While both services come with their own strengths and weaknesses, Game Pass appears to offer subscribers slightly more value at a significantly lower cost. PS Now may have the larger library; however, the ability to download and play every new first-party Xbox title makes Game Pass the better service.
As digital distribution and streaming continue to rise in popularity, two of gaming’s biggest competitors—Microsoft and Sony, have attempted to get a head start by rolling out their own gaming subscription services. With an Xbox Game Pass or PlayStation Now subscription, players can instantly access a myriad of classic games and recent releases on their preferred gaming device.
Although you’ll find a lot of overlapping titles offered with both subscriptions, the similarities pretty much end there. When it comes to price, quality, and accessibility, you’ll find Game Pass and PS Now differ greatly. Leading us to wonder: which one is truly the best subscription service for gaming?
Here, we’ve broken down the pros and cons of each subscription as well as how they stack up against one another across different categories. Make sure to check back as we’ll be updating this story in the future as both services continue to evolve. And if you’d like to receive more gaming recommendations, consider reading through our other curated lists:
- Best PlayStation Now Games
- Best Xbox Game Pass Games
- Best Upcoming PlayStation Games
- Best Upcoming Xbox One Games
When it comes to price, Microsoft has Sony beat, giving players access to an entire library of games for 10 USD a month. What’s more, Game Pass subscribers are able to purchase any titles within the service’s catalog for 20-percent off (in addition to a 10-percent discount on any DLC).
PS Now, on the other hand, comes with the heftier price tag of 20 USD monthly, although it should be noted players can get a better deal by purchasing a 3-month subscription for 45 USD. While new subscribers can get a free month of PS Now before having to reach into their wallets, Xbox will typically offer new users 2 months of Game Pass for around 1-2 USD.
Some may argue that PS Now’s massive 800+ game library more than makes up for its higher cost, with Game Pass only offering about 350 titles (240 Xbox One compatible games, 130 PC). However, the quality of titles offered with either service is a matter of personal taste.
PS Now seems to focus more on the previous generation’s greatest hits, with its library consisting mostly of PS3 games, including notable titles like The Last of Us, Red Dead Redemption, and the Uncharted trilogy. More recent releases include 2016’s DOOM, Wolfenstein: The New Order, and Fallout 4.
With Game Pass, players are able to access newer games, with every first-party Microsoft title added to the service upon release. Just recently, Devil May Cry 5, Dead Cells, and Blair Witch were announced as new additions to the Game Pass catalog along with the upcoming Gears 5. Despite the service’s focus on recent releases, players can still find a medley of original Xbox and 360 games included with a subscription.
Now when it comes to convenience, Microsoft takes the lead yet again. From day one, Game Pass users have been able to download and play any title they wanted offline, free of lag. This will be a major point of contention for some, since only about a third of PS Now games can be downloaded, the rest requiring an internet connection to stream whenever playing.
There’s also the fact that Game Pass offers the option to play a selection of titles on PC via a separate tier of the service. Included are an assortment of “Play Anywhere” games in which progression and save data are seamlessly transferred when switching between PC and Xbox One. Although Sony also allows PS Now users to access some of its library on PC, setting it up is a bit more cumbersome than Game Pass.
The Final Verdict
Although both services have their own strengths and weaknesses, the decision regarding which is best will ultimately depend on which ecosystem you find yourself already entrenched in—Xbox or PlayStation? And while we’re fans of both the PS4 and Xbox One, Game Pass appears to offer subscribers slightly more value at a significantly lower cost.
If you enjoy taking a stroll down memory lane and replaying some of your favorite PS3 games along with a few PS4 ones and have stable internet, PS Now may be the option for you. However, if you’re interested in checking out more recent releases, even if it means having less options, Game Pass may be the right choice.
Perhaps you’d like to check out what both services have to offer, in which case, a free/low-cost trial may be the way to go. Once you’ve taken enough time to review the key features and catalog of games included with either PS Now or Game Pass, it’ll be much easier to decide which service works best for you.
Xbox Game Pass
- Cheaper (10 USD/month)
- More recent releases
- Includes all new first-party games
- Entire library can be played offline
- Discount when purchasing games and DLC
- “Play Anywhere” support for select titles
- Smaller selection of games (350 vs. 800+)
- Less backwards compatible titles
- Wider-selection of games (800+)
- More classic games
- PC-support for select titles
- Pricier (20 USD/month)
- Doesn’t include newly released exclusives
- Lacks newer games
- Requires an internet connection to play most games
Whether its PC or console, AAA or Indie, New-York born and raised Justin has a natural curiosity to seek out hidden gems and share them with other gamers. He also maintains his own YouTube channel in addition to writing and managing the social media profiles for GamingScan.