There’s much discussion among future PlayStation 5 owners about what impending Xbox announcements could mean for PlayStation Plus. For those of you who don’t know, Microsoft recently discontinued the 12-month tier of its long-running Xbox Live subscription service, prompting plenty of speculation.
There are multiple theories floating around: the most straight-forward is that the Redmond firm is ironing out some issues that effectively allow subscribers to upgrade to its premium Game Pass Ultimate subscription tier at a heavily discounted price. In other words, it’s a temporary solution while it cleans up some backend issues.
The alternatives are much more interesting, and could have an impact on the value proposition of Sony’s own subscription services. With Microsoft scheduled to make multiple Xbox Series X announcements this week, some have suggested that the platform holder may be about to make some disruptive changes to its business model.
One theory is that it’s discontinuing the 12-month Xbox Live tier in an effort to push users towards the more expensive, all-encompassing Game Pass Ultimate. This effectively bundles together all of the organisation’s services, including Xbox Live, the upcoming Project xCloud, and its Game Pass software vault.
In effect, this would represent a price increase, as it’d require players to pod out $180 a year for the privilege to play online. However, Microsoft would argue that it’s also a massive value increase, as anyone subscribed would get free access to titles like Halo: Infinite, which they could then play online and potentially even on the go, via cloud gaming.
The alternative is that Xbox feels so strongly about the value proposition of Game Pass that it’s willing to eradicate its online multiplayer paywall. This would have a profound impact on the viability of PS Plus moving forwards, as it would be difficult for Sony to justify its subscription should the competition move the other way.
How would you feel about the prospect of paying for PS Plus to play online if multiplayer is free on Microsoft’s console? Would that change your relationship with Sony’s system at all? Do you think it would affect the value proposition of the PS5? How do you think PlayStation would respond – if at all? Let us know in the comments section below.