Sony Group Corp. has suggested in the past that it may be looking at a new service to compete with Xbox Game Pass, and a recent retail change is causing further speculation. According to some United Kingdom retailers, Sony is pulling PlayStation Now cards from store shelves and will pause selling them.
British retailer Game has confirmed that Wednesday, January 19, will mark the last day that UK gamers can purchase a PlayStation Now card before they're taken away. The retailer has stated that point-of-sale PlayStation Now cards will be removed from customer-facing areas in all Game stores and ESD will be altered to prohibit the sale of the product. Digital bays will also be altered in the same way as part of this week's "commercial update," with January 21 being the last official day that gamers in the UK can purchase PlayStation Now cards.
A recent report from Bloomberg suggests that PlayStation is looking to rival Xbox Game Pass with a service currently under the codename "Spartacus." Similar to Xbox Game Pass and Game Pass Ultimate, this new service will seemingly include multiple tiers to allow PlayStation fans to optimize their experience. PlayStation Plus currently exists as the primary method for PlayStation fans to connect their games online, while PlayStation Now is the games subscription service offered on Sony platforms.
PlayStation Now's current library offers many major titles such as Detroit: Become Human, God of War, and Horizon Zero Dawn. One thing missing on PlayStation Now that's offered by Xbox Game Pass is the release of first-party titles like Forza Horizon 5, Halo Infinite, and Microsoft Flight Simulator on day one. If a new service replaces PlayStation Now after these major retail changes, it remains unclear if the replacement will offer upcoming PlayStation exclusives like Gran Turismo 7, Final Fantasy 16, or Marvel's Wolverine day-one.
PlayStation fans who take their games online and have access to the extensive PlayStation Now catalog currently have to subscribe monthly to the two separate services. It's been recently suggested that Sony wishes to keep the PlayStation Plus branding while doing away with PlayStation Now promotional material, and this move to remove PlayStation Now cards from UK retailers may be the first of many steps in phasing the product out. Although nothing has been confirmed yet as a PlayStation Now replacement, PlayStation may be gearing up to announce a new subscription service or the addition of PlayStation Now to PlayStation Plus.
Game retail stores in the UK are very similar to EB Games and GameStop in North America but are owned by Frasers Group, a company that also overlooks retail chains in the area such as House of Fraser and European Golf. Leadership at GameStop, EB Games, and other retail chains hasn't confirmed whether or not they'll have to take PlayStation Now products off their shelves or not, but Game could be the first of many to do so. One of the reasons PlayStation may be looking to do away with PlayStation Now is its 2.2 million subscribers compared to Xbox Game Pass' 18 million.
MORE: New PlayStation Now Games for January 2022 Are Great for Multiplayer Fans
Source: Venture Beat
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