Sony has announced target launch dates for its all-new three-tier PlayStation Plus service, giving us our best idea yet of when we’ll be able to start using the service.
In an update to the original announcement on the Official PlayStation Blog, Sony Interactive Entertainment President and CEO Jim Ryan states that they are “making fantastic progress with our launch efforts” and that they will be rolling out the service “slightly earlier in select Asian markets, followed by Japan.”
The post then goes on to list updated target release dates in four regions. These show that the rollout is taking place over several weeks, with Asian markets excluding Japan expected first in late May and Europe last in late June. The schedule is as follows:
- Asian markets (excluding Japan) – targeting from May 23, 2022
- Japan – June 1, 2022 targeting
- Americas – targeting June 13, 2022
- Europe – targeting June 22, 2022
Ryan also reveals that PlayStation will expand its cloud streaming access to Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Republic of Cyprus, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. This means cloud streaming is available in a total of 30 markets and Ryan confirms that these newly added markets will also have access to the Premium tier of PlayStation Plus at launch.
Ryan concludes the update by thanking the PlayStation community for their “continued support”, adding that there will be more to share about the service “as we get closer to launch”.
Analysis: what’s new?
The PlayStation Plus refresh was announced late last month, following a flurry of rumors that Sony was looking to launch something that would help it compete with Xbox’s Game Pass service.
The new PlayStation Plus is therefore essentially a merger of PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now and comes in three tiers: Essential, Extra and Premium. The Essential tier offers what PlayStation Plus currently offers for the same price: monthly games, online multiplayer, cloud storage and exclusive discounts.
The Extra tier costs a bit more and offers all the benefits of the Essential tier, but adds a catalog of up to 400 first and third-party PS4 and PS5 games to download and play.
Finally, Premium is the most expensive tier, with a monthly cost of $17.99 / €16.99 / £13.49 / ¥1,550. With Premium you get all the benefits of previous tiers plus 340 more games including PS3 titles via cloud streaming, games to stream and download from PlayStation, PS2 and original PSP generations , and time-limited try-before-you-buy trials.
Multiple tiers offering a progressively larger number of perks should help Sony appeal to a wide range of gamers, especially those looking to dive into older games that might be difficult to access.
Xbox Game Pass is proving a successful venture for Microsoft and, like Game Pass, Sony’s service will give subscribers access to a huge library of games to download and stream. However, one potentially significant point of difference is that, unlike Game Pass, PlayStation Plus won’t have new first-party versions on the service on day one of release.
It’s something Jim Ryan has previously said Sony isn’t looking to do, telling the PlayStation Podcast that “putting these games into a subscription service immediately upon release would break that virtuous circle, and we wouldn’t be able to to invest in the way that we’re currently able to. So, we’re not. We’re going to stick with the approach that we have that has served us well for many years now.
Sony’s newly announced target release dates are in line with its previously announced goal of having the service live in most territories “by the end of the first half of 2022”, so it looks like things are going to plan. .