Screens x
They keypad on a PS controller
Illustration by Laura Wood, The Ohio State University

Be ready for a huge number of extras.

For a long time, Sony was known for allowing games to be played online on their PlayStation systems at no additional cost to gamers. Online multiplayer games, such as those within the Call of Duty franchise, were free to play once a person purchased the game license itself. This was wildly different from how Microsoft ran the Xbox’s online features, which came at an additional (monthly) cost.

This all changed in 2013 when Sony announced the PlayStation 4 along with a brand-new PlayStation Plus subscription that would be required for players who wanted to game online with their friends. At the time of release, the subscription was available at three different price points: $9.99 for one month, $17.99 for three months or $49.99 for a year. This subscription would allow PlayStation players unlimited online access to any game that they owned, as well as some additional “PlayStation Plus” exclusive offers.

Over the last nine years, PlayStation has deviated little from its original subscription model. In fact, in 2021, the price points were only increased slightly, with one month costing $9.99, three months costing $24.99 and a yearly subscription costing $59.99. Coupon-savvy gamers could snag a yearly subscription for only $39.99 during Black Friday, saving them an extra $20 annually. This subscription would get players three free monthly games, including big titles such as God of War or FIFA 22, as well as online play and game discounts.

On June 13, Sony launched an “all-new PlayStation Plus” that is broken down into three separate membership tiers. Each tier includes more features than the last, but the additional benefits also come with a price increase; however, for serious gamers, the increased price might be worth it in the end.

The new PlayStation Plus is separated into three separate tiers, all of which are set at different price points:

First Tier: PlayStation Plus Essential

PlayStation Plus Essential is the cheapest option, and it is the original PlayStation Plus that gamers have had since 2013. The subscription gives players access to online play, free monthly games, member-exclusive discounts, cloud storage and more. PlayStation Plus Essential also comes with the brand-new PlayStation Plus Collection, which allows PS5 players to play a curated selection of PS4 games at no additional cost. This tier sticks to the original pricing of PlayStation Plus, with one-month ringing in at $9.99 or $59.99 for the entire year. This version is intended for casual gamers — those who have been playing online and don’t feel like they need any additional games or benefits.

Second Tier: PlayStation Plus Extra

PlayStation Plus Extra is the middle option, and it’ll cost you either $14.99 a month or $99.99 for an entire year. These price points can already feel a bit high for those who were used to paying the Essential price (especially for those who were accustomed to getting the Black Friday deal) and don’t feel the need for more gaming. But PlayStation Plus Extra does come with a handful of cool benefits.

The biggest reason to purchase the all-new subscription service is the game catalog, an extensive collection of games that are free-to-play for subscribers. While some are still exclusive to the Premium subscription, there are still a lot of options for those that go with the PlayStation Plus Extra level. Some games that may sway gamers include Bloodborne, Fallout 4, Red Dead Redemption 2 and Uncharted 4. This is just a handful of popular games that showcase the variety in the catalog, and gamers are encouraged to browse through all the offered games before making their purchase.

And on top of all of that, there is still one more addition to the tier: Extra members will get access to the Ubisoft plus collection. This is an entirely different service that has been available to PC players, offering them hundreds of Ubisoft titles at the price of $14.99 a month. This collaboration with PlayStation is reminiscent of Microsoft’s ongoing partnership with Electronic Arts, which allows Xbox Game Pass subscribers to get automatic access to EA Play.

Third Tier: PlayStation Plus Premium

The top tier of the service is PlayStation Plus Premium; this level comes at the price of $17.99 a month or $119.99 a year. It is unknown if the Premium or Extra levels will run any subscription deals later in the year once the holiday season begins. The price might seem extreme, however, the benefits of this service are extensive. Not only do PlayStation Plus Premium members get access to all the things that the prior two levels get, but they also get access to a much bigger games catalog, the ability to cloud stream games and in-game trials for new and upcoming games.

One of the biggest selling points for the Premium subscription is the Classics catalog. This is a catalog of some of PlayStation’s oldest games (and a lot of PS3 ones!), which is an amazing offer for those who missed out on the games in the past. When the PS4 was released, Sony stated it would not be able to backward play, meaning you could not play any games from prior systems on the new one. When the PS5 came out, Sony made a slight adjustment to this, allowing PS4 games to be compatible with the newest system. However, this still does not help those who are missing the PS3 or earlier games. This is where the Classics catalog comes in — it even has a handful of PS1 games. Premium subscribers get to cloud stream a selection of PS games to a compatible PC, which allows gamers to play at almost any time, regardless of where their system is. And Premium members are given access to game trials; major companies will allow players to get early access to demos of new games, creating a testing community, as well as rewarding the highest paying players with some of the most exclusive content.

No matter if you are a casual, dedicated or extreme gamer, there is something for you in the all-new PlayStation Plus memberships. Gamers can compare the three options directly on their website before deciding. Happy gaming!

Writer Profile

Janey Schmidt

Columbia College Chicago
Bachelor of Arts in English

I have always been an avid reader no matter the format. I am especially eager to read, write, and talk about all things fantasy!

Leave a Reply