‘Project Spartacus’: What PlayStation gamers need to know

Posted: 25 February 2022 5:30 pm
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Reports surrounding Project Spartacus, Sony's proposed rival to Xbox's Game Pass, are beginning to heat up. Here's what we know so far.

News first began to circulate last December about big changes heading the way of PlayStation Plus, merging it with PlayStation Now to create a multi-tiered subscription service.

The service is conceived as a serious rival to Xbox's Game Pass Ultimate, a subscription service offering a rotating library of around 150 games, as well as access to online play, trials, betas and the xCloud game streaming service.

VentureBeat's Jeff Grubb claims to have the inside scoop on all this, and claims that the service is "pretty close to actually launching." You can also compare PlayStation Plus vs Xbox Game Pass.

What is PlayStation Plus?

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First, it's helpful to give a refresher of what PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now actually look like, as presently constituted. PlayStation Plus is a subscription service, for which Sony gamers can pay and enjoy the ability to play online, a number of free monthly games which can be kept for the duration of the subscription, and exclusive discounts. Right now it sets you back $11.95 a month.

Click here for a complete list of free PlayStation Plus games.

What PlayStation Now offers is a bit different. Upon activating a PS Now subscription, you gain instant access to a library of hundreds of PlayStation games, which you can jump into anytime. These games include classic gems from older PlayStation consoles.

The PS Now library dwarfs what you'll find on PlayStation Plus any given month; for example, in the month of February, just three games were offered on PS Plus. PS Now also offers a bunch of useful compatibility with older consoles and even PCs. A month's subscription to PS Now costs $9.99. That's USD, because - shock horror incoming - this awesome-sounding tech service isn't available in Australia.

As you can tell, these two services are somewhat similar, and it's not hard to see why Sony wants to streamline them into a single subscription.

What will Project Spartacus look like?

It's been reported that what leaks and rumours refer to as "Project Spartacus" will retain the branding of PlayStation Plus. However, according to Grubb, it will now consist of three subscription tiers. Monthly, the Essential tier will cost US$10 (AUD$14), the Extra tier $13 ($18) and the Premium tier $16 ($22).

Keep in mind those are just simple USD-AUD calculations; since Sony hasn't even officially acknowledged the existence of Project Spartacus yet, there's no way to know how much it might cost in Australia.

Grubb reports that the Essential tier will closely resemble PlayStation Plus as it currently exists. It will be required for playing online, and will offer a number of free monthly games.

The Extra tier will feature a library of around 300 games for players to download and enjoy at their leisure. Grubb suggests that all the downloadable content on PS Now will be featured in the Extra tier.

Finally, the Premium tier will feature all the console and PC compatibility gamers could enjoy on PS Now, as well as access to "classic games." It seems like that would refer to older PS1, 2, and 3 games, but Grubb admits he isn't exactly sure what the term means. The premium tier is also set to feature "game trials," a feature of Game Pass that Sony has yet to implement in their services.

Project Spartacus in Australia

The merging of PlayStation Now into PlayStation Plus can only be good news for Aussie gamers who have been desperate to enjoy PlayStation Now. It'll be much harder for Sony to justify locking antipodean gamers out of the amazing service of PS Now when it's fully integrated into PS Plus, since Plus is required for online play.

Unless Sony plans on forcing Australian and Kiwi gamers to stick to single-player, the Netflix-like service of PlayStation Now should be headed Down Under.

Still haven't been able to get your hands on a PS5? Check out Finder's official how-to guide here.

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