PlayStation may battle Xbox Game Pass with movies and TV

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Sony’s secret weapon in its efforts to compete with Xbox Game Pass may include movies and television. The company posted key art for something called PlayStation Plus Video Pass earlier today. And Sony’s Polish website included the following copy regarding this new service:

A new benefit available for a limited time on PlayStation Plus… PS Plus Video Pass is a trial service active [April 22, 2021 through April 22, 2022]. The subscription benefit is available to PS Plus users.

Sony has since removed references to PlayStation Plus Video Pass from its website. I’ve asked the company for a comment about this program. I’ll update this story with any new information.

The Video Pass is indicative of a new strategy out of Sony to further boost its revenue from services. Or, put another way, this is one of the company’s rumored answers to Xbox Game Pass. While Microsoft has surpassed 23 million subscribers to its Netflix-for-games-style subscription program, Sony hasn’t looked to match its competitor. Sony is instead focusing on PS Plus, and now it is seemingly using its strength in film and TV production to take a broader approach.

Sony’s plan is similar to something like Amazon Prime. That service includes Prime Shipping, but it also gets you access to a tier of Amazon Music, Prime Video, Prime Gaming on Twitch, and more. Sony could mimic that by making Video Pass part of the PS Plus deal and eventually adding something like a Sony music-streaming service.

This is not Sony’s “TV TV TV” moment

Of course, a focus on anything but games may risk alienating PlayStation fans. But Sony’s approach seems like an improvement over Microsoft’s attempt to rely on non-gaming entertainment at the launch of Xbox One. At that time, Microsoft talked about plugging a cable box into the Xbox and vaporware for interacting with NFL games. Microsoft obviously didn’t have a lot of faith in games at that time, and that led to executives taking a stage and repeating phrases like “TV and movies” repeatedly.

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But that all came while Microsoft had very few big games in the works for Xbox One. Sony is not in that same position. It is making a lot of games for PS5, and it’s making deals to bring even more third-party exclusives to the platform. In that context, PS Plus Video Pass feels like an additive bonus that won’t diminish the games.

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