Project Spartacus: everything we know about PlayStation's answer to Game Pass

Sony is reportedly gearing up to unleash its Xbox Game Pass rival, code-named Project Spartacus. 

The new game subscription service is set to replace PS Plus, which currently offers a handful of free monthly games and the ability to play multiplayer online. It's been a long time coming, with Microsoft ditching its old Xbox Live Gold model for its tiered Game Pass subscription service years ago. While PlayStation exclusives have continued to be the focal point for Sony, it can't ignore Game Pass forever. 

With early access, game trials, and brand new titles hitting Game Pass at launch, the whole ecosystem makes gaming more affordable. Paired with the cheaper Xbox Series S, development of Cloud Gaming, and Xbox All Access that lets you pay for the Xbox Series X|S in installments, Microsoft has removed a lot of the financial barriers associated with buying a new console and playing the latest games.

While Sony hasn't confirmed plans for Project Spartacus, rumors have been flying around for months. So let's dig in to see what may be announced and what a PlayStation Game Pass might look like.

Project Spartacus: release date

Ratchet and Clank Rift Apart PS5 game deals

(Image credit: Insomniac Games)

According to the latest rumor, Sony could announce Project Spartacus as early as this week. Sources close to the project have apparently spilled the beans with Bloomberg's Jason Schreier.

The new subscription service is set to debut with a lineup of some of PlayStation's biggest hits from the past few years. If and when Sony does reveal Project Spartacus, it will likely do it at a State of Play event, the company's irregular deep dive streams. If it does materialize this week, fans won't be given much of a heads up in advance, that that is is keeping with the form, Sony often reveals its streams within a week of their broadcast. 

If we don't get the official announcement this week, it's not far off – if the sources are to be believed.   

Project Spartacus: price

At present, Sony offers two subscription services: PS Plus and PS Now. PS Plus lets you play online, gives you a handful of free games every month including PS4, PS5, and PSVR games, and offers members exclusive discounts and content. There's also 100GB of cloud storage thrown in, along with the Share Play feature. 

Meanwhile, PS Now lets you download or stream from a collection of PS4, PS3, and PS2 games on PS5, PS4, and Windows PC. New games are added each month. 

You can opt for a one, three, or a 12-month subscription for either service. PS Plus comes in at $9.99 / £6.99 / AU$11.95 for one month, $24.99 / £19.99 / AU$33.95 for three months, and $59.99 / £19.99 / 79.95 for an annual membership.

PS Now is priced at $9.99 / $24.99 / $59.99 for one, three, and 12-month options in the US. UK pricing is £8.99 / £22.99 / 49.99 for the same increments. Australia and New Zealand don't have access to the service.  

Project Spartacus would effectively roll both PS Now and PS Plus into one all-encompassing service. 

Uncharted protagonist Nathan Drake sitting on a motorbike with his brother

(Image credit: Naughty Dog / Sony)

Gamesbeat claims to have more insight, saying PlayStation's revamped subscription will feature three tiers called Essential, Extra, and Premium – although these names may not be final. 

Essential is basically what we know as PS Plus today, while the additional two tiers ass some bells and whistles. The prices mentioned are in US dollars, and while we've approximate regional pricing, it's unlikely to be a straight conversion.   

The outlet has listed the main features, but presumably things like Share Play, and cloud saves will also be carried over.

  • PS+ Essential - $10 / £7.65 / AU$13.30
    • Free monthly games
  • PS+ Extra - $13 / £9.90 / AU$17.35
    • Free monthly games
    • Library of older games (like PS Now)
  • PS+ Premium - $16 / £12.20 / $21.35
    • Free monthly games
    • Library of older games (like PS Now)
    • Game streaming
    • Library of 'classic' games
    • Game trials (like EA Play and likely limited)

Project Spartacus: rumors

We first got wind of the purported existence of Project Spartacus last December, courtesy of Bloomberg's Jason Schreier again. The launch date for the service was tipped for spring 2022, which is any time from March to May. 

Schreier reported that the new subscription service would feature three tiers. The base-level will offer the same benefits as the current PS Plus. The second includes the ability to download games from a huge library of ]PlayStation titles. The final tier would tick those boxes as well as access to classic PS1, PS2, and PSP games. 

It didn't seem likely that Sony planned to include day-one access to new titles, but with Microsoft ramping things up a notch with its Activision acquisition, the new PS Plus needs to pull out all the stops. 

As well as Project Spartacus, it's rumored that Sony could be dropping two more announcements alongside it. It would make for an interesting State of Play – here's what we want to see

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