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Sony launches PlayStation Spartacus service for as much as $18 per month

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Sony has finally launched its much-talked-about Spartacus update for PlayStation Plus. This is the effort to combine the various offerings of Plus and PS Now under one program. As I reported earlier this year, the service come in three tiers called PlayStation Plus Essential, Extra, and Premium. That starts at $10 per month ($25 for 3 months/$60 annually) for Essential, which is identical to the current PS Plus option. But that price quickly jumps to $18 per month for Premium or $120 per year. All of these changes will click over in June, according to a PlayStation blog post.

Monthly games Game catalogue Streaming Classic
games
Game trials Price
PS+ Essential X $10
PS+ Extra X X $15
PS+ Premium X X X X X $18

The key details about each tier are the same as what I reported on previously. While Essential is just the current PS Plus, Extra gets you access to a library of over 400 PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 games in an ever-growing catalogue. Those games include both older first- and third-party releases. Premium then adds the option to stream games from the cloud as well as time-limited game trials. But it also adds retro games from the PlayStation 1, 2, and 3 — although, that last platform only works through the cloud.

“[Premium offers] a catalog of beloved classic games available in both streaming and download options from the original PlayStation, PS2, and PSP generations,” reads a PlayStation blog post.

If you are wondering what this means for you, a person who lives in a country without PlayStation Now currently — well, Sony is just going to cut the price of the service for you.

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Creating value for PlayStation 5 owners

While it’s easy to look at PlayStation Plus Premium as a competitor to Game Pass, that isn’t really how these things work. Sony doesn’t have to convince most people that PS Plus is a better deal than what Microsoft is offering on its own platform. Instead, Sony only needs to present an exciting value for people who are in the PlayStation ecosystem.

Even considering that lower hurdle, however, it’s not a certainty that PlayStation fans will consider Premium an exciting offer. Game trials are nice, but they do not have anything near the weight of day-one releases. And retro games are something I’m definitely happy to have, but Sony has said nothing about improving or expanding its cloud infrastructure. Does this mean I’m going to have to stream 30 frames-per-second PS3 games over a low bitrate, compressed 720p video signal? In 2022? That seems like it’s the case.

Still, the appeal of these services is that they are easy to justify. For the cost of only two games, you can get so much. But I was hoping for so much more than what we’re getting.

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