If you were drinking every time you saw a game was coming “day one to Game Pass” at the Xbox Show yesterday, you would have been under the table by the end. It’s clear that Microsoft is slamming the accelerator on Game Pass, with or without a console attached to it, and they’re going to try to not just have a large roster of old games, but continue the idea that every new first party game debuts there, and now that includes all future Bethesda games too, after the recent acquisition.
Sony, meanwhile, has taken the opposite path. This generation they’re not only sticking with selling individual new releases as they’ve always done, not rolling them up into any sort of subscription, but also increasing the price of their PS5 games from $60 to $70, which includes some third parties as well.
It’s not ideal for each game you go to purchase (I just winced when I went to buy Ratchet and Clank and remembered it was $70), but once you really start digging into this math, the longer this goes on, and the more games are released for both systems, maintaining a roster of games on PS5 is going to be very, very expensive compared to Xbox.
Let’s say you want to play 12 Xbox Series X first party games over three years, and 12 first party PS5 games over three years.
All those games are coming to Xbox Game Pass, so you will be paying $10 a month, barring any special deals, for 12 months, time three years. So $360.
Assuming all those Sony games are $70 each, you are instead paying $840. So the difference between the cost savings is quite literally almost the price of an Xbox Series X itself.
And the longer this goes on, the wider this gets. Simply double that, $720 for Game Pass for six years of games, and then 24 $70 PS5 games, and that’s $1680, a gap of almost a thousand dollars over the course of most of a console generation. And even if you’re doing Game Pass Ultimate at $15 a month, that’s $1080, still $600 less than purchasing those 24 PS5 games. And of course, we’re ignoring that you’re not just getting 24 Xbox Series X games, but a ton of other games you can play that you probably wouldn’t have purchased otherwise, and with Ultimate, access to PC and mobile and streaming copies too.
I’m not denying that Sony’s games aren’t worth paying for individually, but when Xbox starts building a must-have roster of exclusive as well, are PS5 games worth more than double what you’re paying when you just get everything with Game Pass? That raises more questions when the price gap is literally the cost of an entirely new console, and then some.
Sony has mentioned they’re going to be doing things to make its own subscriptions, PS Now, PS Plus, more attractive, but that hasn’t borne fruit yet, and the ultimate move, rolling up new releases into being included with a subscription, seems unlikely to happen as Sony has spoken out about that specifically in the past.
Yes, Game Pass was present last generation, but the difference now is Sony’s price hike and Microsoft’s newfound roster of first party games that will be arriving this generation. And things are going to get interesting as a result.
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