Rumors of Sony launching a new games subscription service for PlayStation that can rival Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass have been floating around for years, but credible reports actually put some truth to the project back in December.
Now, with some steam firing around the new service, codenamed Spartacus, Xbox head Phil Spencer weighed in, calling the launch of Sony’s Game Pass competitor “an inevitability.”
When speaking to IGN’s Ryan McCaffrey, Spencer claims this is less about proving that launching Game Pass was a good move and more that this method of delivering games to the players is how the industry will evolve as innovation continues.
“I don’t really look at it as validation. I actually, when I’m talking to our teams, I talk about it as an inevitability,” Spencer said. “So for us, we should continue to innovate, continue to compete, because the things that we’re doing might be advantages that we have in the market today, but they’re just based on us going first, not that we’ve created something that no one else can go create.”
Spencer, who has long tackled the issues surrounding games and their availability as time goes on, specifically noted Game Pass and the innovations it has helped bring on have helped the games industry work on new things, while also building on projects from the past.
Through Game Pass, Microsoft started publishing titles on PC and console simultaneously and now allows users to access hundreds of games, whether they are doing it from an Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC, or even through the cloud on mobile. And in this instance, it all came from building out backward compatibility on Xbox and wanting a way to get games to more players.
“I don’t mean it to sound like we’ve got it all figured out, but I think the right answer is allowing your customers to play the games they wanna play, where they wanna play them, and giving them choice about how they build their library, and being transparent with them about what our plans are in terms of our PC initiatives and our cross-gen initiatives and other things,” Spencer said. “So when I hear others doing things like Game Pass or coming to PC, it makes sense to me because I think that’s the right answer.”
In regard to Sony’s subscription service, which is reported as a three-tier model that will replace the current version of PlayStation Plus, Spencer says that he expects it to feature a PC skew and day one availability for Sony first-party titles.
It is true that Sony has slowly been porting some of its biggest hits from the PlayStation 4 era to PC, such as the recently released God of War, there has always been a significant delay between their console and PC releases. And the initial reports surrounding the Spartacus project claim that Sony isn’t expected to include its bigger game releases day-and-date on the finalized service.
This information could be dated and Sony might have shifted its priorities to driving subscriptions rather than operating the new subscription model and pushing for first-party sales, however, we won’t know more about the publishing plans or PlayStation backward compatibility until the service is officially announced.