Classic games will reportedly be ‘a major part’ of PlayStation’s Game Pass rival

PlayStation’s upcoming, in-development Game Pass competitor ‘Project Spartacus’ is “pretty close to actually launching,” according to a journalist.

Speaking on his premium Giantbomb show Grubbsnax (paywalled, transcribed by VGC), VentureBeat’s Jeff Grubb claimed to have obtained new information on Sony’s yet-to-be-announced subscription service.

“It’s probably getting pretty close to this actually launching, something’s probably going to happen by the end of this month and I don’t think that necessarily means publicly, I think in terms of the internal milestone of where the service needs to be,” Grubb said.

According to the journalist, Spartacus will be understood of three tiers priced at up to $16 a month.

“Right now they are called ‘essential’, ‘extra’ and ‘premium’,” Grubb claimed. “The pricing, again could be a placeholder, but the pricing is $10 a month for essential, $13 a month for extra and $16 a month for premium.”

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For comparison, Xbox Game Pass currently offers three tiers, the Ultimate tier, which is $10.99 / £10.99 per month and offers access to EA Play. The PC tier is $7.99/ £7.99 and offers access to the PC Game Pass, which is a limited selection of the console offering. The final tier, the Console tier is $7.99 / £7.99 per month and offers access to the Game Pass library, but not EA Play or cloud streaming.

Grubb went on to explain what he had heard players will get for each tier.

“For premium, $16 a month… do you get full games? Not really, kinda… it’s like EA Play. You get full game trials. I don’t know if that’s for every single game that comes out, but it seems like that.” Grubb said. While PlayStation has offered game trials in the past for certain titles, Grubb implies that all PlayStation first-party titles could offer these trials are part of the premium tier.

Grubb continued: “You also get classic games and streaming, none of the other tiers will have cloud streaming, you also get classic games.”

He then expanded: “I don’t know what classic games means, but I do know that it’s a major part of this premium tier. So you have game trials, classic games and streaming on this premium tier”. PlayStation has been the notable exception in recent years when it comes to providing access to its huge back catalog on modern platforms. While Xbox Series users can play certain games from as far back as the original Xbox, the PlayStation 5 can only play PlayStation 4 titles natively.

“For the extra tier, you get a ‘downloadable game catalogue’ anything on PSNow that was downloadable, seems like it would be in here” which Grubb has heard includes over “250, 300 games, something like that. You don’t get cloud streaming, but you do get 300 games you can download”.

PlayStation Now currently offers players hundreds of PS3 and PS4 games to stream, with PlayStation 4 games being available for download. PlayStation 3 games can only currently be played via streaming.

“Essential is PS Plus with the monthly games, just like you know it today.” Grubb explained. The current PlayStation Plus offering includes cloud saving, monthly free games and discounts. PlayStation players also need a PlayStation Plus in order to play games online. This doesn’t apply to free-to-play titles.

“Are there annual membership numbers for how much these things cost? I don’t know, I haven’t heard.” he said. Grubb also alluded to the fact that PlayStation has recently discontinued its PS Now retail cards in the UK.

According to an earlier report by Bloomberg, Sony’s new service is codenamed ‘Spartacus’ and will combine the current PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now services, phasing out the branding of the latter.

Bloomberg also said it expected the service to launch for PS4 and PS5 this spring and to be structured across three payment tiers.