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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 around 200 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 February 2021.
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.
We often tip our hats to PS Now’s ability to bring in games with broad appeal – those that appeal to the hardcore crowd, casual gamers and almost everyone in-between – and this month’s headliner is the dictionary definition of broad appeal, we are of course talking about Call of Duty: Black Ops III. Though if Call of Duty is not your cup of tea, then fear not as the next AAA addition for February offers a more niche, cerebral and altogether incredible experience in choice-driven action-drama Detroit: Become Human, the magnum opus (so far) of David Cage’s Quantic Dream studio.
The big names don’t end there as WWE 2K Battlegrounds also zip-lined onto the service a la Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 12, ready to deliver Sweet Chin Music to the competition. Well, reviews may consider it to be closer to The Miz than HBK, but to include a major WWE game only five months after release? That’s…AWWEEESOME.
Speaking of over-the-top violence, this month also brought Darksiders Genesis into the Sony fold, a great move as this means that the PS4 version of every entry in the consistently strong and varied Darksiders series is now available on PlayStation Now. A couple of much-loved indies round out February’s new additions for PS Now – grotesque horror gem Little Nightmares and Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number.
Hitman 2 and Dead Cells both hit the road in February.
Xbox Game Pass
Over the last few months we’ve seen Xbox Game Pass add some of the best and most beloved Final Fantasy games to its line-up so it’s only natural that the time would come when it would add one of the worst, and that time is now. Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age brings it’s too safe setting, too familiar story and a combat system caught in the series’ awkward adolescence between turn-based and action to Xbox consoles. It’s a tough one to recommend to anyone but the most committed Final Fantasy fan, and odds are they’ve already tried it.
On the brighter side, it’s a good month for racing fans as DiRT 5 hit the service in all it’s mud-coated glory along with Wreckfest – the racing/destruction derby hybrid that wowed us when it joined PS Now a couple of months back.
A motley crew of titles lesser-known titles consisting of Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire – Ultimate Edition, Killer Queen Black, Stealth Inc 2: A Game of Clones, Jurassic World Evolution, The Falconeer and Project Winter all squeezed into Game Pass’ library in February.
This month, we saw the back of de Blob, Ninja Gaiden II, DiRT 4, Vambrace: Cold Soul, Oxenfree, Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight and The Jackbox Party Pack 4.
Winner – PlayStation Now
In a rare role reversal, we’re going to have to say that PS Now takes the win in the ‘new additions’ department whereas Xbox Game Pass claims victory in the ‘farewells’.
While PS Now only lost two games this month to Game Pass’ seven (or eleven if you count the Jackbox Party Pack 4 games separately), Hitman 2 and Dead Cells were pretty noteworthy departures, whereas looking at Xbox’s leavers – the Jackbox Party Pack 4 is excellent for friends looking to have fun and stay in contact while separated and Oxenfree certainly has its fans, but with DiRT 4‘s impact being offset with the addition of DiRT 5, there’s not really much else that will be sorely missed.
That being said, it’s not enough to even things up against the power-hand that PS Now laid on the table with its new acquisitions in February – AAA titles, indies, recent releases, critically acclaimed games, great multiplayer and single player experiences, offerings that appeal to almost every type of gamer – this line-up has it all. On the other hand, Xbox Game Pass’ update is strong as long as you’re a fan of driving games, but for anybody else, there’s nothing we could heartily recommend.
Which do you think was better?