PlayStation's subscription services have long lived in the shadow of what Xbox has to offer. Game Pass has become a juggernaut for Microsoft, amassing over 25 million subscribers. PlayStation Now, on the other hand, never really took off like Sony had hoped.
Now that the company has merged PlayStation Now and PlayStation Plus, completely revamping PS Plus into three separate tiers, there's a lot more value packed into a membership. But whether or not players should stick with PS Plus Extra or upgrade all the way to Premium isn't so simple.
The all-new PlayStation Plus
For anyone unaware, PlayStation Plus is now broken up into three separate tiers: PlayStation Plus Essential, Extra, and Premium. Each tier offers more benefits than the last, with Essential effectively providing the same basic benefits that PS Plus members used to get before the revamp.
PlayStation Plus Essential: Priced at $10 monthly, $25 quarterly, or $60 yearly. Offers exclusive discounts, a couple of free games each month, cloud storage, Game Help, Share Play, and online multiplayer.
PlayStation Plus Extra: Priced at $15 monthly, $40 quarterly, or $100 yearly. Offers an additional catalog of 400 PS4 and PS5 games that can be downloaded on-demand.
PlayStation Plus Premium: Priced at $18 monthly, $50 quarterly, or $120 yearly. Includes all benefits in Essential and Extra plus another 340 games that can be downloaded or streamed, including classic titles from PS3, PS2, and the original PlayStation. Limited-time game trials are also only available for Premium subscribers.
The experience needs some work
Anyone who previously had a PlayStation Now membership, or upgraded separately to PlayStation Plus Premium, will notice that the PlayStation Plus page on the PS5's home screen has been overhauled. Immediately there are sections for its Game Catalog, Classic Games, Game Trials, Cloud Streaming, and Monthly Games, in an effort to make it easy to access the exact type of content you're looking for. It's not always intuitive what you'll be greeted with when you select these, though.
Exploring the Classic Games at the top brings me to a list of over 30 PSP, PlayStation, and PS2 games, with no way to search for the entire list or find PS3 games in that menu. Back on the PS Plus Premium home page, I need to scroll down to another Classics Catalog menu where its listed as a benefit of a Premium membership.
Selecting that opens up another page where I can seemingly view all of the games, or scroll down and select from PSP, PlayStation, PS2, or PS3. Oddly, when I selected the top option to view the games, it only opened up a list of the PS3 games.
To find the full list for all of them, you'll want to navigate to the Collections section of PS Plus Premium and scroll down until you find the Classics Catalog broken up properly.
Here we can follow my journey from start to finish. This is the page that greets you upon going to the PS Plus Premium section. I went to select the Classic Games to check them out.
Hmmm. This is definitely not what I wanted. I only see a select number of PSP, PlayStation, and PS2 games here.
Okay. I will try going back to the PS Plus Premium menu and selecting this Classics Catalog page listed under our the benefits.
Okay. This is a start. Now I can hopefully view the games.
Nevermind. Now why am I only seeing PS3 games?
Here, finally, we have proper sections for all of the classic games that PS Plus Premium has to offer. I just needed to avoid those other Classic Games menus, scroll over to Collections, and make my way to the bottom of the list. Intuitive, right?
The Collections page is also where you'll see the extensive list of games in PlayStation Plus Premium broken down by platform and genres, such as action, RPG, shooter, and strategy, to name a few. Its Classic Catalog has sections for PS One, PS2, PSP (all lumped together); Remasters; and PS3.
On the theme of bad navigation, its Cloud Streaming menu doesn't actually provide a list of streamable games. You're either given another list of classic PS3 games or you'll be redirected to the Collections page. While most 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'd be nice to have a dedicated section for streamable games broken up by platform, even if it's just a list that excludes PS5 games and classics not on PS3.
To put it simply: PS3 and PS4 = Yes. PS One, PS2, PSP, and PS5 = No.
Sometimes you'll even need to check the overflow menu to see if it can be streamed because its store page will only bring up the price and an option to download at first glance.
Its remastered classics section is a little odd too, because while they're technically PS4 games, they aren't included with a PlayStation Plus Extra subscription. Only Premium subscribers with access to classic games can play them, seemingly because the originals released on PS3. That means games like BioShock Remastered, Metro Redux 2033, and Borderlands: The Handsome Collection aren't available for PS Plus Extra members despite releasing on PS4.
Navigation woes aside, PS Plus Premium has a lot to offer subscribers. The games catalog is fairly extensive, even if it it won't be the home for day-one PlayStation Studios releases like Xbox Game Pass is for Microsoft. Considering that the list will only grow as time goes on, I can't really complain about what it currently has to start with.
As for its cloud streaming, I tested out a variety of games to try and get a feel for any 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 hit or miss. Valhalla felt a little sluggish in its controls compared to what I'm used to, but Borderlands 2 was responsive. The bigger issue I came across wasn't latency, but frame rate drops. Things could get choppy real fast, and that's not the ideal streaming experience that anyone wants.
Is PlayStation Plus Premium really worth it?
When looking at the differences between PlayStation Plus Extra and Premium, it comes down to the classic games catalog, the ability to stream games, and game trials. I don't know if the extra monthly fee is worth the classic games catalog for most people, but it's easier to swallow when you think about the yearly subscription of Premium only costing $20 more. That said, I think a lot of players will find PlayStation Plus Extra more than adequate for their needs.
I'll personally be sticking with Premium for the foreseeable future because I like having those extra games and being able to test out new releases in game trials, but the UI definitely needs some work. As it stands, PlayStation Extra is probably the way to go. Essential just doesn't cut it anymore, and Premium needs greater incentives to justify the monthly price.
PlayStation Plus Premium
You can always opts for the basic package of PlayStation Plus Essential, but you'll be missing out on hundreds of games on-demand along with the ability to stream them directly to your console or PC.
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