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How does Sony’s new PlayStation Plus stack up against Xbox Game Pass and other game subscription services?

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Sony is launching its new PlayStation Plus in India next week. The update brings the service into four tiers, namely Essential, Extra, Deluxe and Premium. While Essential is the base version, Deluxe and Premium are the top tiers – depending on which market you’re in. The new PlayStation Plus aims to help Sony increase its revenue. It’s also meant to compete better against Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass – a similar multi-tiered service designed specifically for gamers on Xbox.

In this week’s episode of the Gadgets 360 podcast Orbital, host Akhil Arora talks to an industry insider Rishi Alwani and video game enthusiasts Pranay Parabi — both former Gadgets 360 teammates — to talk about the new PlayStation Plus and the growing market of game subscription services that already has Xbox Game Pass as a major name.

We begin the conversation by discussing the benefits gamers can get with the new PlayStation Plus service. Sony is presenting it in India on June 22.

However, instead of treating India as part of the Asian rollout, the Japanese company has taken the country to Europe to schedule the release of the new service.

“From the point of view of consumer behaviour, or shopping habits and play habits, India is in line with the Western market,” says Rishi. “It’s also because the Sony branch that really took an inkling in India and the Middle East was Sony Computer Entertainment of Europe, originally also known as Ski London.”

He also said that the second reason Sony considered India to be part of Europe is that the country is a “PAL region” – meaning it is based on the PAL color encoding system.

The new PlayStation Plus has three different levels to choose from in a particular market. The Deluxe tier is available in markets where cloud streaming is not available, while the premium version is for markets with cloud streaming.

India is getting the deluxe tier as cloud streaming by Sony is not yet available.

“I think he made a mistake on these many levels,” says Prannoy.

He also observes that the annual plan which goes up to Rs. 5,749 is a pretty expensive purchase for PlayStation Plus Deluxe.

Unlike Sony, Microsoft offers Xbox Game Pass as a trial offer to attract gamers. The Redmond company also runs promotional offers and discounts on a regular basis to persuade Xbox users to choose the subscription-based service. In addition, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate — the service’s top-end tier — is available with access to EA Play, which brings access to a catalog of titles from Electronic Arts (EA).

However, Xbox Game Pass also has its limitations.

“The biggest issue with Game Pass is Microsoft India and Xbox supply in India itself, which is a running joke at the moment,” says Rishi.

In addition to Sony and Microsoft, the game subscription services market has garnered publishers including EA and Ubisoft with their respective offerings. This is similar to how over-the-top (OTT) players, including Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, are fighting against each other.

We talk about where the market will go in the future, given that we have subscription services with major AAA releases. The discussion also revolves around whether it’s worth getting the new PlayStation Plus.

You can listen to it all by hitting the play button on the Spotify player embedded above.

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