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Phil Spencer Reacts to Rumor of PlayStation Working on Rival to Game Pass

Phil Spencer Reacts to Rumor of PlayStation Working on Rival to Game Pass - News

by William D'Angelo , posted on 01 February 2022 / 3,470 Views

There was a rumor late last year that Sony Interactive Entertainment plans to introduce a new subscription service with the codename of Spartacus that is meant to be a rival to Xbox Game Pass in Spring 2022.

The plan is to combine PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now into a single service that will come in three tiers. The first tier includes existing PlayStation Plus benefits, the second includes a large catalog of PlayStation 4 and, eventually, PlayStation 5 titles, while the third includes extended demos, game streaming, and a library of classic PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, and PSP games.

Head of Xbox Phil Spencer in an interview with IGN has reacted to the rumor of PlayStation working on a rival to Xbox Game Pass. 

Phil Spencer Reacts to Rumor of PlayStation Working on Rival to Game Pass:

"As you know so many of these things actually intertwine with themselves, from [backwards compatibility] in terms of a way of building out a library of games that we have shipping on PC and console simultaneously [...] knowing that Game Pass is gonna come and we wanna bring Game Pass to multiple platforms – all of these decisions kind of stack on top of themselves," said Spencer.

"I don't mean it to sound like we've got it all figured out, but I think the right answer is allowing your customers to play the games they wanna play, where they wanna play them, and giving them choice about how they build their library, and being transparent with them about what our plans are in terms of our PC initiatives and our cross-gen initiatives and other things.

"So when I hear others doing things like Game Pass or coming to PC, it makes sense to me because I think that's the right answer."

Phil Spencer Reacts to Rumor of PlayStation Working on Rival to Game Pass:

Spencer added that Sony potentially working on its own version of Game Pass doesn't mean Xbox was right, but if an "inevitability" of where the industry was heading. 

"I don't really look at it as validation," said Spencer. "I actually, when I'm talking to our teams, I talk about it as an inevitability. So for us, we should continue to innovate, continue to compete, because the things that we're doing might be advantages that we have in the market today, but they're just based on us going first, not that we've created something that no one else can go create.

"I like it because it feeds our energy on what are the next things that we should be working on as we continue to build out the things that we've done in the past. Because I think the right answer is to ship great games, ship them on PC, ship them on console, ship them on cloud, make them available Day 1 in the subscription. And I expect that's what our competitor will do."

A life-long and avid gamer, William D'Angelo was first introduced to VGChartz in 2007. After years of supporting the site, he was brought on in 2010 as a junior analyst, working his way up to lead analyst in 2012. He has expanded his involvement in the gaming community by producing content on his own YouTube channel and Twitch channel dedicated to gaming Let's Plays and tutorials. You can contact the author at or on Twitter @TrunksWD.

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thevideogameninja (on 17 January 2022)

Gamepass was a great idea and one I'm sure that while still in its infancy will become more lucrative for Microsoft moving forward assuming they don't make any catastrophic decisions that would prevent gamers from jumping on board.

It makes sense that others will see the success it has amassed over the years and try to get a piece of the pie; especially when Gamepass as a whole is seen in a very positive light by gamers.

The whole subscription model is one I can't help but feel will be exploited heavily over the next few years (cough-Ubisoft-cough-) by many in the gaming world so whether one is for or against it I think it will not only be here to stay but it will be the dominant model moving forward. In fact, I believe it's fair for one to claim that we are witnessing it's "infancy" stage still.

The more money that is poured into our "little hobby" the more it will divided up and exploited in ways that will no doubt make long term die hard gaming fans resent the same companies that produced their favorite past-time.

I wouldn't be surprised if sometime in the next 6 to 9 years from now gamers could only play their favorite titles on subscription based streaming services in addition to physical copies/hardware being completely phased out. One only need look at what Microsoft tried to implement with the X box One back at its launch to get a glimpse of the overall goals and inner workings of the powers that be in the gaming world.

While back then what Microsoft was trying to do (digital games, online always, etc...) was met with heavy criticism from the gaming community today is a different time period and one that seems to be a lot more receptive to many of these models that were sneered at in years prior.

I'm an old school gamer and I will hold on to the more "traditional" model of purchasing and playing my games for as long as reasonably possible but even I can see the writing on the wall.


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ironmanDX thevideogameninja (on 17 January 2022)


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Bandorr (on 17 January 2022)

The thing is.. they aren't. Neither Sony nor Nintendo are going to try to compete with it. They don't need to.
Microsoft is spending serious money funding this. From $1 for three years, to the 20+ billion they spent to add the games to game pass.

There is no evidence that is a good or winning strategy. So there is absolutely no reason they would ever try and copy it.

PS and PS now is not playstation game pass. It won't have day one games etc.

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dane007 Bandorr (on 17 January 2022)
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aTokenYeti Bandorr (on 17 January 2022)

I’d like to see a source for that $20 billion figure. The only thing I ever remember being close to that was a rumor that Microsoft had set aside a similar amount for future gamepass expenditures, not that they had already spent that.

If the epic trial has taught us anything, it’s that it takes a surprisingly small amount of money to get games on these and similar services. Epic was spending high 6 and low 7 figures for the right to give fairly substantial games away for free.

  • +7
method114 aTokenYeti (on 17 January 2022)

The Epic deal is different because it only involves them giving the game away for free for a week. Xbox is usually 1 year deals.

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Imaginedvl Bandorr (on 17 January 2022)

"There is no evidence that is a good or winning strategy. So there is absolutely no reason they would ever try and copy it." ? Were you hiding under a rock for the past year?
I get that it does not mean it is the only way to have success, but still today, you really don't see any evidence of the success of GamePass and the positive impact (like Xbox sales) in general?
I understand your bias as this is Microsoft we are talking about but come on... There are limits lol

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method114 Imaginedvl (on 17 January 2022)

IMO MS has made to many changes to attribute them doing better with just GP.

  • They released the strongest console on the market a long with a budget friendly one
  • They purchased Bethesda and all their games will be console exclusive

    Both of these IMO would sway me far more than GP. I've tried GP a few times and there just simply isn't enough games that I like on there. I play a game or two and then cancel.

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Imaginedvl method114 (on 17 January 2022)

oh yah, don't get me wrong, I don't think GP is the only reason of their success and I 100% agree with you :) But, there are all the reasons in the world right now for Sony to try to do the same thing than GP.

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Azzanation Bandorr (on 18 January 2022)

Do the maths now that they confirmed 25m subscribers..

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DonFerrari (on 17 January 2022)

Wouldn't make much sense for him to say it is wrong =p

  • +7
GaoGaiGarV (on 18 January 2022)

"the right answer is allowing your customers to play the games they wanna play, where they wanna play them, and giving them choice"
What a damn hypocrite. XD

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2zosteven (on 17 January 2022)

a few people here can run Microsoft and Sony better than they are being ran now!

  • +3
Kakadu18 2zosteven (on 17 January 2022)

I doubt that.

  • +3
2zosteven Kakadu18 (on 17 January 2022)

sure what it sounds like! but of course not.

  • +7
ironmanDX (on 18 January 2022)

Phil has surely reacted all right... God damn.

  • +2
aTokenYeti (on 17 January 2022)

The tl;Dr of his statement is more or less “it’s not that we were right, this is just where the industry is heading”

I’ve been on the fence about how true this is. On the one hand, poor wage growth and inflation have been an ever looming threat to the full priced box sale business model. $70 is a huge amount of money for any entertainment product, and combined with the fact that the last 2-3 has seen a precipitous decline in AAA games quality and “full price” hasn’t looked this bad in decades.

On the other hand, games frequently give you dozens of hours worth of things to do, so on a per hour cost basis they are still cheaper than other media. I think that’s part of the reason why the standard full priced box sale business model has lasted so much longer for games than film, TV, or music. I also think due to the active nature of games as a hobby (as opposed to passive consumption like film and TV), gamers feel a much stronger preference for ownership. In that sense it reminds me of books, where the active nature of the consumption of the media makes me more likely to want to own it

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scrapking aTokenYeti (on 17 January 2022)

I think Destin made a good point that Sony first-party games at least are relatively complete at $70, they rarely are full of micro-transactions. Even paid DLC is relatively rare, and usually has a lot of content. To the degree that anyone should be charging $70, Sony is at least doing it best-in-class. There are third-parties now charging $70 for incomplete games loaded with micro-transactions, and with additional purchases (DLC/MTX/battle passes/whatever) required for what feels like a complete experience (I'm looking at you, Activision).

All that said, I have never bought a $70 USD game (at least not a base game; maybe an ultimate special edition once or twice, but never a base game for that much). And I likely never will. Buying games, especially at launch, means you pay the most, and do so for the buggiest/least complete game possible. To heck with that. That's where subscription services that include Day 1 releases have the right idea. So I'm all on board with Game Pass, because of the Day 1 releases. Day 1 is the worst possible time to buy a game, no matter what it costs.

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Dante9 scrapking (on 18 January 2022)

Yeah, in this age of bug-riddled releases, it's rarely a good idea to buy a game on day one. You get an inferior experience for a higher price. In that regard, a subscription service kind of helps but then again it doesn't. The bugs are there no matter how cheap the game was.

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scrapking Dante9 (on 18 January 2022)

The subscription service lets you sample it periodically, to let you know when to jump in and buy, if buying games is your thing. So that's a potential advantage.

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SanAndreasX (on 17 January 2022)

Phil Spencer farts after eating Taco Bell.

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VAMatt SanAndreasX (on 17 January 2022)

VGC can get at least two separate articles out of that - Phil Farts and Phil eats Taco Bell

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SanAndreasX VAMatt (on 18 January 2022)

Phil Spencer: It’s not my intent to stink up the whole room.

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Kakadu18 SanAndreasX (on 17 January 2022)


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Azzanation (on 17 January 2022)
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