSOne, PS2 and PS3 generations aren’t there either.
Let’s just take the first Playstation: Where are Tekken 3, Soul Blade, Dead or Alive, Ambition, Grandia, Breath of Fire III + IV, Chrono Cross, Alundra, Final Fantasy Tactics, Vandal Hearts, Heart of Darkness, Twisted Metal, Road Rash 3D, Driver, Tony Hawk’s Skateboarding, Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Parasite Eve, Dino Chrisis, Legacy of Kain, Soul Reaver, Nightmare Creatures, Tenchu, Tomb Raider, Metal Gear Solid, Colony Wars, G-Police and and and ? With such a library, Sony would certainly have picked up at least all retro fans immediately.
5 weeks left for an exclamation mark
The good news: Sony promises up to 400 current and up to 340 retro titles for Extra or Premium for the launch of the new PlayStation Plus on June 23, 2022. So the list published on May 16th is certainly not the final one. So Jim Ryan and Co. still have a few weeks to set the tone and convince more people to transfer up to 17 euros a month to Japan. And Sony should seize this opportunity. Microsoft still has a problem this year that should have been resolved by 2023: Due to the postponements of Starfield and Redfall, Team Xbox also lacks fresh killer applications to further strengthen Game Pass and the Xbox Series X/S. Unless, of course, Microsoft shakes it big showcase event on June 12, 2022 another surprise up his sleeve.