Sony’s new PlayStation Plus makes retro gaming an expensive option

Sony has just announced its new PlayStation Plus subscription tiers, which will be available later this year, and with the new ‘Extra’ and ‘Premium’ tiers, you’ll have access to back catalogs of many PlayStation games. However, if you want to play classic PS3, PS2, PS1 and PSP games, you’ll have to pay for “Premium”, the more expensive option, which means Sony is joining Nintendo in putting some of its old games behind. its highest level. – cost of the subscription.

Using a subscription to access classic games isn’t new to Sony. For years, the company has offered access to PS4, PS3, and PS2 games as part of PlayStation Now, which is an entirely separate subscription service from PlayStation Plus. But instead of using the Plus redesign to bring more games to the standard level, Sony has instead decided to use classic games as a carrot to encourage gamers to subscribe to Premium, which will cost $17.99 per month. $49.99 for three months or $119.99 per year. That annual fee is essentially what you would have paid to subscribe to both Plus and Now for a year – although if you’re a Now subscriber, Sony says you’ll be migrated to the new Plus Premium.

Nintendo has a similar tiered pricing strategy with its Nintendo Switch Online service. This subscription launched in September 2018 with access to a handful of NES games, and almost a year later Nintendo added SNES games – and all of them were available for the relatively low price of $3.99 per month, 7 $.99 for three months or $19.99 for one year. . But if you want to play Nintendo’s selection of N64 or Sega Genesis games on your Switch, you’ll need to pay $49.99, a cost that’s more than double the standard individual annual subscription, for an entire year of the game pack. ‘extension.

Microsoft, on the other hand, has taken a different approach with its Game Pass library. With Xbox Game Pass, you can play the same Microsoft titles on your Xbox whether you pay for the lowest $9.99 per month Game Pass or the more expensive $14.99 per month Xbox Game Pass Ultimate . Microsoft has also invested heavily in backwards compatibility, which means you can still access and play many older Xbox games on the Xbox Series X/S without needing a subscription.

Adding to potential frustrations with Sony’s approach is that the company has somewhat ignored the importance of its back catalog in the past. Here’s PlayStation boss Jim Ryan in a 2017 interview with Time:

“When we looked at backwards compatibility, I can say that it’s one of those features that’s highly requested, but not really used. That, and I was at a Gran Turismo recent event where they had PS1, PS2, PS3 and PS4 games, and PS1 and PS2 games, they looked old, like why would anyone play that?

Ryan acknowledged he could have been clearer in 2021 Axios maintenance:

“The point I was trying to make – obviously not very well – was how great the PS4 version was and how far the series had come. I certainly wasn’t trying to be disrespectful to our heritage.

But 2017’s commentary still stings – especially considering the impact of many PlayStation games, like the Solid metal gear series, Jack and Daxterand The shadow of the colossuswent down in video game history.

Although many older PlayStation games have been remastered or transferred to other platforms, it can still be worth playing them as they originally were. And while the PS5 is backwards compatible with almost all PS4 games, the only way to play PS3 and PS2 games on Sony’s new console is through the soon-to-be-disappeared PlayStation Now service via the overhauled PlayStation Plus.

That said, subscriptions offer a convenient way to preserve retro games that can be hard to find. With some digital game stores closing and hardware obsolescent, subscriptions are a way to make older games accessible. But Sony – and Nintendo – seem to be moving towards making retro games only available via subscription and placing some behind the most expensive tier. And for the PlayStation 5 and Switch, there’s no way to buy older games one by one, like with Nintendo’s Virtual Console.

Sony hasn’t shared which retro games will be included with PlayStation Plus Premium, so we currently don’t know what you might get if you’re planning to put some money aside for the more expensive subscription. However, the company promises that “up to 340” games will be available on the Premium tier – a lot more than you can play on Nintendo Switch Online. This Premium selection will also include select PS1 and PSP games, which are not currently on PlayStation Now.

Despite the higher cost, I’m excited to check out some classic PlayStation games, thanks to the new Premium tier. But I wish there were ways to play them on my PS5 instead of shelling out the extra money on top of what I’ve already paid for PlayStation Plus – or what Sony is offering in the standard tier.

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