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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?

Published onFebruary 5, 2024

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.

PlayStation Plus — One Year Subscription

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.

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 eras 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 but pricing depends on local markets.

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.

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 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 a lot by buying three or twelve months at a time. Although prices increased in 2023, you can get a full year of Essential for $79.99, Extra for $134.99, or Premium for $159.99.

PlayStation Plus — One Year Subscription

Is PlayStation Plus worth it?

PlayStation 5 PS5 images next to controllers 2
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

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 $79.99, you’ll be getting anywhere from 24-36 “free” games in the calendar year. The subscription fee will easily pay for itself by way of these games alone, not to mention all of the other perks you’ll get and the ability to play online with your friends.

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 $18 monthly fee is about the same as Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, which offers far more for the money, but the annual plan works out to just over $11 a month. Microsoft offers no competing 12-month plan that can match those prices.

PlayStation Plus Premium is more difficult to recommend. It runs significantly 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 feature is a nice touch, but real-life performance isn’t as good as GeForce Now or Xbox Cloud Gaming.

Where is PlayStation Plus available?

The new PlayStation Plus plans are now available in North America, Europe, Asia, and other regions across the world.

As for the cloud gaming features, they are only available in countries where PlayStation Now was previously 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 is available:

  • 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

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.

Here’s a quick roundup of the latest free PlayStation Plus games, plus the options from the past few months:

  • February 2024: Foamstars, Rollerdrome, Steelrising.
  • January 2024: A Plague Tale: Requiem, Evil West, Nobody Saves the World.
  • December 2023: Lego 2K Drive, Powerwash Simulator, Sable.
  • November 2023: Mafia II: Definitive Edition, Dragon Ball: The Breakers, Aliens Fireteam Elite.
  • October 2023: The Callisto Protocol, Farming Simulator 22, Weird West.
  • September 2023: Saints Row, Black Desert – Traveler Edition, Generation Zero.
  • August 2023: PGA Tour 2K23, Dreams, Death’s Door.
  • July 2023: Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War, Alan Wake Remastered, Endling – Extinction is Forever.

As for the more Game Pass-like libraries in PlayStation Plus Extra and up, it includes some heavy hitters such as Returnal, Death Stranding, Spider-Man, Spider-Man: Miles Morales, and God of War. In total, there are more than 400 games from both Sony and third-party developers.

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?

ps app dualsense
Adam Birney / Android Authority

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.

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.

If you’d like to stream PS Plus games directly from your console to your phone, PC, or laptop, you down do so using PS Remote Play.

PlayStation Plus alternatives

xbox game pass ultimate

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 four flavors: one limited catalog for consoles, one extended catalog for consoles, one for PC, and one that includes all that 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 $17 a month, and the two other plans run $10 a month each.

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 Amazon Luna. All games include the most complete experience, with all DLC unlocked. It costs $15 a month.

Other FAQs

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.

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.

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.

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 and PS Plus Extra catalogs will vary in what DLC they offer.

PlayStation Now will begin to 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.

Yes, if it’s on the same console under a family account. The sub-accounts under the 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.

The PS Plus Collection was a selection of PS4 hits that was previously included with PlayStation Plus, but was discontinued in May 2023.

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