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Why Sony Faces an Uphill Battle to Beat Xbox Game Pass

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After the success of its long-awaited PS5 launch, Sony has turned its eyes to a different fight: subscription-based gaming.

In 2022, rumors are flying that Sony is to launch PlayStation Spartacus, a subscription-based service that offers access to its extensive game library.

Here’s what PlayStation Spartacus is and why its rival, the Xbox Game Pass, may be a tough contender.

What Is PlayStation Spartacus?

According to a Bloomberg.com report, we can expect PlayStation Spartacus to launch in Spring 2022. A new subscription-based gaming service, PlayStation Spartacus would combine Sony’s existing subscription services, PS Plus and PS Now.

Additionally, PlayStation Spartacus will include tiers with access to legacy games for its earlier console generations, such as the PS1, PS2, PS3, and PS4.

Related: PlayStation Spartacus Rumored to Rival Xbox Game Pass: What We Know So Far

Aside from merging existing services, one way that PlayStation Spartacus can match Xbox’s Game Pass, or even exceed it, lies in a cloud-based gaming patent Sony filed in 2020.

Referred to as game slicing, Sony filed a patent which lets users easily share portions of their saved games and allows viewers to play with the sliced content, essentially creating easily shared, interactive experiences.

While Sony has yet to confirm if this new technology will be available for its latest subscription service, it could offer Spartacus the steam it needs to beat its rival, Xbox’s Game Pass.

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Why Xbox Game Pass Is Hard to Beat

Two controllers next to a phone displaying Activision Blizzard's logo
Image Credit: Sergei Elagin/Shutterstock.com

In January 2022, the Xbox Game Pass marked 25 million subscribers after only five years since its launch. Available in over 40 countries, Xbox Game Pass subscribers enjoy unlimited access to over 100 games across multiple platforms; mobile, console, and PC.

In addition, Microsoft recently announced its intent to acquire Activision Blizzard for $95 per share or $68.7 billion, inclusive of Activision Blizzard’s net cash. Activision Blizzard is home to iconic gaming franchises such as Warcraft, Diablo, Overwatch, Call of Duty, and more.

Related: Microsoft Acquires Activision Blizzard to Make Xbox Game Pass Even Better

If regulatory bodies allow the deal to push through, Sony’s PlayStation Spartacus won’t just be contending with the current line-up of Xbox exclusives, it will also have to compete with titles from Activision Blizzard. In addition, Activision Blizzard will bring in nearly 400 million monthly active players from over 190 countries.

Don’t forget, Microsoft also bought out Bethesda in 2021, so Game Pass will benefit from exclusive and/or priority content from that publisher, too. It already has a significantly better selection of Bethesda titles than PS Now for that exact reason.

Does Sony’s Spartacus Stand a Chance Against Game Pass?

Through Activision Blizzard’s planned acquisition, Microsoft will become the world’s third-largest gaming company. However, it still falls behind Sony in-terms of overall revenue.

So, while launching a competing gaming subscription pass may be a challenge, Sony still has a few cards up its sleeve that it can pull. However, only time will tell if it will be able to make up for the amount of content that Microsoft holds in its hand.


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