Xbox Game Pass is simply a better value than PlayStation Now

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Download hundreds of titles

Xbox Game Pass

Game streaming on demand

PlayStation Now

Xbox Game Pass offers the most with Xbox Game Studio exclusives launching into the service and discounts on games in its catalogue. Because of this, it comes at a higher price.

$120/year at Amazon

Pros

  • Xbox Game Studios games launch onto service
  • All games can be downloaded
  • Can be bundled with Xbox Live Gold
  • Members get discounts on DLC for games in the service

Cons

  • $120/year
  • Fewer games

Choose whether to stream or download the games you want to play on your PS4 with PlayStation Now. Just know that your streaming quality may be at the mercy of your internet connection, for better or worse.

$60/year at Amazon

Pros

  • Only $60/year
  • Lets you stream or download games
  • Performance and reliability has improved over time
  • Includes, PS2, PS3, and PS4 games

Cons

  • Not all games can be downloaded
  • Single month subscription is $10
  • New Sony games don’t launch into the service
  • Can’t be bundled with PlayStation Plus

What’s the difference?

Xbox Game Pass (Microsoft) and PlayStation Now (Sony) are each its respective company’s answer to Netflix for games. In the case of Xbox Game Pass, no streaming is required, but both services are monthly subscriptions that give you access to a rotating catalog of hundreds of titles. Despite the similarities on the surface, there are a few key differences between Xbox Game Pass and PlayStation Now that set them apart from one another.

Category PlayStation Now Xbox Game Pass
Price $60/year or $10/month $120/year or $10/month
Number of games Over 800 Nearly 400
Download Only certain titles Yes (all games)
Streamable Yes No
Previous generation games Yes (PS2, PS3) Yes (Xbox, Xbox 360)
Available regions 19 countries 40 countries
Bundled with online service No Yes (Xbox Game Pass Ultimate)
PC support Yes Yes
Exclusives launch into service No Yes
Offers discounts on games No Yes

What these features mean to you

Why should you care whether you can stream or download games? What does it mean that Xbox Game Studios games launch into the service the day of their retail release? We’ll answer these questions for you and why they should matter when you consider buying either service.

Streaming vs. downloading

PlayStation Now lets players stream every game in its catalogue to PS4 or PC, but only about 300 of its over 800 games can be downloaded to PS4. In contrast, Xbox Game Pass is not a streaming service. Each game you want to play through Xbox Game Pass is downloaded onto your console, just like it would be if you bought the game digitally.

Downloading a game directly to your console will always yield a better result than streaming one. Imagine your day browsing Netflix and you’re in the middle of a binge, then the show starts buffering. Now imagine that but while playing a game. Maybe it doesn’t register your button presses right away or maybe it freezes altogether. Your streaming quality is dependent on your internet speeds, and you don’t have complete control over it.

Xbox exclusives launch into Xbox Game Pass

Xbox Game Studios family

Xbox Game Studios family

Source: Xbox

One of the main selling points of Xbox Game Pass, and what makes it such an attractive offer, is that Xbox exclusive games launch into the service the same day they launch at retail worldwide. That means for just $10/month, you could be playing a brand new $60 game without needing to shell out that kind of cash on it. This also goes for all exclusives published or developed by Xbox Game Studios. Gears 5? Launched into Xbox Game Pass. The Outer Worlds? Also launched into Xbox Game Pass. When Halo: Infinite comes out, you can be sure it’ll launch into Xbox Game Pass, too.

PlayStation Now, on the other hand, doesn’t offer anything close to this. Yes, there are over 100 PlayStation exclusives available on PlayStation Now, but they’re all several months or years old. Sony exclusive games do not launch into PlayStation Now.

Despite Xbox Game Pass clearly offering a better value when it comes to newer exclusive releases, its total library has about half the number of games that PlayStation Now does. PlayStation Now currently has over 800 games — including PS2, PS3, and PS4 titles — while Xbox Game Pass only has about 400 games including original Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.

Discounts on games

Even though you can download games with Xbox Game Pass, you don’t technically own them — you technically don’t truly own any games you buy, but that’s a whole other conversation. Regardless, whenever you choose to cancel your Xbox Game Pass subscription or just let it expire, you’ll lose access to every game you downloaded through it unless you bought them outright and paid full price.

There is a way around this. With Xbox Game Pass, members can save up to 20% on included games, and they also get discounts on DLC. If you buy a game using your Xbox Game Pass discount, you’ll still be able to play it after your subscription lapses.

Sony offers no equivalent discounts for PlayStation Now members, and you also lose access to any games you downloaded through PlayStation Now if your subscription ends and you haven’t bought them.

PC support

Stream PlayStation Now games on PC

Stream PlayStation Now games on PC

Source: PlayStation

PlayStation Now and Xbox Game Pass both support PC play, but Xbox Game Pass is far more reliable because games can be downloaded to PC. PlayStation Now only allows subscribers to stream games to their PC. On the flip side, all PlayStation Now games can be streamed to PC. Not every Xbox Game Pass game is available on PC.

Regional availability

Despite Sony being a Japanese company, its PlayStation Now service is lacking in its available regions. Xbox Game Pass is available in over twice as many countries around the world.

PlayStation Now: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States.

Xbox Game Pass: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Czech Rep, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Korea, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States.

Bundles

Microsoft and Sony both have premium online memberships called Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation Plus, respectively. These subscriptions give players access to online multiplayer and come with some added benefits like exclusive discounts and a couple of free games every month. Both cost $60/year.

Microsoft bundles Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Live Gold together into a package called Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. For a lot of people, it makes no sense buying two separate services when you could just bundle it up into one convenient package. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is $15/month, equivalent to $180/year, which is the exact amount you’d be spending on a year of Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Live Gold together. You’re not exactly saving any money, but Microsoft frequently offers deals on Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for those who have Xbox Live Gold and would like to upgrade.

Sony does not offer any bundles of PlayStation Now and PlayStation Plus. If you want to buy a year-long membership of PlayStation Now along with 12-months of PlayStation Plus, it’ll set you back $120. If you subscribe to PlayStation Now monthly instead, you’ll end up paying $120 for the entire year (at $10/month) plus an additional $60 if you buy PlayStation Plus.

Bottom line

When it comes to the value you’re getting, Xbox Game Pass easily bests PlayStation Now as a game subscription service. Every game is downloaded, new exclusive games launch into it, and it’s available in more countries. PlayStation Now is a good alternative if you’re looking to save money and want to play exclusive games, but it’s still an inferior service to Xbox Game Pass all things considered.

The best there is

Xbox Game Pass

King of the hill for now

Xbox Game Pass released as a terrific service and only continues to get better and better as Microsoft adds games to it. It might seem like a lot of money, but well worth the price given everything it offers. Bundle it up with Xbox Live Gold and you’re good to go.

Good but not great

PlayStation Now

PlayStation Now has some work to do

With its recent price drop it’s easy for me to recommend PlayStation Now to people, especially given some of the exclusive games Sony offers through it. However, it’s still playing catch up to Xbox Game Pass in terms of overall quality and value.

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