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Sony details the game library for PlayStation Plus’ new high-end tiers

Sony has revealed the first games set to arrive with the launch of its new PlayStation Plus Extra and Premium subscriptions services, and it’s an impressive lineup. PlayStation Studios titles include Demon’s Souls (PS5) and Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut (PS4/PS5), along with third-party games like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla (PS4/PS5) and NBA 2K22 (PS4/PS5). Those games will arrive in the “launch time frame,” starting May 24th, according to Sony, on the PlayStation Plus Extra ($15/month) and Premium ($18/month) tiers.

Along with the main lineup, PlayStation Plus Premium members will get access to classic games “with some titles that will show improved frame rates and higher-quality resolution compared to their original launch versions,” Sony wrote. Some of those include Ape Escape, Hot Shots Golf, Tekken 2 and Worms Armageddon, along with remasters like Dark Cloud, Rogue Galaxy and Borderlands The Handsome Collection. Premium members will also get access to PS3 games like Infamous, Hot Shots and the Ratchet & Clank series.

As part of all that, Ubisoft announced that Ubisoft+ is coming to PlayStation Plus starting on May 24th. On top of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, titles arriving include The Division and For Honor, “as well as beloved classic games like Child of Light, Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon, Watch Dogs, Werewolves Within, and more,” Ubisoft wrote in its blog. Again, all of these titles will be available on the PlayStation Plus Extra and/or Premium tiers, but not the Essential ($10/month) plan.

Sony will also let Premium (aka Deluxe in certain regions) members get time-limited trials with two hours of gameplay available before purchasing. Some of those on offer include Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection, Horizon Forbidden West, Cyberpunk 2077 and Tiny Tina’s Wonderland

All tiers including Essential, Extra and Premium/Deluxe will see monthly games, much as you get right now on PlayStation Plus. “We have yet to announce the monthly games for June, but stay tuned to PS Blog,” Sony wrote. 

On top of all that, new games will be added regularly, with updates on the first Tuesday of the month for PlayStation Plus Essential, and in the middle of each new month for Extra and Premium/Deluxe plans. The service is launching in Asia on May 24th, followed by Japan on June 2nd, North and South America on June 13th and Europe, Australia and New Zealand on June 23rd. There’s more information available at the PlayStation Plus website and for a full list of games coming on launch, check Sony’s announcement post

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Sony reportedly plans to launch its answer to Xbox Game Pass this spring

Xbox Game Pass has been a hit for Microsoft, and it seems Sony is preparing to respond with its own version of an all-in-one game subscription service. The company is planning to merge PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now into a new offering, which is expected to debut this spring, according to Bloomberg.

The service, which is codenamed Spartacus, would likely be available on PS4 and PS5 for a monthly fee. It’s unclear whether players would be able to access it on other devices, though the report notes Sony is putting more resources into cloud gaming. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate allows players to delve into more than 100 Xbox titles via the cloud on , PC, phones and tablets. Microsoft plans to for TVs too.

It seems Sony will kill off PlayStation Now, but keep the PlayStation Plus branding. Sony may not yet have finalized how Spartacus will work, but there could be three tiers to the service. According to documents viewed by Bloomberg, the lowest tier would effectively be PlayStation Plus as it is now. The second level would add a “large catalog” of PS4 titles, with PS5 games joining later. The third and highest tier would include cloud gaming, expanded demos and, akin to , a bunch of older PS1, PS2, PS3 and even PSP games. However, those plans may not be set in stone.

It’s not clear whether Sony plans to bring its first-party exclusives to the service on their release date, as Microsoft does on Game Pass. Sony Interactive Entertainment president and CEO Jim Ryan that the company wouldn’t “go down the road of putting new release titles into a subscription model. These games cost many millions of dollars, well over $100 million, to develop. We just don’t see that as sustainable.”

But the landscape has shifted since Ryan’s remarks. For one thing, Microsoft bought Bethesda parent company ZeniMax Media this year. All of Bethesda’s games (save for a couple of timed PS5 console exclusives like ) are on Game Pass, and future Bethesda titles like might not come to PlayStation at all.

Although Game Pass would likely be Sony’s biggest competitor in the game subscription market, it’ll be up against several other major companies. and have subscription services, Amazon launched last year and to its existing plans. As for cloud gaming (a category Luna also falls into), there’s NVIDIA’s GeForce Now and Google Stadia, and even .

PlayStation Now was one of the earliest major game subscription services when it debuted in 2015, but it had a fairly tepid response. Players were only able to access PS Now games via the cloud until 2018, when they were able to to their console.

One of the biggest complaints we had about the service when was the lack of notable games. Since then, Sony has brought some big games like for a limited time.

By the end of Sony’s 2020 financial year, there were . Microsoft in January that it had 18 million Game Pass members. For that reason and many others, it’s a smart idea for Sony to go back to the drawing board and create a more robust subscription service. 

Much like Microsoft, Sony has started looking beyond PlayStation consoles to bring its games to new audiences. Over the last year or so, it released Horizon Zero Dawn and Days Gone on PC. A bundle of Uncharted 4 and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is coming to PC in early 2022, as is the 2018 reboot of God of War.

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A real Sony PlayStation challenger for Xbox Game Pass could be released shockingly soon

We’ve heard whispers of a potential PlayStation competitor to Xbox Game Pass in the past, but today we’re learning additional details about what such a service could look like. Sony, of course, already offers a game streaming service called PlayStation Now, but a new report suggests that Sony may roll that into a larger, multi-tiered service that offers more beyond just game streaming.

Sony’s answer to Game Pass may be right around the corner

Bloomberg reports today that Sony is working on a new Xbox Game Pass competitor code-named Spartacus. According to unnamed sources familiar with Sony’s plans, this new subscription service will be available on both PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5.

Leaked data suggests that when this streaming service launches, Sony plans to phase out the PlayStation Now brand. That doesn’t mean that game streaming will be going away, but that it’ll be offered by Sony through one of the subscription tiers for its new service. Sources familiar with the plans suggested that the first tier will simply include what’s already provided via PlayStation Plus – online multiplayer, a selection of free games each month, and discounts on certain games offered through the PlayStation Store.

It gets particularly interesting when we get into the details of the more expensive tiers that may include PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 games. The third and presumably most expensive tier would offer all of that on top of extended demos and game streaming along with a selection of PS1, PS2, PS3, and PSP games.

While the details concerning those different tiers immediately make us wonder how much each one will cost, insider sources have not yet revealed a pricing structure. We can assume that the bottom tier will cost $10 a month or $60 a year since that’s what PS Plus subscriptions run now, but that only gives us a pricing floor and can’t inform us on the potential cost of higher tiers.

Spartacus borrows ideas from more than just Game Pass

While Spartacus and Xbox Game Pass seem relatively similar in structure, Sony is also borrowing ideas from other publishers. For example, the extended demos that are said to be included in the third tier could be similar to what EA offers to EA Play members. A basic EA Play membership, which runs $4.99 a month or $30 a year, allows subscribers to play new releases for up to 10 hours in the days before they launch.

On the other hand, an EA Play Pro subscription ($14.99 per month) allows unlimited early access to the Premium Editions of certain new releases days ahead of release. When we hear that Spartacus will offer extended demos, EA Play is where our minds immediately jump.

Spartacus could be a big win for PlayStation. Sony certainly has the first-party library to drive subscriptions to the service, and support for PS1, PS2, and PS3 games could hook the people who have upgraded to PS5 but want an easy way to play older titles. Microsoft offers a variety of Xbox 360 and original Xbox games through Xbox Game Pass, which may have prompted Sony to do the same with old PlayStation games.

Insider sources speaking with Bloomberg (as noted above) suggest that Spartacus could launch as early as spring 2022, so it may not be much longer before we have official details. Given the popularity of Xbox Game Pass, one has to imagine that Sony is working on developing its own streaming service, so perhaps a Spartacus reveal is more a question of “when?” than “if?” We’ll let you know when Sony reveals any concrete details, if it does at all.

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PS5 side plate patent might mean Sony is ready for official custom parts

Ever since the world collectively realized that the plates on the sides of the PlayStation 5 could be removed, there’s been some degree of demand for custom fits and DIY alternatives. Several companies have to capitalize on that demand early only to meant with threats of litigation by Sony, and now we may know why. A Sony patent for PS5 side plates was made public this week. This may suggest that the company plans to offer custom plates of its own.

Official PS5 replacement plates on the way?

The design patent, which was first discovered by the folks over at OP Attack, is brief and to the point, as most design patents are. It mostly consists of illustrations showing off the PlayStation 5’s side plates from several angles. The final illustration in the patent shows the plates attached to a PS5 console.

The full text associated with the patent tells us that Sony filed for it on November 5th, 2020 – just a few days before the PlayStation 5 launched – but it wasn’t published on the USPTO’s website until November 16th. The claim for the patent is short and sweet, describing, “The ornamental design for a cover for electronic device, as shown and described.”

All told, the patent itself is to the point, but the illustrations make it very clear what we’re talking about here. Sony has, essentially, patented the side plates on the PlayStation 5, opening the door to not only launching custom plates itself, but also to potential licensing deals for third-party companies to create and sell their own.

Sony snuffs out unauthorized custom plates

Of course, we’ve known since the very first PlayStation 5 teardown that not only are the side plates on the PS5 removable but taking them off is necessary as the M.2 expansion slot and dust vents are housed underneath. The moment we saw those side plates come off, many of us assumed that we’d see custom plates before long, but a year out from release, there’s still a notable lack of them.

That’s not because companies haven’t tried. We’ve seen at least a couple of companies try their hand at offering custom PS5 plates only to be shut down by Sony. One company, named Platestation at the time, started selling its plates before the PS5 even launched. It was later forced to cancel orders after threats of legal action from Sony, once again before the PS5 was on store shelves.

Skin maker Dbrand also entered the fray with an offering called Darkplates but was forced to pull those under legal threat from Sony as well. After the original Darkplates vanished, Dbrand came back with a new version that featured an original design that trimmed down the overall size of the plates and added vents for better airflow. Darkplates are still available on Dbrand’s website, with the company as insistent as ever that these are legal, original designs that it can’t be sued over.

The fact that Sony has patented the PS5’s plates could potentially make the path to market easier for these companies through licensing agreements. Of course, the big question is whether or not Sony will offer those licensing agreements or simply opt to make its own custom faceplates. Hopefully, now that this patent is out in the open, it won’t be much longer before we find out.

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Sony reveals PS5’s top 10 games in year one

Don’t look now, but the PlayStation 5 is officially one-year-old today. That milestone may be difficult to believe for many people, as PlayStation 5 consoles seem just as hard to find now as they were on day one. In any case, Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan is marking the PS5’s first anniversary by recapping the year and revealing the ten most-played games on the platform.

A busy year for PlayStation

Before getting to the games, Ryan did something of a year-in-review for the PlayStation 5 and Sony as a whole. A big topic, of course, was that of Sony’s acquisitions, as it would have to be. Sony made several acquisitions this year, picking up Returnal developer Housemarque; Bluepoint Games, which remade Demon’s Souls for PS5; and Nixxes, a studio that will likely be helping Sony port more games to PC in the future.

So, from an acquisition standpoint, Sony made some pretty big moves this year. Indeed, earlier this year, the company went on quite the buying spree, but that seems to have calmed down a little bit in recent months.

In addition to these acquisitions, Ryan also covered the PS5 exclusives released this year, namely Returnal, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, and Deathloop. In all, Ryan says that 360 games have been launched on PS5 so far, as well as reiterating that PlayStation Studios’ various development houses have more than 25 games in development at the moment.

PS5’s 10 most-played games for year one

Ryan then revealed the top ten games for PlayStation 5’s first year, ranked by total gameplay hours. It probably won’t surprise anyone to learn that Fortnite took the top spot, followed by Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, FIFA 21, NBA 2K21, and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla for the rest of the top five.

Destiny 2 began the latter half of the list, joined by MLB The Show 21, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Demon’s Souls, and finally NBA 2K22. There are two PlayStation exclusives on the list in Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Demon’s Souls, though there are three PlayStation Studios games as Sony was also responsible for MLB The Show 21 – a series that made its way to other platforms for the first time this year.

Some key exclusives didn’t make it on the list, with Returnal and Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart both absent. Their absence is understandable, as Ryan said the top ten were ranked by total gameplay time. Many of the games on the list are live service games that are meant to be played consistently over long periods of time. By comparison, a 20 hour game like Rift Apart probably isn’t going to get as much total gameplay, excellent though it may be.

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PS5 restock bad news as Sony makes a tough call

It’s not a secret that the PlayStation 5 is an in-demand console. Nearly a year out from release, PlayStation 5 stock is still sparse to the point where restocks are highly contested events; mad scrambles where available stock is snatched up in minutes. There’s a global silicon shortage at the center of these stock issues, and while we’ve known that things probably won’t get better for a long time yet, today we’re learning of the direct impact the shortage is having on PS5 production.

Sony lowers its PS5 production forecast

As reported by Bloomberg, Sony has dropped its PS5 production forecast for the current fiscal year to 15 million units, down from 16 million. That’s not a huge drop in the grand scheme, but it’s enough to complicate things for Sony, which was hoping to sell 14.8 million PS5 units in the fiscal year and have some supply left over for the next.

With production estimates now down to 15 million – according to an anonymous source who spoke to Bloomberg – meeting that goal of 14.8 million units sold might be difficult even though consoles are seemingly selling as fast as they’re being produced. As Bloomberg points out, the PS5 had a strong start out of the gate, but now its sales pace has dropped below that of the PlayStation 4 because of these supply issues.

It seems like Sony’s manufacturing partners don’t anticipate this getting better any time soon either, with Bloomberg reporting that some of them believe PS5 supply will be limited throughout 2022. Even though a lot of us have been hoping that the silicon shortage and, by extension, hardware stock shortages would end soon, Sony’s partners aren’t alone in suggesting they could last well into next year.

Stock shortages at a crucial time

Of course, these stock shortages sting a little more when you remember that we’re about to enter the holiday shopping season. This is a major sales period for companies like Sony, and there are going to be a lot of consumers looking to buy consoles for the holidays. With Sony reportedly revising its production forecast for the rest of the year, PS5s could get even harder to find as we head into winter.

Sony isn’t the only one that’s been forced to revise production forecasts in the wake of the parts shortage. Earlier this month, Nintendo officially confirmed revisions to its own stock forecast, so we can likely expect Switch consoles to be in short supply during the holidays as well. The Xbox Series X has been equally as difficult to find as PS5, and just yesterday, Valve had to delay the launch of its incoming Steam Deck by two months to accommodate a shortage of materials.

In short: it’s going to be a sparse holiday season for consoles, so if you were hoping to buy one, it’s probably best to start seriously looking now. If you want to better your chances at getting one of these in-demand consoles, you can check our tips guide for securing one. Otherwise, we’ll let you know when these companies provide us an update on when they expect supply constraints to ease, but judging by all of the reports we’ve seen lately, we wouldn’t count on that happening anytime soon.

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Sony reportedly cuts PS5 production again as chip shortages and shipment issues bite

Sony’s PlayStation 5 may not be able to beat the PS4’s first year sales record due to an ongoing component shortage, according to Bloomberg. The company has reportedly cut its previous production forecast of 16 million down to 15 million, putting its target of 14.8 million PS5 sales by March in jeopardy, if the report is accurate. It also makes a bad situation worse in terms of consumers being able to pick up a PS5 over the holidays. 

Sony is supposedly having trouble with not just parts supply but shipping logistics as well, according to Bloomberg‘s sources. The problems are due in part to uneven vaccine rollouts in nations where Sony builds chips, and shortages of essential parts like power chips.

The situation has affected other console makers like Nintendo and even affected the launch of an entirely new console, Valve’s Steam Deck — pushing the date back until some time in 2022. It’s got to the point that publishers are reportedly saying that sales are gradually shifting over to PC versions of games due to a lack of consoles.

March is still a long ways off, so Sony might still be able to pull off the sales record goal. But it’s rather ominous that this report is arriving just ahead of Christmas, so if you’re looking for a PS5 as a gift and see an opportunity to get one, better snap it up quick. 

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Sony has sold 13.4 million PS5s

Sony’s PlayStation 5 sales remain relatively steady and strong, despite widespread supply shortages, with 3.3 million units sold in fiscal Q2 compared to 2.2 million last quarter. That brought total sales up to 13.4 million units, Sony announced. Game sales were also up significantly at 76.4 million units compared to 63.6 million in the previous quarter, due in large part to third-party sales.

All told, this amounted to a healthy 27 percent boost in gaming revenue to 645.4 billion yen ($5.68 billion). However, operating income of 82.7 billion yen ($728 million) was down compared to last quarter by 3.4 billion yen ($29 million). Sony’s fiscal year ends on March 31, 2022.

So how can profit be lower when sales and revenue are up? While Sony did sell more games last quarter, first-party titles dropped very significantly, from 10.5 million last quarter to 7.6 million in Q2. That was offset in numbers by third-party games, but those don’t tend to be as profitable. Both Microsoft and Sony have acquired gaming studios to boost their Xbox/PS first-party titles, but Microsoft has been more prolific in that regard. 

And while PS5 sales were up, PS4 units dropped considerably, down to just 200,000 from a half a million the quarter before. Other factors that Sony mentioned are a “loss resulting from strategic price points for PS5 hardware that were set lower than manufacturing costs.” That means that Sony may have sold the PS5 with minimal or negative profits this quarter as it attempted to navigate around chip shortages. However, in August, the company said it was no longer selling the PS5 at a loss. 

Despite the drop in quarterly income, Sony’s gaming division appears to be on pretty solid footing. In its August earnings call, Sony CFO Hiroki Totoki told investors that its PS5 sales target is set higher than the 14.8 million unit sales achieved by the PlayStation 4 in its first year. Based on today’s figures, PS5 sales are closely tracking that trajectory.

The company also said at the time that it had secured enough components for 22.6 million units sold by March 2022. That would be enough to meet its sales projections, but if sales really explode during the holidays, it may not have a lot of margin for error — meaning shortages could continue through next year. 

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Sony test lets some PS5 owners quickly share screenshots and clips via mobile

Sony has tweeted that it’s testing a beta that will let PS5 players share screenshots and clips via smartphone using the PlayStation app. That will match functionality the Xbox has offered for a while now, though so far, Sony is only testing it in a limited release. 

One you turn it on, the new feature will automatically upload captures to the cloud. You’ll then be able to access them on the PlayStation app for 14 days to save on your camera roll, share on social media, or send to PSN friends and parties. It should be less clunky than the current system of direct sharing from the console. 

On top of screenshots taken from the Create Menu or Create button shortcuts, you can share gameplay videos under three minutes in length up to 1080p (not 4K). For screenshots and videos to be auto-uploaded, make sure you’ve linked your PS5 console to the PlayStation app. It also needs to be left in rest mode and have the “Stay Connected to the Internet” setting enabled. For more details, check Sony’s (region-locked) article.  

The update is now available in Canada and Japan only, and as with other beta features, “may not make it into the final version or may see significant changes,” Sony notes. However, it seems as likely as any new feature to come out of beta, so hopefully it will be released to everyone soon. 

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Dbrand stops selling PS5 faceplates after Sony issues legal threats

It’s not just small companies facing Sony’s wrath over aftermarket PlayStation 5 faceplates. Dbrand told The Verge it stopped selling its PS5 “Darkplates” after Sony issued a cease-and-desist letter earlier in the year threatening legal action over alleged design and trademark violations. Visit Dbrand’s product page now and you’ll only see links to news stories and testimonials.

Dbrand isn’t going down quietly. In a Reddit thread, the company claimed it was submitting to the “terrorists’ demands… for now.” It believed customers had the right to modify hardware with third-party components, and speculated that Sony might be clamping down so that it can either sell its own covers or charge licensing fees. The company didn’t definitively say it planned to resume sales, but did say it would “talk soon.”

Whatever Dbrand’s intentions, this takes away a major option (though not your only option) for customizing the PS5. The question is whether or not Sony can completely halt third-party faceplate sales. After all, the faceplates are designed to be easily removable and aren’t much more than plastic sheets. Dbrand likened this to replacing a broken F-150 truck bumper with an aftermarket part — you have the right to choose the parts you use for fixes or cosmetic upgrades, and Ford can’t sue simply because you’re using an unofficial bumper. It won’t be surprising if there’s an eventual court battle over Sony’s policy.

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