Games Inbox: Is PS Plus Extra better than Xbox Game Pass?

Is Game Pass even a fair comparison? (pic: Microsoft)

The Thursday letters page wonders what games will be revealed at Star Wars Celebration, as one reader hopes for Crash Bandicoot 5.

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Explain the numbers
To be honest, I think Sony has handled the unveiling of the new PlayStation Plus pretty well. They knew that their detractors would act as if no day one first party games was some massive surprise or betrayal, so they helped leak the information early (I believe) and then just announced the basics on Tuesday.

There is a lot of detail to come but to me I think they’ve done what they need to in order to start the conversation. It’s a shame PS Plus Extra isn’t a little cheaper, but if it really does have 400 decent PlayStation 4 and 5 games then that is very impressive. Although if that turns out to be 350 indie games and two first party games then obviously it’s not quite what it’s being implied to be at the moment.

I’m going to assume Sony aren’t that stupid though and that actually most first party games that are more than two years old will be on there, which is a lot of games and far higher in quality than Xbox’s exclusives. If Sony announces a rule to that effect, I think that will be the clincher for me that Extra is actually better than Game Pass.

Devilish questions
So the details of the new tiered PS Plus have been announced and as someone wrote, the basic outline seemed to have leaked early to keep everyone’s expectations in check.

I can’t help but feel announcing it via a blog instead of a livestream, while simultaneously releasing an interview with Jim Ryan where he categorically states he doesn’t see services such as Game Pass/PS Plus Extra as the future for gaming, kind of tells you Sony aren’t as behind the service as Microsoft but it’s good that Game Pass has a more visible competitor.

I am interested in the Extra or Premium tiers if it means I can play PlayStation 5 games streamed to my PC but the devil is in the detail. How long after launch will PlayStation 5 games come to the service and will they be rotated out like with PS Now?
DarKerR (gamertag)

GC: All good questions, for which there are currently no answers.

Streaming trigger
I nearly pulled the trigger last week on a PlayStation 5 purchase but decided to resist for the moment. I was wondering whether this new tier of PlayStation Plus will actually rival Game Pass for AAA games day one?

If I could stream PlayStation 5 games to my PlayStation 4 or PC, I’d definitely be interested. I remember being told that would never happen with the Xbox Series X/S games on Xbox One, but here we are in a world where you can do just that. In fact, despite owning an Xbox Series S, I quite often now just stream the games – especially Flight Simulator which otherwise has a really irritating update system.

GC: The new PlayStation Plus won’t have any game day one, unless Sony makes a deal for a third party title – as Microsoft occasionally does.

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Now then
My expectations for the PlayStation version of Game Pass were low, but for me personally if anything they’ve taken PS Now and made it worse.

I have no interest in multiplayer gaming. The games also sound like the same 700 already on PS Now, just with a few PlayStation 5 ones which you’d assume were coming anyway.

So they’ve essentially taken a £8.99 service and made it £10.99 to £13.49.

If they made some sort of commitment to when new games would be added that would have been nice. Overall it just seems like a rebrand and price rise.

GC: PS Plus Extra has 400 games that are only PlayStation 4 and 5, while Premium has 340 games that are only PS1 through 3 (and PSP). Most people are only going to go for Extra, which has nothing to do with PS Now or streaming.

Seeking closure
There’s a game that used to terrify me when I was younger and with all the Amiga talk, I’d love to know what it was so I can try it now and hopefully move on with my life.

It was side-scrolling and The Apprentice music was playing. Right at the start there were bats and when you got hit you fell to your knees and turned to dust.

Does this ring any bells for anyone?
Dancin’ n’ Shootin’

GC: Prokofiev’s Dance of the Knights on the Amiga? That doesn’t ring a bell for us.

Lots to celebrate
GC mentioned there have only been four Star Wars games in the last nine years, but I think we’re due a whole bunch of announcements shortly, aren’t we? Fallen Order 2 has been an open secret for ages and Eclipse by the Heavy Rain team had a really good trailer that showed they must’ve done quite a bit of work on it.

Then you’ve got the Knights Of The Old Republic remake, and three (!) Respawn games. That is a lot and you’ve got that Star Wars Day celebration coming up soon, so surely we’ll see at least some of those then?

The one I’m most looking forward to is the Ubisoft one, not because I think all that highly of Ubisoft but because it’s meant to be bounty hunter related and as many have said we are long overdue that kind of game. The problem is that that one seems the furthest out, so we’re still going to be waiting an eternity for that one.

GC: Fallen Order 2 is almost certainly going to be announced at the Star Wars Celebration in May, and the Ubisoft one is almost certainly not. We’d also expect to see the Knights Of The Old Republic remake, but we’d be less certain about Eclipse. The status of the Respawn games is impossible to guess at.

Turned off
I bought a Wii U for the kids to play on the tablet screen. I thought all the games worked with it, but they mostly seem to use the TV. I’m mostly asking about the Lego games.

Am I missing a trick or is TV the only way to go? Mario games all use it so I’m a bit confused.

GC: Only games that specifically support Off-TV Play can be played without needing a TV. There’s a list of them here.

An ordinary delay
I feel there’s nothing Nintendo can do at the moment that doesn’t have them being accused of getting ready for the Switch 2. The Switch is obviously getting on a bit but it’s not old and while sales have dipped it’s by only a very small amount. Personally I don’t see a full sequel happening until at least three years from now. It’d be impossible to build them and if people still want the current Switch that means they’re not desperate for something new.

I could see Zelda being readied to launch alongside a Switch Pro but I think even that is a long shot. Again you’re into the issue of whether they can get enough made and that it’s not long since the OLED Model, which will annoy some people that bought into that.

Sometimes a delay is just a delay and I think that’s all that’s going on with Zelda: Breath Of The Wild 2. Like the reader said yesterday, bug checking on that game must be an absolute nightmare and I’m surprised the first one ever got finished, and that was without a pandemic to make everything harder for people.

Inbox also-rans
Kudos to the Loop Hero devs, encouraging piracy and daring to speak out against the war. I think we’ve all seen on the news what that can mean for people in Russia. As a result I will buy their game from Steam, I don’t really care whether I like it or not.

I hope Microsoft does greenlight a new Crash Bandicoot game. I really like the remakes and the new game but Activision seemed to lose interest the minute they weren’t the mega hits they were expecting. Maybe Crash 4 was a bit conservative but they could’ve easily followed that up with a more modern platformer, I hope they will.

This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Xane, who asks what’s your favourite retro video game format?

With TheA500 Mini creating a surge of interest in the Amiga 500, we want to know what’s your favourite retro format of all time – assuming that retro means anything up to and including the Xbox 360 era. Any kind of gaming device counts, including consoles (both home and portable), home computers, and the PC. Although if it’s the PC please be specific about the time period in question.

What is it you like about the format and how much does nostalgia have to do with your choice? What were the format’s best games and is there anything about it that you miss from modern devices?

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length and content.

You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word Reader’s Feature at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

You can also leave your comments below and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter.

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