Best answer: Yes and no. It depends on which games you're playing and if you're playing those games on PlayStation Now. The general rule of thumb is that you'll need PS Plus to play online multiplayer unless the game is free-to-play.
Which games can I play online without PS Plus?
Only free-to-play games can be played online without PlayStation Plus. Thankfully, plenty of the most popular games today, like Genshin Impact, Fortnite, Apex Legends, Call of Duty: Warzone, and more, are free-to-play. You can access these games so long as you have an internet connection.
Do I need PS Plus to play online games in PS Now?
No. Oddly enough, any game in PlayStation Now can be played online without an active PlayStation Plus membership. You can think of this as an extra perk of a PS Now subscription. However, if you want to transfer your PS Now game saves from console over to PC for whatever reason, you will need a PS Plus membership to do so.
When will PS Plus stop becoming a requirement for online games?
It's unknown whether Sony will drop PlayStation Plus as a requirement for online play. The service has grown well beyond online and multiplayer connectivity in recent years, but it's still a large revenue earner and is used as a way to subsidize the PlayStation Network. Unless drastic changes abound, I wouldn't expect PS Plus to go away anytime soon regarding online gameplay.
Is Xbox the same way?
Until recently, players needed Xbox Live Gold (the equivalent of PS Plus) to play all online multiplayer on Xbox, regardless of whether the game was free-to-play. This has changed, and Microsoft no longer requires an Xbox Live Gold subscription to play free-to-play games online, making it more in line with what Sony offers. You do still need an Xbox Live Gold membership to play most other multiplayer games.
What if I buy PS Plus and cancel my subscription?
You can only play online multiplayer in games that require it so long as your membership is active. Once you cancel your subscription, you will no longer be able to access online multiplayer (except in free-to-play titles).
PlayStation Plus 12-month
Multiplayer access, free games, and a lot more
PlayStation Plus is your premium subscription service for everything PlayStation. You may not need it to enjoy free-to-play games online, but it's better for a lot more than you get. Get access to free games, cloud storage, the PS Plus Collection, and exclusive discounts with an active membership.
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