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As subscription-based, on-demand gaming services have gained popularity in recent years, both PlayStation Now and Xbox Game Pass have established their positions at the top of the market by offering a variety of content and great value for subscribers. There’s just one burning question demands to be answered: Which one is better?
It’s a tough one. Each has advantages over the other – PS Now has more attractive pricing plus its library of 700+ titles makes Game Pass’ library of 200+ titles look paltry in comparison, whereas Xbox Game Pass tends to offer more recent games as well as including first party titles on the day of release.
It’s hard to say which one is better overall, but taken one month at a time, we may get our answer. So join us as we look at what’s been added and what was removed from each service and declare which one came out on top in June 2020.
Sidebar: If you’d like to find out more about before venturing on a subscription to either PS Now or Xbox Game Pass, check out our feature examining the pros and cons of PS Now where we investigate how it stands up against its biggest competitors.
Something we’ve alluded to in previous articles is the fact that Xbox Game Pass is the more commercially successful service of the two by a considerable margin, with over 10 million subscribers at the time of writing compared to PS Now’s 2.2 million.
Although both are comparable in terms of quality, Microsoft does a much better job of marketing the on-demand platform as an essential part of the Xbox One, whereas many PS4 owners either don’t understand the value of PS Now or don’t even know what it is. This month was a prime example of Sony’s inability to properly market this service.
At the start of June, the official blog of PlayStation Europe announced the new additions to PS Now – Dishonored 2 (2016), Metro Exodus (2019) and NASCAR Heat 4 (2019). This was used as a source by most gaming websites when reporting the service’s newly added games for the month. The only problem is that PS Now didn’t add three new games this month, it added nine.
Anyone who opened up the app and checked under the ‘Recently Added’ section would also find Tales of Zestiria (2015). Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 (2016), God Eater 2: Rage Burst (2016), 11:11 Memories Retold (2018) and Malicious Fallen (2017) added the same day as the three games noted on the PlayStation Blog. Meanwhile, anyone snooping through the library might also notice the inclusion of PS3 game Judge Dee – The City God Case (2012) which was previously not included in all regions.
So at a time when subscriptions were heavily discounted, so the opportunity to communicate the value of PlayStation Now and bring in new customers was greater than ever, the company only bothered to report three out of the nine games that subscribers would receive this month.
PlayStation, this is aimed at you: You have a great service that can handily compete with Xbox Game Pass, but you’re losing badly and have no one to blame but yourself. If ever there was an indicator that you need to place more focus to PlayStation Now and make sure your various departments are on the same page, this is it.
None. PS Now’s library just continues to grow bigger and bigger each month.
Xbox Game Pass
The main attraction for Game Pass this month is the massive space exploration sim No Man’s Sky (2016), a game that was so reviled at launch that it felt like you’d need to wash your mouth out every time you spoke the title. While the game was a huge disappointment at the time for failing to include many of the promised features, the talented team at Hello Games has worked tirelessly since release to make amends and turn No Man’s Sky into what was initially promised and provide a worthwhile experience.
June also saw the addition of slew of remastered classics in the form of Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 and 2.5 ReMix (2014), Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue (2017) and Bard’s Tale Remastered and Resnarkled (2017).
Rounding out the month for Team Green are Dungeon of the Endless (2016), Thronebreaker (2018), West of Dead (2019), Night Call (2019), Observation (2019), Streets of Rogue (2017) and The Messenger (2018).
It’s another mass exile for Xbox Game Pass with 14 more games leaving the service, these are:
Resident Evil Revelations (2012)
Supermarket Shriek (2019)
Riptide GP Renegade (2016)
Metro Exodus (2019)
ACA NeoGeo Metal Slug X (2017)
Life is Strange 2: Complete Season (2019)
Neon Chrome (2016)
Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun (2016)
SteamWorld Dig 2 (2017)
The Flame in the Flood (2016)
Winner – Xbox Game Pass
Perhaps a controversial choice, at first glance PlayStation Now seems to have the advantage with nine new additions and zero losses versus Xbox Game Pass’ 11 new additions and 14 losses, with PS Now offering a more diverse range of games that will represent something for almost anyone. As cliché as it is to say, anyone with a subscription to either service is the real winner, but forced to choose between the two, we’re going with Xbox Game Pass for a couple of reasons.
The first and lesser of those reasons is the inclusion of No Man’s Sky. Last month we stated that we would give more weight to a game that sold poorly due to a troubled launch but has been improved and fixed in the time since than we would a hugely successful title that most subscribers probably already own.
Well, No Man’s Sky is pretty much the poster child for disastrous launches and while critics and fans still debate whether the game has now become everything that was initially promised or whether it still has some way to go, a whole bunch of people who wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole now have the chance to try it and find out for themselves.
The other, and much bigger reason for Game Pass’ win this month is the inclusion of the Kingdom Hearts games. While it may not be obvious from the confusing titles, this is not just two or three games, it’s six games (making it 15 new games for Game Pass in reality). This means that, factoring in the inclusion of Kingdom Hearts III (2019) in January, you can now experience the entire Kingdom Hearts series as part of your Game Pass subscription.
As a series with a notoriously complicated and erratic storyline, Kingdom Hearts can be very off-putting to those not present at the beginning or who got lost along the way. Now any subscriber with even a passing interest in the franchise will have the opportunity to at least give it a try, whether they want to jump right in to the newest entry and accept the confusion that will bring, or start from the very beginning and sink hundreds of hours into a series that is pure magic.
An interesting note before we end this wrap-up. When we started these monthly comparisons, we actually expected Xbox Game Pass to win more often than not, only because it’s generally more consistent with the number of games added each month, whereas PS Now could often only add three but would sometimes go as high as a dozen. Yet, this month actually marks the first win for Xbox Game Pass.
It underlines that PS Now is vulnerable to defeat even on a plentiful month just as it can claim victory in months where only a handful of new games join the service. So, with PS Now leading 3-1, is this the start of a comeback for Game Pass? Join us next month to find out.
That’s our wrap-up for this month, but if you happen to be a subscriber to either service and are wondering what to play next, check out our list of the best hidden games on PlayStation Now and the best hidden games on Xbox Game Pass and find your next favourite game!