Sony is launching its new PlayStation Plus in India next week. The update brings the service in four tiers, namely Essential, Extra, Deluxe, and Premium. While the Essential is the base version, Deluxe and Premium are the top tiers — depending on which market you are in. The new PlayStation Plus is aimed to help Sony increase its revenues. It is also to better compete against Microsoft's Xbox Game Pass — a similar multi-tier service specifically designed for gamers on Xbox.
On this week's episode of Gadgets 360 podcast Orbital, host Akhil Arora speaks with industry insider Rishi Alwani and video game enthusiast Pranay Parab — both former Gadgets 360 teammates — to talk about the new PlayStation Plus and the growing market of game subscription services that already has Xbox Game Pass as a leading name.
We start the conversation to discuss the benefits gamers will get with the new PlayStation Plus service. Sony is introducing it in India on June 22.
However, instead of considering India as a part of the Asian rollout, the Japanese company has taken the country in Europe to schedule the release of the new service.
"From a consumer behaviour perspective, or the buying habits and playing habits, India is more in line with the Western market," Rishi says. "It's also because the arm of Sony that actually took an inkling to India and the Middle East was Sony Computer Entertainment of Europe, which was basically also known as Ski London essentially."
He also adds that the other reason why Sony considered India as a part of Europe is the fact that the country is a "PAL territory" — meaning it is based on the PAL colour encoding system.
The new PlayStation Plus has three different tiers to pick from in a particular market. The Deluxe tier is available in markets where cloud streaming is not available, while the Premium version is meant for markets with cloud streaming.
India is getting the Deluxe tier as cloud streaming by Sony is not yet available.
"I feel that they made a mistake by these multiple tiers," Pranay says.
He also sees that the annual plan that goes up to Rs. 5,749 for the PlayStation Plus Deluxe is a fairly expensive purchase.
Unlike Sony, Microsoft offers Xbox Game Pass under a trial offer to attract gamers. The Redmond company also runs promotional offers and discounts on a regular basis to convince Xbox users to pick the subscription-based service. Moreover, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate — the top-end tier of the service — is available with access to EA Play, which brings access to a list of titles from Electronic Arts (EA).
However, Xbox Game Pass has its limitations as well.
"The biggest issue with Game Pass is Microsoft India itself and Xbox supply in India itself, which is a running joke at this point," Rishi says.
In addition to Sony and Microsoft, the market of game subscription services has added publishers including EA and Ubisoft with their respective offerings. It's similar to how over-the-top (OTT) players including Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are fighting against each other.
We talk about where the market will go in the future, given we have subscription services alongside major AAA releases. The discussion also revolves around whether it's worth getting the new PlayStation Plus.
You can listen to all this by hitting the play button on the Spotify player embedded above.
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