PlayStation is preparing its own service to rival Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass, according to God of War creator David Jaffe.
While he hasn’t been a part of Sony since 2007, Jaffe says he’s heard from a number of sources within Sony that that Japanese gaming giant is developing a “counterpunch” to Game Pass.
The comments were made in a recent video published to his personal YouTube channel when Jaffe started discussing the somewhat negative public perception of current PlayStation boss Jim Ryan. Since assuming the role in 2019, Ryan has come under fire for an apparent lack of support for backwards compatibility, and, most recently, a reported push towards “safe” AAA sequels and remakes rather than a more diverse catalogue of games.
However, Jaffe used his new video to encourage gamers to give Ryan some credit.
“We had the guy on the show yesterday that had made the petition to fire Jim Ryan and I was like, ‘dude, that’s way premature’ because Jim Ryan doesn’t owe anybody, Sony doesn’t owe anybody, the truth about what’s coming and what their counterpunch to Game Pass is,” explained Jaffe.
“What I can tell you is I know they are doing some stuff because I know people at Sony who have told me that they are doing some stuff. There will be a response to Game Pass.”
As it stands, Jaffe acknowledges that he doesn’t know exactly what form this Game Pass rival would take. For context, Game Pass offers unlimited access to a catalogue of more than 200 games in a similar vein to Netflix, albeit that titles on consoles and PC are downloaded rather than streamed.
Further, Microsoft has promised all first-party Xbox games — that is, those published by Xbox Game Studios, such as Halo and Gears — will come to Game Pass on day one. On top of that, Game Pass offers streaming to Android devices (with support for iOS on the way) and the EA Play subscription service.
The closest analogue that Sony has to Game Pass is its PlayStation Now service, which offers access to more than 700 PlayStation 2, 3 and 4 games on PS4 and PC. That said, many of these games are older titles, while Xbox frequently has new first and third-party games like Outriders and MLB The Show 21 debut day one on Game Pass. Additionally, PS Now doesn’t have the added perks of mobile streaming or EA Play.
Over the past several months, though, PlayStation has brought some indie titles to its PlayStation Plus service on day one, such as Fall Guys, Bugsnax, Destruction AllStars and Oddworld: Soulstorm, but it’s done so much less frequently than Game Pass. In other unique cases, the company offers 20 free PS4 games to PS Plus subscribers on PS5, and 10 free PS4 games to everyone in response to those staying at home amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s worth noting, however, that Ryan himself has given somewhat mixed signals regarding a possible Game Pass-like PlayStation service. Last September, Ryan said a subscription model for PlayStation Studios first-party titles wouldn’t be sustainable given the big budgets attached to them.
That said, two months later he told TASS that “there is actually news to come, but just not today” when asked about how PlayStation will respond to Game Pass.
Whether this response might come in form of an expansion to PlayStation Plus and/or PlayStation Now (or some Game Pass Ultimate-like bundle of all three), or as a separately branded service entirely remains to be seen.
For his part, Jaffe says he worries that the service might just be a way “to emulate backwards compatibility, PS3, PS2, PS1 and then to also add Trophies, which is what that patent suggests they’re going to do, and they’re also going to fold in all the movies and shit and make a streaming service, he’s absolutely wrong if he thinks that mixing it with PS Now [is the way to go].”
However, he acknowledged that “I don’t know if that’s the case.”