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 July 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.
Taking centre stage this month is the inclusion of massive open-world action-adventure Watch Dogs 2 (2016), the game that gives players the freedom to speed, shoot and hack their way through a fictionalised San Francisco Bay, using whatever means at their disposal to bring down the city’s intrusive security forces and generally stick it to the man.
Elsewhere, the recent trend of adding games that suffered from awful launches, but have since redeemed themselves through post-release patches continues on with the addition of Street Fighter V (2016).
Rounding out the month with a handful of ambitious indies in the form of Hello Neighbor (2017), The Turing Test (2017) and Infinite Minigolf (2017).
Just one farewell this month as Marvel’s Spider-Man (2018) has been called back to New York to keep the streets safe and no longer has time to hang out on PS Now. It’s a big one to lose but somewhat mitigated by the fact that, like with all these limited time additions, we were made aware its removal date three months ago, so anyone interested in playing the game has had plenty of time.
Xbox Game Pass
The big name addition to Xbox Game Pass this month is Fallout 76 (2018). A game that bucks the trend of including games that had awful launches but later redeemed themselves by being a game with a terrible launch that’s still nowhere near redemption in the eyes of most players and critics.
A few more major names join Game Pass this month in the shape of Soulcalibur VI (2018), Mount and Blade: Warband (2010) and Yakuza Kiwami 2 (2017). We’ll also receive a “Game Preview” of upcoming multiplayer title Grounded (2020), which acts much like early access, allowing players to try the unfinished game so that developers can use their experience to help complete the product.
A wave of indie titles complete July’s update for the green team, these are Forager (2019), Neon Abyss (2020), Carrion (2020), Nowhere Prophet (2019) and The Touryst (2019).
The farewell section for Game Pass is greatly improved this month with only seven games leaving the service as opposed to the roughly 15-25 per month we’ve seen recently. This section does however have the dubious distinction of losing the most highly rated game mentioned in this month’s roundup.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (2015) is considered one of the elite titles of the generation, holding a mighty Metacritic score of 95, so its departure from the service this month is a notable blow. The other games that will be particularly missed are Dead Rising 4 (2016), the latest entry in one of Xbox’s most pivotal franchises and beautiful indie title Rime (2017), which sails off at the end of the month.
Blazing Chrome (2019), Ashes Cricket (2017), F1 2018 and The Banner Saga 3 (2018) have also been sent packing in July.
Winner – PlayStation Now
This one felt very much like a case of quantity vs. quality.
Let’s look at the PS Now games: Watch Dogs 2 is probably the biggest and best game joining either service this month and, considering that the underwhelming first game in the series may have soured a lot of players on shelling out cash for the sequel, this is a great addition to an on-demand service.
Street Fighter V is a strong addition because the series is beloved by a huge range of players, from casual to professional. The indie additions too offer a selection of diverse games, so it feels like there’s something for almost everyone, with Hello Neighbor representing the only real weak link in the lineup.
On the other hand, there’s Xbox Game Pass: Since its release Fallout 76 has been used as a punchline more than any other game. Soulcalibur VI is a great fighter and definitely worth a try but players have complained of network connection issues since launch, which hampers one of its most important features. Then there’s Mount and Blade: Warband, a well-liked game, but one that’s over ten years old and certainly shows its age.
Meanwhile, most of the indie additions share the same 2D pixel art style that would mostly just appeal to hardcore retro gamers, and if we’re being perfectly honest, there’s nothing in that batch that we could really recommend.
The real game changer for Game Pass is the July 30th addition of Yakuza Kiwami 2 (2017). The highly regarded remake of the PS2’s Yakuza 2 (2006) is a perfect addition to Game Pass owing to the fact that predecessors Yakuza Zero (2015) and Yakuza Kiwami (2017) are already on the service, so anyone who’s recently fallen in love with the series through Game Pass will be thrilled with its inclusion.
In summary, both platforms lost one of their biggest games this month but Game Pass also ejected a couple of others that will be missed, so PS Now takes the win in that category. In terms of new additions, Xbox Game Pass had the most new games, but as for how many are actually worth your time, it’s about even. By a whisker, we have to award this month to PlayStation Now.
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