Skip to content

PlayStation Plus: The Ultimate Guide (2022)

If you own a PlayStation console, you‘ve probably heard of PlayStation Plus (PS Plus). But what exactly does a PS Plus subscription get you, how much does it cost, and is it worth it? In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll cover everything you need to know about Sony‘s premium subscription service for PlayStation owners.

What is PlayStation Plus?

PlayStation Plus is a paid subscription service for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 console owners. It was first launched back in 2010 for the PS3. While it started as a nice-to-have extra, PS Plus has evolved into an essential part of the PlayStation ecosystem, required for many key features.

The biggest draw of PlayStation Plus is that it‘s required for online multiplayer gaming on PlayStation consoles (with a few exceptions for free-to-play titles). If you want to play the latest Call of Duty, FIFA, or Destiny with friends online, you‘ll need an active PS Plus subscription.

But PS Plus offers quite a bit more than just enabling online multiplayer. Other benefits include:

  • Free monthly games: Each month, Sony offers a selection of free games (usually 2-3) that PS Plus members can add to their library and keep as long as their subscription remains active. This is a great way to build up your game library and try titles you may have missed.

  • Exclusive discounts: PS Plus members get access to exclusive discounts on games and add-ons during regular sales on the PlayStation Store. According to Sony, members save an average of $352 per year on games and add-ons.

  • Cloud storage: PS Plus includes 100 GB of cloud storage for game saves. This makes it easy to access your saves across different consoles and protects your progress in case your console dies.

  • Game trials: Members get access to time-limited trials (usually 2 hours) of some games, letting you demo a title before buying.

  • Game Help: On PS5, certain titles have a feature called Game Help that gives you tips and video guides as you play. This is only available to PS Plus subscribers.

PS Plus Subscriber & Game Stats

PlayStation Plus has seen tremendous growth since its debut in 2010. Here are some key stats that showcase its rise:

Year PS Plus Subscribers Top Games
2010 1 million WipEout HD, Minis, PS1 Classics
2012 7 million Instant Game Collection launches
2014 20 million Destiny, NBA 2K14
2016 30 million Rocket League, Bloodborne, Just Cause 3
2018 40 million God of War, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
2020 45 million Fall Guys, Final Fantasy VII Remake
2022 47.4 million Stray, Assassin‘s Creed Valhalla

As you can see, PS Plus has steadily added millions of subscribers each year, with the most popular free games driving engagement. With nearly 50 million subscribers as of 2022, PS Plus has become a significant revenue stream for Sony.

According to a Sony earnings report, PS Plus generated over $2.73 billion in revenue for the 2021 fiscal year, a 16% increase from 2020. This accounted for nearly 30% of total PlayStation revenue, showing just how important the service has become to Sony‘s bottom line.

PS Plus Subscription Tiers

In 2022, Sony revamped PS Plus by essentially combining it with PlayStation Now (a separate game streaming subscription service) and splitting everything into 3 tiers: Essential, Extra, and Premium. Here‘s what each tier offers:

PlayStation Plus Essential

The Essential tier is basically the same as the old PS Plus from before the 2022 changes. It includes:

  • Online multiplayer access
  • 2 free games per month
  • Exclusive discounts
  • 100 GB cloud storage for game saves
  • Access to Game Help on PS5

Price: $9.99/month, $24.99/quarter, $59.99/year

PlayStation Plus Extra

The Extra tier includes everything from Essential plus:

  • A catalog of up to 400 PS4 and PS5 games that you can download and play as long as you‘re subscribed. Notable games include Demon‘s Souls, Ghost of Tsushima Director‘s Cut, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Death Stranding.

  • Access to Ubisoft+ Classics, which gives you 100+ Ubisoft games to download and play.

Price: $14.99/month, $39.99/quarter, $99.99/year

PlayStation Plus Premium

The Premium tier includes everything from Essential & Extra plus:

  • Access to 340 additional games from PS1, PS2, PSP, and PS3 (streaming only). You can stream many of these classic games to PS4, PS5, or PC.

  • Cloud streaming access for original PlayStation, PS2, PSP and PS4 games offered in the Extra/Premium tiers in markets where PlayStation Now is currently available.

  • Time-limited game trials that let you play most games in the Extra/Premium lineup for 2 hours before buying.

Price: $17.99/month, $49.99/quarter, $119.99/year

So in summary, Extra is ideal if you want a huge library of modern PlayStation games to play, while Premium lets you dive into PlayStation nostalgia with classic games and also opens up streaming to other devices. But all tiers still get online multiplayer, free monthly games, and other core benefits.

How Cloud Gaming on PS Plus Works

One of the most exciting aspects of PS Plus Premium is the ability to stream games to your PS5, PS4, or PC. No need to download or install the games – just click and play. This is powered by cloud gaming technology. Here‘s a quick overview of how it works:

  1. Games run on powerful servers in data centers rather than on your local console. These servers have high-end PC components like GPUs, CPUs, SSD storage, etc.

  2. When you press a button on your controller, that input is sent over the internet to the server.

  3. The server processes the input and renders the next frame of the game, compressing the video and sending it back to your screen.

  4. This process repeats continuously, allowing you to play the game remotely with your controller inputs being sent to the cloud.

The main benefit is that you can play graphically intensive games on weaker hardware, since all the processing is happening in the cloud. The tradeoff is that cloud gaming requires a fast, stable internet connection (Sony recommends at least 15 Mbps). Any hitches in connectivity can lead to lag or low visual quality.

While cloud gaming has been around for years, the technology has improved significantly as of late thanks to better video compression and faster internet speeds. Sony has been investing heavily in its cloud gaming infrastructure to improve the experience on PS Plus. The company spent $450 million to acquire Gaikai, a cloud gaming startup, back in 2012.

Sony has also partnered with Microsoft to use Azure data centers for cloud gaming, allowing the company to rapidly scale up its infrastructure. With these investments, PS Plus Premium cloud gaming should continue to get better over time as the underlying technology advances.

PS Plus vs The Competition

While PS Plus is required for online multiplayer on PlayStation consoles, its main competitor is actually Microsoft‘s Xbox Game Pass service.

Game Pass offers many of the same benefits as PS Plus Extra & Premium – a large library of 400+ downloadable games for a monthly fee, including all new first-party Xbox titles on day one like Halo Infinite and Forza Horizon 5. It also includes access to the EA Play library and the ability to stream games to phones and tablets.

The key differences are:

  • PS Plus has a stronger back catalog of classic PlayStation games thanks to the Premium tier. Game Pass only includes games from Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.

  • PS Plus includes online multiplayer as a core feature. With Game Pass, you still need a separate Xbox Live Gold subscription for online play.

  • PS Plus offers streaming to PC only on the Premium tier. Game Pass Ultimate includes PC streaming at no extra cost.

  • PS Plus is slightly cheaper than Game Pass when comparing the annual cost of the Extra ($99/year) and Premium ($119/year) tiers to Game Pass Ultimate ($180/year).

So which is better? It depends on your preferences. If you mainly care about big budget new releases and playing those games on day one, Xbox Game Pass is the clear winner. But if you value PlayStation exclusives, retro games, and the flexibility to pay only for the features you want, PS Plus comes out ahead.

Another competing service is Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack. For $49.99/year, it offers access to a library of 100+ classic Nintendo games, including N64 and Sega Genesis titles. However, it doesn‘t include any modern games and the retro library is much smaller than what you get with PS Plus Premium. As such, it‘s more of a niche offering for hardcore Nintendo fans.

The Future of PS Plus

PlayStation Plus has evolved significantly since its inception in 2010, but where is it headed next? Here are some expert predictions:

  1. Increased focus on cloud gaming: With the launch of the Premium tier and its streaming capabilities, it‘s clear that cloud gaming is a big part of PlayStation‘s future. Expect Sony to continue investing in this technology and adding more games to the cloud streaming library.

  2. More day one releases: Microsoft has seen great success putting new first-party games on Game Pass at launch. Sony has been hesitant to do this with its big exclusives, but that could change as competition heats up. Don‘t be surprised to see upcoming PS5 blockbusters like Marvel‘s Spider-Man 2 launch on PS Plus Premium.

  3. Bundling with other Sony services: Sony offers a range of subscription services beyond PlayStation, including PlayStation Vue (TV streaming) and the upcoming PlayStation Plus Video Pass (movie/TV streaming). Sony could start bundling these services together with PS Plus for a comprehensive entertainment package.

  4. Experimenting with new pricing models: While the current PS Plus pricing tiers are straightforward, Sony could start testing new approaches like family plans, student discounts, or even a free ad-supported tier to attract new subscribers.

  5. Expanding to new devices: PS Plus is currently focused on PlayStation consoles and PC, but cloud gaming opens up the possibility to bring PlayStation games to even more screens. Sony has already started experimenting with this by bringing some PS3 games to PS Plus that can be played on Sony Bravia TVs without a console.

Ultimately, the future of PS Plus will be shaped by a mix of technological advancements (faster internet speeds, better streaming compression) and business needs (subscription growth, staying competitive with Xbox). But with a strong foundation of over 45 million subscribers, PS Plus is well-positioned to remain a major pillar of the PlayStation brand for years to come.


PlayStation Plus has come a long way since its launch in 2010, growing from a niche bonus for hardcore players to an essential service for anyone who owns a PlayStation console. With a wide range of benefits like online multiplayer, free monthly games, cloud saves, and now a massive library of on-demand titles, PS Plus offers tremendous value for players.

The recent shift to a tiered model with PS Plus Essential, Extra, and Premium gives players more choice in how much they pay and what features they get. The new Premium tier is especially exciting, bringing hundreds of classic PlayStation games to modern platforms and introducing cloud gaming to the PS Plus lineup.

While PS Plus faces stiff competition from Xbox Game Pass, it differentiates itself with its strong catalog of PlayStation exclusives and its retro library. And with over 47 million subscribers, it has a large, engaged player base to build upon.

Looking ahead, cloud gaming and game subscription models are poised to play an increasingly large role in the game industry. With its investments in cloud technology and its partnerships with major publishers, PS Plus is well-positioned to be a leader in this space.

Whether you‘re a longtime PlayStation fan or a new PS5 owner, PS Plus is an excellent way to get more out of your console. With its unbeatable combination of features, games, and value, it‘s a subscription that any serious PlayStation gamer should consider. Here‘s to the next decade of PS Plus and the exciting future of gaming!