The new debate isn't about game consoles or games anymore, considering PlayStation has handily won that debate in the hearts of the masses this generation and sales. Oh no, the new debate leading into the next generation, or in this case the year before hardware specs are released and the new consoles are shown making this debate pointless in 2 months as it's forgotten is.... over game streaming services. And today I here to review, compare, and decide which service is better and how they can improve on the services for the next-generation of consoles.
XBLG / GamePass Review
GamePass can be had for $151 for 3 years for new customers, which is an unrivaled price and benefit. It has a great library of games, backed by all of MS first-party games, with the ability to download those games and play them in full. The only issue with GamePass on the consumer side is the price after your promotion ends. Once that happens you're looking at $60 for XBLG, and $10/mo. for GamePass which is $120/yr, so $180 to keep up with both services, however, GamePass Ultimate is $15/mo which is also $180/yr. and comes with XBLG, GamePass for Xbox, and GamePass for PC making it the better deal (along with promotions like Spotify). So, in the end, GamePass is the 10/10 service so far, but in 2 - 3 years we'll all be paying $180/yr. to play online and have these huge libraries, which still isn't bad considering you're getting 2 X360, 2 XBO, and possibly 2 XB4 games per month.
PS+ / PSNow Review
PSNow price cuts helped it tremendously in overall value being just $10/mo. $25/3mo. and $60/yr.. For $120/yr. you can get PS+ and PSNow (since the annual subscription is unquestionably the better value). With PSNow, PS4 and most PS2 games can be downloaded to the console, however, PS3 games are required to be streamed and all games are currently streamed in 720p and stereo only. PSNow for PC is included in the base price for PSNow which is another benefit, but all games must be streamed on PC, however, you do have cross saves, allowing you to play on PC and pick back up where you left off on PS4. PSNow has the largest game library of game streaming services offering unrivaled variety, however, PSNow does not receive Sony's First-party games day and date and thus far has not received many newer 3rd party titles either, PSNow games seem to be added a year or so after their released for AAA games. That being said, PlayStation Now has silently come a long way, the original cost of the service kept the masses from knowing all the new features and benefits the service provides and with the new pricing more gamers will sign-up. However, PSNow more than likely won't reach its full potential until 2020 with the releases of the PS5. Again it's only $120.yr. for PS+ and PSNow which so far only gives you 2 PS4 games, and access to PSNow making the overall service an 8 - 8.5/10 IMO in comparison to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate Even though PS+Now is only 2/3 the price.
Winner: GamePass Ultimate
As you can see GamePass is the winner and currently the better service at least for the remainder of this generation (more on that later). The price drop on PSNow drastically increased the value of the service, and the new features that were released over the past year improved PSNow to be a great service as well. However, PSNow is slightly held back by a lack of newer releases in comparison to GamePass, which is understandable for Sony's business perspective since nearly all of their games are selling multi-millions in copies and their biggest games have consistently broken the 10 million barrier, however, for consumers the value of new releases on GamePass cannot be matched by PSNow even with its larger library. Also being able to download all games on GamePass vs. Select games on PSNow (even though that number has grown exponentially) provides a more consistent playthrough of all games, where PSNow streaming can introduce artifacts and lag, and limited to 720p resolution and stereo audio. Finally, GamePass Ultimate offers Xbox gamers 4 free games still with 2 Xbox 360 games and 2 XBO games compared to PS_ dropping support down to just 2 PS4 games, altogether allowing Xbox gamers and Xbox families to purchase the console and honestly never have to buy a single game for the remainder of this generation and possibly into the next-generation as well if GamePass continues to launch Xbox exclusives day and date. To an extent, PS+Now can do this as well, but you'll be waiting for 1 - 2 years to get the same immediate satisfaction you get on Xbox which isn't ideal for a generation who wants everything NOW. These key factors are the reason Xbox GamePass Ultimate is the superior service.
So how can PlayStation fix this and go head to head with Xbox?
Well, there's really nothing the should or need to do this generation, the changes they need to make will have more impact by preparing it for next-generation. PS5 can put PS+Now on par with GamePass Ultimate, by upping the free PS+ games to 2 PS4 games, 2 PSVR games, and 2 PS5 games giving them parity with what XBLG will have next-generation as well if they continue with 360 releases. This will also be key in helping push PSVR and PSVR2 and give the console a niche that Xbox won't be able to compete with at least at launch (with rumored Oculus support floating around again). Finally, Sony would need to have all their first-party PS4 games come to PSNow when the PS5 releases giving the library a much needed "newer game" quality boost since PS4 games will be playable on PS5 (and hopefully downloadable). Obviously PS5 games will need to make their way to the service, but Sony can stick to the 1 year wait period for physical 1st party sales, however, they need to make deals with 3rd parties to get AAA games on the service at least 1 month after releases and day and date for some lesser A / AA games. Finally up the streaming quality to a range of 720p, 1080p, and allow 4K streaming for those who have the bandwidth. Those things added to the fact that PS+Now is only $120/yr. compared to GamePass Ultimate being $15./mo. aka $180/yr., and both services will be equals, where GamePass advantage being all of Xbox first-party games launching day and date, while PS+Now advantage is being 2/3 the cost, and access to the best of PS4 and exclusive VR gaming or at least the largest VR library on console. But again this is all 2020 / 2021 talk, as for right now both services are worth trying out, with GamePass being a keeper, and me recommending you at least try the 7-day free trailed of PSNow, and if you enjoy the library then at least buy 1 year of Now and see where PlayStation takes the service next-generation.
Pros: All first-party games. Great library of games that are downloadable from 360 to XBO, and XB4. $151 for 3 years NOW.
Cons: $180/yr. will be the asking price for online & subscription services for team Xbox.
GamePass Ultimate: 10/10
Pros: Huge library of games to revisit or experience. PCNow included Free. Stream or download. $120/yr for PS+Now.
Cons: Games are generally 1 year old or more. Can't download all games. 720p streaming :(