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PlayStation Plus: Everything you need to know

PS Plus just got a major revamp, but is it a true Game Pass rival?
By
April 1, 2022
PlayStation Plus logo large

Sony has finally revamped its signature PlayStation Plus subscription, now with three tiers to best suit your gaming needs. Whether you’re just looking to play PlayStation games online or want a service that nearly rivals Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, keep reading for everything you need to know about PlayStation Plus!

Editor’s note: This article mostly refers to the upcoming PlayStation Plus service, rather than the older multiplayer-focused option that will be rolled into PS Plus Essential in the next few months.

PlayStation Plus — One Year Subscription
$59.99 at Amazon

What is PlayStation Plus?

ps5 logo
Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

PS Plus is a subscription-based service from Sony PlayStation that allows gamers to play online multiplayer games, access a Netflix-like catalog of games, play games in the cloud, and more. Of course, which of those benefits you get depends on your subscription tier.

The most basic tier, PlayStation Plus Essential, is roughly the same as the service was when it launched back in June of 2010. It unlocks a few games every month, online play, up to 100GB of cloud game save storage, exclusive game discounts, and Share Play. Share Play allows you to play multiplayer and co-op games with a friend or let them enjoy single-player adventures that you own, but they don’t. If you have a PlayStation 5, you also get access to a small library of games called the PS Plus Collection.

Related: Sony PlayStation 5 review

PlayStation Plus Extra is the next tier up, and it includes everything in the previous tier plus more than 400 PS4 and PS5 games to download and play. This is the real Game Pass rival, although unlike Microsoft’s offering it does not include day-one releases from first-party publishers.

The most expensive tier, PlayStation Plus Premium, includes the above plus 340 games from the PSP, PS1, PS2, and PS3 eras. Some older games from the PS1 and PS2 era are available for download, but most games (including all PS3 titles) are only available via cloud gaming. If you were a fan of the defunct PlayStation Now service, this is essentially its replacement. The entire PS Now catalog is included in countries where cloud streaming is available.

In countries where cloud gaming isn’t available, Sony announced an additional PlayStation Plus Deluxe plan, which is basically Premium without the PS Now aspect. As a result, it will be slightly cheaper.

How does PS Plus work?

All you have to do is purchase a PS Plus subscription, and you’re good to go. You can purchase a PS Plus membership directly through the PlayStation Store, or you can enter a voucher code if you purchase a subscription card from Target, Walmart, Amazon, etc.

Read also: Finally got a new PS5? Here’s what you should do first

To activate the subscription, you just need to enter the code into the official Sony PlayStation website or on the PlayStation Store on your console. Both are quick and easy.

Once your membership is activated, you’ll have access to the free monthly games available and any game catalogs that match your tier. You’ll also have access to exclusive discounts and all other benefits right away.

How much does PlayStation Plus cost?

PlayStation Plus pricing

PlayStation Plus Essential starts at $9.99 a month, PlayStation Plus Extra starts at $14.99 a month, and PlayStation Plus Premium starts at $17.99 a month. However, you can save up to 50% by buying three or twelve months at a time. Check out the table below for full pricing details around the globe.

EuropeJapanUKUS
PlayStation Plus Essential
Europe
€8.99 monthly / €24.99 quarterly / €59.99 yearly
Japan
850 yen monthly / 2,150 yen quarterly / 5,143 yen yearly
UK
£6.99 monthly / £19.99 quarterly / £49.99 yearly
US
$9.99 monthly / $24.99 quarterly / $59.99 yearly
PlayStation Plus Extra
Europe
€13.99 monthly / €39.99 quarterly / €99.99 yearly
Japan
1,300 yen monthly / 3,600 yen quarterly / 8,600 yen yearly
UK
£10.99 monthly / £31.99 quarterly / £83.99 yearly
US
$14.99 monthly / $39.99 quarterly / $99.99 yearly
PlayStation Plus Premium
Europe
€16.99 monthly / €49.99 quarterly / €119.99 yearly
Japan
1,550 yen monthly / 4,300 yen quarterly / 10,250 yen yearly
UK
£13.49 monthly / £39.99 quarterly / £99.99 yearly
US
$17.99 monthly / $49.99 quarterly / $119.99 yearly

Sony has yet to reveal pricing for its PlayStation Plus Deluxe plan, which is only available in countries without cloud service. It’s only been revealed that it will be cheaper than PlayStation Plus Premium. Stay tuned for more details soon.

PlayStation Plus — One Year Subscription
$59.99 at Amazon

Is PlayStation Plus worth it?

ps5 ps plus collection

Yes, PlayStation Plus is totally worth it. It’s also worth it to splurge upfront for the annual fee instead of paying roughly twice that for the monthly plan, regardless of which tier you choose.

Think about it this way: with the cheapest PlayStation Plus Essential plan, if you pay the annual fee of $59.99, you’ll be getting at least 24-36 free games in the calendar year. The subscription fee will easily pay for itself by way of free games alone, not to mention all of the other perks you’ll get and the ability to play online with your friends.

Another thing to consider is that if you purchase a PS5 and you get PS Plus, you’ll have access to the PlayStation Plus collection, which includes a ton of legendary games from the PS4 generation. Some of these games include God of War, The Last of Us Remastered, and Bloodborne.

The PlayStation Plus Extra annual plan is what we'd recommend for most gamers.

With PlayStation Plus Extra, you get even more value out of an annual subscription. The $15 monthly fee is the same as Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, which offers far more for the money, but the annual plan works out to just over $8 a month. Microsoft offers no competing 12-month plan that can match those prices.

PlayStation Plus Premium is more difficult to recommend. It runs 20% more expensive on both the monthly and annual plans, and the added value is questionable at best. Unless you love older PlayStation games, you’re probably better off sticking with the middle tier. The cloud gaming is a nice touch, but real-life performance isn’t nearly as good as Stadia, GeForce Now, or even Xbox Cloud Gaming.

Where is PlayStation Plus available?

The new PlayStation Plus plans will begin rolling out in North America, Europe, Asia, and others in the coming months. Sony has committed to having the new service available in most markets by the end of June 2022.

As for the cloud gaming features, they will only be launched in countries where PlayStation Now is currently available. In the rest of the world, PlayStation Plus Deluxe will be the top tier of the service. Here’s a full list of countries where PlayStation Plus Premium will launch:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Luxembourg
  • Norway
  • Portugal
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • The Netherlands
  • UK
  • USA

PlayStation Plus games

last of us remastered best ps4 games
Sony

The free monthly games available with all PS Plus subscriptions rotate, so you will only have a limited time to download whichever games are available every month. Once the game is downloaded to your library, it’s yours to keep.

Since the launch of the PS5, PlayStation has released quite a few gems for free through PS Plus. Here’s a quick roundup of our favorites:

  • March 2022: GTA Online, Ghostrunner, Ghost of Tsushima Legends, Ark: Survival Evolved, Team Sonic Racing
  • January 2022: Persona 5 Strikers, Deep Rock Galactic, Dirt 5
  • July 2021: A Plague Tale: Innocence, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, WWE 2K Battlegrounds
  • June 2021: Operation: Tango, Star Wars: Squadrons, Virtua Fighter 5: Ultimate Showdown

As mentioned above, if you own a PS5 and you purchase a PS Plus subscription at any level, you’ll have access to several of the great landmark PS4 games in the PS Plus Collection. Once you claim them, they will be yours to keep even if they leave the collection. Here’s the full list of games in the PS Plus Collection:

  • Batman: Arkham Knight
  • Battlefield 1
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops III – Zombies Chronicles Edition
  • Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy
  • Fallout 4
  • Final Fantasy XV Royal Edition
  • Monster Hunter: World
  • Mortal Kombat X
  • Persona 5 (only until May 11, 2022)
  • Resident Evil 7 biohazard
  • Bloodborne
  • Days Gone
  • Detroit: Become Human
  • God of War
  • Infamous Second Son
  • Ratchet and Clank
  • The Last Guardian
  • The Last of Us Remastered
  • Until Dawn
  • Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

As for the more Game Pass-like libraries in PlayStation Plus Extra and up, Sony has yet to reveal which games will make the service. We do know that there will be some heavy hitters such as Returnal, Death Stranding, Spider-Man, Spider-Man: Miles Morales, and God of War included when it launches in June.

The cloud gaming library available with PlayStation Plus Premium is the same as the old PlayStation Now library. Check out the full list here.

How are the mobile app features?

There’s no dedicated PS Plus app. Instead, there’s a PS Plus screen within the PlayStation app. In the PlayStation app, you can click on the PS Store tab at the bottom. Then, when you see the navigational headings at the top (Latest, Collections, etc.), swipe right and click on Subscriptions.

Also read: The best PlayStation 5 accessories you can buy

This will take you to where you can see which games are included for the month. You can add them to your library directly from your phone. If you have it enabled and your PlayStation console is turned on, you can even download the games from your phone.

You can also browse the games you can pre-order on this screen and see discounts available for PS Plus subscribers.

PlayStation Plus alternatives

xbox game pass ultimate
Microsoft

There’s no direct alternative to PS Plus. Obviously, this is true for online gaming on PlayStation consoles with PS Plus Essential, but even when looking at PS Plus Extra or Premium the options are limited.

The only other similar subscription service on PlayStation is EA Play, which offers a decent catalog of games from one of the largest game publishers. It includes all manner of sports and racing titles, plus a few others like Mass Effect: Legendary Edition, Star Wars Fallen Order, and more. The base plan costs $5 a month or $30 a year, and the Pro plan (which includes the latest games and all DLC) costs $15 a month or $100 a year.

Apart from that, you’ll have to look beyond the PlayStation ecosystem for a similar service. The most obvious is Xbox Game Pass, which comes in three flavors: one for PC, one for Xbox consoles, and one that includes both and more. The highest tier, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, also includes cloud gaming on both console and PC, as well as EA Play and all the benefits that come with it. Ultimate costs $15 a month, and the two other plans run $10 a month each.

Read also: PS5 vs Xbox Series X

On PC there’s also Ubisoft Plus, which is similar to EA Play but for Ubisoft titles like Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry, and Rainbow Six. It’s exclusive to PC gamers, but you can play on TVs and mobile devices via integrations with Google Stadia and Amazon Luna. All games include the most complete experience, with all DLC unlocked. It costs $15 a month.

Other FAQs

Q: Do I get to keep all of the games I downloaded if I stop using the service?
A: You will only have access to the games you downloaded for free through the PS Plus service for as long as you are a PS Plus member. If you cancel your membership, you can’t play any of the games you got during your subscription. If you decide to renew, you can re-download them or hop right back in if they’re already installed.

Q: Do games leave PlayStation Plus?
A: Yes, the free games available through PS Plus are only available for a limited period of time, usually about a month long. Games in the PS Plus Extra and Premium libraries also shuffle from time to time.

Q: If I missed a free game from PlayStation Plus before the time period ended, can I still download it?
A: No, unfortunately, you only have a limited window to add the free games offered through PS Plus to your library. If you have added the game to your library and just haven’t downloaded it yet, then yes, you can go ahead and download it. But if you never added the game to your cart and checked out to add it to your library, then there’s no way to get that free game retroactively.

Q: Do PlayStation Plus games include DLC?
A: It depends on the game. Most of the PS3 and older games included in the PS Plus Premium catalog include all DLC, but the monthly free games, PS Plus Collection, and PS Plus Extra catalogs will vary in what DLC they offer.

Q: Does PlayStation Plus include PlayStation Now?
A: PlayStation Now will be folded into PlayStation Plus subscriptions starting in June. The console catalog will be available as part of PS Plus Extra, while the cloud catalog (and PC streaming) will be exclusive to PS Plus Premium.

Q: Can I share my PS Plus subscription?
A: Yes, if it’s on the same console under a family account. The sub-accounts under your main account on your primary console can use the benefits of your PS Plus subscription. They can also access and play any free games you’ve downloaded. The games will need to be added to the cart and downloaded using the main account. After that, anyone with a profile on the console can play them.