PlayStation's Game Pass rival service could be announced this week — what we know

Sony PlayStation State of Play
(Image credit: Sony)

Sony's long-rumored Project Spartacus is set to take PlayStation to new heights with a subscription service to rival Microsoft's Xbox Game Pass, and it may finally be unveiled this week.

According to a Bloomberg report, Sony is preparing to unveil the new gaming subscription service as soon as this week, as stated by people familiar with the matter. While this may be announced at an upcoming State of Play event, it's unclear how or when Sony will announce its plans. 

Rumors of Sony building a subscription service that would give players access to a library of downloadable games have been floating around for a while. It's expected to be a combination of PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now, with different tier subscriptions offering a selection of titles, old and new. As the report points out, the most expensive subscription will allow for extended demos and allow players to stream games.

The sources also state that the first lineup of games will include titles released over the last few years, which could include first-party exclusives such as Returnal, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, and Ghost of Tsushima Director's Cut. If it's to compete with Xbox Game Pass, it may even include more recent games such as Horizon Forbidden West. That said, the source also claimed titles such as God of War Ragnarök are unlikely to be available on the platform on day one.

Project Spartacus is expected to be Sony's answer to backwards compatibility support on PS5, with many recent patents suggesting it's set to arrive. Earlier this year, PlayStation architect Mark Cerny shed new light on PS5's backwards compatibility plans with a new patent named "Backward Compatibility Through Use Of Spoof Clock and Fine Grain Frequency Control.” The solution is expected to be software-based, albeit a better one compared to PlayStation's current method of playing previous titles: PS Now.

This isn't the first we've heard of backwards compatibility patents for PS5, either. A patent filed by Sony back in November 2020 suggested backwards compatibility may be added to the PS5 in the near future, and it also hints that players will be able to earn trophies for the older titles. 

While it's unclear what Project Spartacus will offer, and when it will be announced, it's sure to take the fight to Xbox's popular Xbox Game Pass, which now has over 25 million subscribers. It will hopefully bring a better way to PlayStation players to play classic titles. In fact, you can check how PS5 backward compatibility failed Laptop Mag's Mohammad Tabari and how it was easier to use a dusty PS3 to play Ratchet & Clank.

Regardless, Project Spartacus may arrive very soon. Watch this space for further updates. 

Darragh Murphy is fascinated by all things bizarre, which usually leads to assorted coverage varying from washing machines designed for AirPods to the mischievous world of cyberattacks. Whether it's connecting Scar from The Lion King to two-factor authentication or turning his love for gadgets into a fabricated rap battle from 8 Mile, he believes there’s always a quirky spin to be made. With a Master’s degree in Magazine Journalism from The University of Sheffield, along with short stints at Kerrang! and Exposed Magazine, Darragh started his career writing about the tech industry at Time Out Dubai and ShortList Dubai, covering everything from the latest iPhone models and Huawei laptops to massive Esports events in the Middle East. Now, he can be found proudly diving into gaming, gadgets, and letting readers know the joys of docking stations for Laptop Mag.