James Morris aka Buttered Biscuits
Back in December of 2020, news broke out that Sony plans to launch a
program that would be Playstation’s answer to Xbox’s wildly successful
Game Pass rumored to be labeled Project Spartacus. So far not much has
been released regarding Project Spartacus other than a few rumors here and
there regarding Playstation legacy content coming to PS5 (maybe Ps4 as
well) and a potential tier subscription service. The only thing that is official
that is known is that we will have more information regarding Project
Spartacus next month at Playstation’s next State of Play, Sony has recently
called for Playstation Now gift cards to be ceases in the UK, and that Sony
plans on releasing this new initiative Spring of this year. So banking on if
Project Spartacus is a Game Pass like subscription service, here are some
ideas that should be considered.
1) DROP THE THREE TIER CONCEPT
There is a rumor floating that Sony is planning on a three tier
subscription service with Project Spartacus. The lowest tier being the bare
bones basics of Playstation Plus allowing a user to access the Playstation
Network and the current benefits of Plus. The second tier allows access to
digital access to PS4 titles on top of those listed below and finally the top tier
allows access to all Playstation legacy content plus access to the cloud,
demos and much more. Keep in mind this all speculation and rumor at this
time until it of course becomes a reality. However, the issue is simple here.
Why have three tiers when your competitors are marketing two tiers. Yes,
Xbox technically has 3 tiers but how Microsoft advertises, you’d forget that
there is Xbox Live Gold and a basic Game Pass option when Game Pass
Ultimate, which combines both services with the addition of Game Pass PC
and EA Access, for a modest $15 a month US.
Sony needs to keep it simple for their customers as they enter the arena
of subscriptions. As mentioned above, Nintendo and Xbox have already
drawn the line in the sand in regards to their offerings. From Nintendo, they
offer their basic Nintendo Online service, which allows access to cloud
services, online play, and access to SNES and NES video games. Nintendo’s
‘high tier’ model dubbed the Expansion Pass allows users the same benefits
mentioned before as well as access to Sega and N64 titles as well as the DLC
for Animal Crossing New Horizons for a total of $50 US. Sony having a
three tier system at this time, could cause some confusion in those not savvy
enough in the offerings or might put off customers feeling as if they are being
alienated by the paywalls put in place by a potential high price of a
subscription. Thus brings us to our next idea.
2) Make It Affordable
We currently live in an era where we are bombarded by subscriptions to
our favorite films and TV shows, now with gaming becoming part of the mix,
these prices can loom heavy on gamers on a budget. From Netflix prices
rising again and our consumption of streaming content rises, Sony should
consider keeping prices competitive with Nintendo and Microsoft’s pricing
model. Going to pricey on the top-tier subscription, if this does come to
fruition, could spell a potential introduction yield at launch. A $15 dollar
price tag is more than reasonable for access to Playstation legacy library as
well as access to third party content should the top tier service allow such a
Sony should even consider playing the long game even after the launch
of Spartacus, by constantly pulling a page of Xbox’s playbook by enticing
current subscribers to jump to the next tier for a cheap price like $1 and even
allow customer’s current subscriptions to allocate to the amount of months a
user would get if they had joined the top-tier level ala what Microsoft allows
on Game Pass Ultimate. This would allow an even more acceptance of the
service and also build their install base.
3) Content, Content, Content
What makes Game Pass such a dominating juggernaut in the gaming
industry right now is their constant flow of content being added to their
service monthly and sometimes weekly from all numbers of developers.
From indie darlings like Hades and Goat Simulator to big titles from AAA
developers like EA Games and more, there is much to experience that gamers
would never have been able to try out any other way without slapping down
cold hard cash and hoping for a good experience.
Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan has already stated to the
media back in September of 2020, that Playstation exclusives will not be on
the subscription service which would be a huge step backwards considering
Microsoft allows for their first party games to hit their service day one. Not
being able to hop into God of War Ragnarok or Spider-Man 2 day one as part
of your Spartacus subscription would be a huge let down in my opinion to the
consumer. Jim Ryan has also stated that these games cost millions to make
and that adding them to a subscription plan just wouldn’t be sustainable.
Seeing the overwhelming success of games like Sea of Thieves and Halo
Infinite, seeing how first party Sony titles wouldn’t see the same amount of
success boggles the mind.
I truly hope Sony releases something that rivals Game Pass as it will
bring more competition to the field and in return, cause more innovation to
both services. Phil Spencer has come out saying that a Game Pass like service
for Sony is the right move and I believe that as well. We are in a new era of
gaming experience with services such as these and can only wait and see how
the continue to evolve. For now, we have to wait for more information on
Project Spartacus next month at Sony’ State of Play but until then, we here at
Unsung Gamers will continue to save the world, one game at a time.