PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now logos on a blue background

With so many “PlayStation” product and service names out there, it’s easy to get confused about PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now. Both are subscription services for PS4, PS5, and PC, but with key differences. We’ll explain.

Main Differences: Multiplayer vs. Streaming, and More

PlayStation Plus is similar to Xbox Live Gold. It allows online multiplayer gaming for the majority of PlayStation titles. It also lets you download free games, provides cloud save functionality, and enables Share Play.

Meanwhile, PlayStation Now is more like Netflix, where you can stream on-demand PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation 4 games to your PS4, PS5, or PC with a subscription. You can even download some of the games to your console. They both offer a good value for gamers on a budget. Here’s a look at each service in more detail.

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What Is PlayStation Plus?

If you want to play online with players worldwide, you’ll need to subscribe to PlayStation Plus. If you play strictly free-to-play games like Fortnite or Apex Legends, then you won’t need Plus, but the service offers more than just online gaming for the $9.99/month price tag.

First, the service comes with some exclusive content for select games such as Fortnite. For example, in June 2021, you could get the Fixer Outfit and Reckoning Back Bling if you wanted to drop with style.

Fortnite artwork
Fortnite Epic Games

Second, you’ll gain cloud save features, which allow your PS4 or PS5 to store your progress on PlayStation’s servers automatically. If you ever get a corrupted file or your console ceases to work, your save will always be safe through your PS Plus account.

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Also, you can allow a friend to play a game online with you through the Share Play feature, even if they don’t own it. They can stream the game to their system as if you gave your friend an extra controller.

PlayStation Plus also offers frequent sales that benefit subscribers, and you’ll have access to a huge amount of games every month for free with the service. PlayStation is providing two PS4 games and one PS5 game on the first week of each month at the time of writing. Most have been triple-A quality titles like Final Fantasy 7 Remake, Star Wars: Squadrons, and The Sims 4, to name a few.

Final Fantasy 7 Remake Cloud PlayStation Plus
Final Fantasy VII Remake Square Enix

For PS5 users only, there’s also a PlayStation Plus Collection that includes 18 top-quality games from the prior generation, including God of War, Persona 5, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, Until Dawn, and Ratchet & Clank (2016). 

For $9.99 every month, PlayStation Plus is already a reasonable deal, but you can get an even better price if you purchase the subscription for longer periods of time.

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What Is PlayStation Now?

PlayStation Now Library PS5
The PlayStation Now library on PS5.

As we mentioned earlier, PlayStation Now is a streaming service for games akin to Netflix for movies. It’s separate from PlayStation Plus, as it has a larger library of over 700 games that you can either stream (which means that you can play it instantly without downloading the game to your console) or download to your PS4 or PS5 system on demand. You can also stream the games through a PC client.

The PlayStation Now library contains hundreds of titles that span from the PS2, PS3, and PS4 eras of gaming.

While PlayStation Now’s streaming quality is often not the best—with frame rate issues and poor image quality sometimes, especially on Wi-Fi—the selection of PS4 games is impressive. PC gamers might find particular value in it since it’s the only way to enjoy titles like The Last of Us or the Uncharted series on PC.

PlayStation Now currently costs $9.99 a month, although you can get a better deal if you extend it to three months or a year. Happy gaming!

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Profile Photo for Chris Penwell Chris Penwell
The British “Canadian” Chris Penwell has been a video game journalist since 2013 and now has a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from MacEwan University. He has written for a variety of gaming websites, including Retroware, Gamepur, and TechRaptor.
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