PlayStation Plus vs. Now: Features, Differences, and Full Comparison

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PlayStation Plus vs. Now: Features, Differences, and Full Comparison

PlayStation Plus vs. Now: Full Comparison

PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now are two previously offered services from Sony. Despite both subscription plans being offered through PlayStation, they served very distinct purposes. PlayStation Plus allowed for online access much in the way that Xbox Live Gold does. It was required for games that required an online connection or if you used online multiplayer.

There are also some other benefits of PlayStation Plus, but we’ll get to that in a little bit. PlayStation Now, on the other hand, was a subscription service that was separate from plus and allowed access to a specific library of video games. Subscribing to both services could get quite pricey, and in an effort to compete with Microsoft’s GamePass service, Sony eventually merged the two to form PlayStation Plus Premium.

PlayStation Plus vs. Now: Side by Side Comparison

PlayStation Plus vs PlayStation Now comparison infographic


Monthly Price$15$18
Subscription ProvidedOnline AccessAccess to Games
Online Multiplayer AccessYesNo
Streamable Game LibraryNoYes
Free monthly GameYesNo
Play Games on Other DevicesNoYes
Best for New Users
$30 PlayStation Plus – Wallet Funds [Digital Code]
  • Use $30 wallet funds for 3 months of the Essential Plan or 2 months of the Extra Plan
  • Online multiplayer
  • Free monthly games
  • Huge catalog of PS4 and PS5 games with the Extra Plan
  • PlayStation Store discounts
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
11/27/2023 06:43 pm GMT

PlayStation Plus vs. Now: What’s the Difference?

Although both PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now are both subscription services, there’s a substantial difference between what the two have to offer. Surprisingly both offer access to some games, but PlayStation Plus provides a few each month that you get to keep, whereas PlayStation Now acts as more of a streaming service.

Plus Benefits and Online Access

The main benefit of PlayStation Plus is online connectivity. In order to play online, you must have a subscription to access PlayStation’s servers. Many popular games like Call of Duty have multiplayer modes that are designed to be played online with people from around the world. This multiplayer segment, though, is inaccessible without a subscription.

With that said, there are a couple of games that don’t require a subscription to PlayStation Plus in order to access online content. These are primarily games that always require online play, such as Fortnite, Call of Duty: Warzone, and Rocket League, to name a few. However, in order to entice more people to purchase a PlayStation Plus subscription, Sony also added in some other perks.

One feature that a lot of people did not take advantage of was online game saves. This was great because you could back up your data to the cloud in the event that something happened to your console. You could also be able to transfer saved data between consoles. Next to the online connectivity, the most used feature was easily free games.

Every month PlayStation Plus subscribers were given at least one free game. The great thing was that you got to keep the game even if you did not renew the subscription. Additionally, you received discounts for other titles in the PlayStation Store. Luckily, PlayStation Plus came at a fairly reasonable price of $99 per year but was also available for three months at $40 or monthly for $15.

playstation plus
PlayStation Plus allowed players to access online multiplayer modes in games like Call of Duty.

©Miguel Lagoa/Shutterstock.com

Game Streaming

PlayStation Now is an entirely different beast. It used Sony’s vast library of games and offered many of them as part of a subscription bundle. However, there were some major drawbacks that kept the service from succeeding. The service was originally launched in 2014, and the games could be played through various devices such as the Vita as well as Sony’s Bravia TVs.

The reason this was possible is that the games were not run locally. Instead, the games were run on a server, and the video was streamed to the device. The obvious limitation of this in 2014 was Internet speed simply wasn’t fast enough. Even today, streaming video games remains a challenge but is increasingly more possible.

The PlayStation Now service offered games across several generations of PlayStation content. This includes the original PlayStation as well as the 2, 3, and 4. Unfortunately, Sony did not put their entire library on the service and instead put on a fraction of the games, which made the subscription a hard sell. With that said, there were over 800 games available in 2020 on PlayStation Now.

playstation tv
PlayStation Now was a video game streaming service that offered PS2, PS3, and PS4 games.

©DANIEL CONSTANTE/Shutterstock.com

Why You Needed Both

The problem remained that it was extremely difficult to stream even though a number of devices supported the PlayStation Now app. Additionally, the price of $18 per month, $50 for three months, or $120 annually was just too expensive. Possibly the biggest issue was that you still needed a PlayStation Plus subscription to play online, as well as to reap the benefits of that service.

Looking at the two services side-by-side, you would be spending about $220 per year if you got both subscriptions annually. Even worse is if you paid monthly, because the cost would be $33 or a whopping $396 per year. Bear in mind this is all to be able to play a handful of games and do so online. Many people simply kept purchasing games and paid for the PlayStation Plus subscription rather than PlayStation Now.

The New PlayStation Plus

When the Xbox Series X and Series S came out, one of the major selling points was Xbox GamePass. At $15 per month, this service included a vast library of games in addition to the Xbox Live Gold plan. This essentially combined Sony’s equivalents of PlayStation Now and PlayStation Plus. Seeing Microsoft’s immense success with the service, Sony finally realized they needed to get on board.

In 2022 Sony changed the PlayStation Plus, and PlayStation Now models into a simpler 3-tiered service. This includes Essential, Extra, and Premium tiers. The current three-tier system still keeps a service comparable to PlayStation Plus, but also adds two higher tiers with lots of extras. The new plans also offer significant cost savings over the old two service systems.


Essential is the most comparable to the old PlayStation Plus plan. With it, you get access to online multiplayer, cloud storage, PlayStation Store discounts, and free monthly games. However, the great part is the price at only $10 a month, $25 for three months, or $60.00 for a year. If at any point you decide to upgrade, you can always pay the difference and move to a higher tier.


The Extra tier adds two major benefits to all the great perks of Essential. This includes access to Sony’s “Game Catalog,” which is a collection of popular titles as well as indie games and those from other developers. Unfortunately, not all Sony games are included, but many big names from the PlayStation 4 are here. PlayStation 5 games are also present, with more regularly being added.

The other major benefit that you get with Extra is access to Ubisoft+ Classics. This is Ubisoft’s own service which is bundled in at no additional cost. With it, you get access to many of their popular titles as well. Keep in mind that all of the games offered are only accessible while you have an active subscription. The Extra subscription costs $15 per month, $40 for three months, or $100 for a year.


The highest tier that Sony offers in their new PlayStation Plus service is Premium. With it, you get all the benefits of Essential and Extra, but with two major additions. The first of which is free game trials. This isn’t super remarkable, but it is a nice addition. The other significant benefit of Premium is access to Sony’s classic collection of games.

This includes titles from the PlayStation 1, 2, and 3 eras, plus handheld titles as well. In addition, many of these games can be streamed online through cloud streaming. The only downside is that PlayStation 3 games cannot be downloaded to your console due to hardware limitations. A one-month subscription for PlayStation Plus premium is $18, while three months cost $50, and a year is $120.

PlayStation Plus vs. Now: 5 Must-Know Facts

  • You still needed PlayStation Plus to play online PlayStation Now games.
  • PlayStation Now offered both game streaming as well as downloads to PlayStation consoles.
  • PlayStation Now and Plus have been phased out and replaced with a three-tiered PlayStation Plus.
  • Subscriptions were available for both services monthly, quarterly, or annually.
  • PlayStation 3 games can only be streamed on the new PlayStation Plus service due to hardware.

PlayStation Plus vs. Now: Which One Is Better? Which One Should You Use?

Choosing between PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now isn’t a very fair comparison because they were such different services. However, PlayStation Plus was truly an essential service for people who wanted to play online multiplayer. Playing online with friends or even strangers was a major part of gaming on PlayStation consoles. Additionally, the free games every month helped justify its price tag for many.

However, since these two services are no longer available, it’s important to take a look at which is the best choice today. This will largely come down to what will benefit you the most. The Essential plan is a great choice if you already have a large collection of games and just want to play online. Plus, the fact that you can pay only $60 for a year subscription is an excellent value.

If you are new to PlayStation, then the Extra plan is a great choice because it lets you start with a huge library of games and gives you an opportunity to see which ones you like best. Those feeling nostalgic for the past will definitely want to go with Premium, and it is our choice for the best service. The fact that you get classic games along with so many other great perks is worth the $120 annual price tag.

  1. $30 PlayStation Plus – Wallet Funds [Digital Code]
    • Use $30 wallet funds for 3 months of the Essential Plan or 2 months of the Extra Plan
    • Online multiplayer
    • Free monthly games
    • Huge catalog of PS4 and PS5 games with the Extra Plan
    • PlayStation Store discounts
    Buy Now

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    11/27/2023 06:43 pm GMT

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does Sony charge for online access?

Charging for online access has become the standard, with even Nintendo jumping on board. The reason for this expense is that Sony has to maintain servers to run the online aspects.

Can you get a PlayStation Plus subscription cheaper?

The prices listed above are the ones you will see on PlayStation’s website, as well as at other retailers. However, there are occasionally sales where the subscriptions are cheaper.

What happens to people with existing PlayStation Plus and Now subscriptions?

Sony converted all existing PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now memberships to the new tiered system. Check your account to see how any existing subscriptions have transferred over, or if it has affected your pricing.

Can you stream games with the new PlayStation Plus?

Yes, a PlayStation Plus Premium subscription does give you access to cloud streaming.

Can you play PlayStation games on PC?

Yes, there are two ways to play PlayStation games on your PC. The first is by streaming, which requires you to install the PlayStation application. The other method is by purchasing PlayStation games through Steam. However, neither method has the full library of PlayStation games.

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