PlayStation Plus Collection is no Xbox Game Pass for PS5, but it is the next best thing

(Image credit: Sony)

It's best that you don't mistake the PlayStation Plus Collection as the PS5's answer to Xbox Game Pass. PlayStation certainly doesn't see it that way, with CEO Jim Ryan recently telling that Sony is "not going to go down the road of putting new releases titles into a subscription model", clarifying that the company "just don't see that as sustainable". 

Instead, it's more helpful to see the newly revealed PS Plus Service as a beginner's guide, or starter course, for the best that the PlayStation ecosystem has to offer – not to mention an early reason to get a PS5 pre-order in. 

From day one of the PS5's launch, PS Plus subscribers will be able to instantly download and play from a curated collection of some of the best PS4 games via PS5 backwards compatibility: a selection of PS4 exclusives and multiplatform titles that together number a total of 18 at the time of writing. 

(Image credit: Sony)

For longtime PlayStation fans, it's a fantastic option to replay PS4 classics with fresh eyes, not to mention improved framerates, resolutions, and loading times, potentially transforming their relationship with the game all over again. The prospect of revisiting Bloodborne's Yharnam or Fallout 4's Boston suddenly becomes a lot more attractive when you realise you won't be accumulating hours of your time watching a loading screen after every death or transition to the play space, for example.

For those who are coming into the PS5 fresh from a generation spent with Xbox and PC, however, the advantages of the PlayStation Plus Collection are even greater. The fact is that $499/£449 is a lot of money for a new console, and when you add in the fact that the PS5 launch games are around $80/£70 a piece? Well, it's no easy investment to swallow. 

But if you're someone who hasn't played Uncharted 4, God of War, Until Dawn, Persona 5, or any of the collection's other great titles, then suddenly the need to buy Spider-Man: Miles Morales or Demon's Souls on Day One seems much less necessary. Whatever your thoughts on each of the included games in the PlayStation Plus Collection (and I know people have thoughts about Days Gone), you can't deny that each resembles a premium experience of high production value, with not a single piece of shovelware in sight. 

Chef's choice

(Image credit: Sony Santa Monica)

For Sony, too, the PlayStation Plus Collection represents the perfect way to introduce new PlayStation consumers to the brands and franchises that will likely continue to define the platform in the years ahead. 

God of War 2, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, and Battlefield 6 are all scheduled to launch next year, for example, making this Holiday the perfect time to catch up with the most recent instalments in each of their respective franchises. Oh, don't think for a second that Naughty Dog is done with Uncharted yet, as if you needed another good reason to play Uncharted 4 anyway.

It's unclear whether PlayStation plans to expand, or simply swap and switch out, the current list of available titles announced so far, or if it's even got more in store for PS5's launch that it simply hasn't announced yet. 

I wouldn't be surprised to see experiences like Horizon Zero Dawn eventually make the cut as Sony seeks to introduce more players than ever before into the wonderful world Guerrilla has built. It isn't out of the realm of possibility that even more recently released exclusives, such as The Last of Us Part 2 and Ghost of Tsushima, eventually enter into the PlayStation Plus Collection too.

(Image credit: FromSoftware)

"I now have access to 18 fantastic backwards compatible PS4 games at no extra cost to what I was already paying."

What separates the PlayStation Plus Collection from Xbox Game Pass, however, is Sony's confirmation that you won't see new PS5 exclusives being added to the library synchronously with their day one release, nor will the collection ever expand to the daunting breadth of titles that now make up Xbox Game Pass' portfolio. 

That's no bad thing, however. It allows for a more carefully curated selection, one which guarantees quality of product no matter which game you decide to download to your platform, while also ensuring PlayStation Now still has relevance for those who want to delve even deeper into the back catalogue of PlayStation's past, present, and future.

So, no, the PlayStation Plus Collection is not the PS5's Game Pass' equivalent that perhaps some were hoping for, and I wouldn't dare suggest it's a better or more valuable alternative to Microsoft's frankly ludicrous subscription service. 

That said, PlayStation's model chimes more fittingly with the company's current approach to both its emphasis on premium first party products and generational transitions. Meanwhile, I now have access to 18 fantastic backwards compatible PS4 games at no extra cost to what I was already paying for PS Plus, which will continue to offer two free games a month on top. Can we really complain?

For more, be sure to check out all the biggest upcoming games of 2020 on the way, or watch the latest episode of Dialogue Options below. 

Alex Avard

I'm GamesRadar's Features Writer, which makes me responsible for gracing the internet with as many of my words as possible, including reviews, previews, interviews, and more. Lucky internet!