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Yes, PS Plus added $8,000 of games, but Xbox Game Pass still won 2023

I spent days drowning in statistics about Xbox Game Pass and PS Plus, but for me, it's Xbox’s service that truly came out on top last year.

PS Plus Xbox Game Pass comparison 2023: The Game Pass logo as a neon sight on the left, against a blurred Halo image, while the PS Plus logo on the right is placed on a gravestone.

In the age of subscription services, both PS5 and Xbox players have been treated to heaps and heaps of games as part of PS Plus and Xbox Game Pass respectively. In 2023, it’s safe to say that there was enough added to keep you occupied for a full year, if not several. However, while I was recently digging into the numbers, I was taken aback by how these two competitors stack up to one another and how much ‘value’ they really give to players with each monthly addition. Despite PS Plus standing victorious on numbers alone, I still can’t help feeling like it was actually Game Pass that truly came out on top.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve delved into the depths of the PS5 Store and Xbox Store to discover that PS Plus added 251 games worth up to $8,000 in 2023, while team green’s Xbox Game Pass added 150 games worth $5,000 in 2023. While the ‘winner’ might look obvious on the surface, there’s a lot more than meets the eye with PS Plus and Game Pass, namely in how each one provides value to players.

I began with Microsoft’s Golden Child to ultimately find out that $5,139.54 worth of games had been added to Xbox Game Pass in 2023 across Xbox consoles, Cloud, and PC. Taking out the cost of the Game Pass Ultimate subscription, that still comes out to a hearty $4,935.66. In other words, you’re still getting significantly more out of the subscription than you’re paying in, especially with heavy hitters like the Xbox exclusive RPG Starfield, the exceptional Soulslike Lies of P, Payday 3, Forza Motorsport, Remnant 2, Cities Skylines 2, Warhammer 40K Darktide, Like A Dragon Ishin, F1 Manager 2023, and so much more, all in a single year. Naturally, these big new releases aren’t cheap if you were to buy them outright.

PS Plus Xbox Game Pass comparison 2023: An astronaut looking at a ringed planet in the sky above in Starfield.

Moving onto Sony’s subscription, I was blown away by the staggering total value of $8,030.13 across PS Plus Essential, Extra, and Premium tiers in 2023. Looking particularly at the PS Plus Extra tier (including Essential), as this is the main competitor to Xbox Game Pass, subscribers were treated to 205 games worth $7,459.59 ($7,324.60 when factoring in the cost of an Extra sub). With over 50 more games to enjoy and over $2,000 more ‘value’ over Game Pass, you’d think PS Plus was the clear winner.

Take a closer look at the games added to PS Plus Extra and given away with PS Plus Essential, and you’ll no doubt see why I was taken aback by the ‘value’ these tiers added. While Xbox Game Pass’ 150 games added in 2023 weren’t all massive hits, there was a remarkably solid lineup, from big-name, highly anticipated releases – including massive new Xbox games on launch day – to indie gems that, unfortunately, likely slipped under the radar for many. On the other hand, PS Plus Extra and Essential did bring some popular games, including Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order, Borderlands 3, Horizon Forbidden West, Uncharted Legacy of Thieves, Sackboy: A Big Adventure, Sable, and more, though most of these aren’t exactly new PS5 games. If you wanted to purchase these games, you likely wouldn’t fork out full price, especially given how often these titles are on sale.

PS Plus Xbox Game Pass comparison 2023: A masculine character fishing, an image taken from Bassmaster Fishing 2022.

Likewise, PS Plus Extra included a heap of games that… most people will never play – even more so than Game Pass. With two PAW Patrol games, My Little Pony: A Maretime Bay, and My Friend Peppa Pig, I hope you have young children, otherwise, these games offer little value to the overall package you’re paying for. Similarly, there were a handful of obscure and low-quality titles included, such as the horribly named Fast & Furious: Spy Racers Rise of SH1FT3R, Hundred Days: Winemaking Simulator, Lawn Mowing Simulator, and Bassmaster Fishing. I have to imagine that those who wanted these games already own them, making their addition to PS Plus Extra feel rather contrived.

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PS Plus’ emphasis on variety and niche titles does result in it offering a diverse library, however. Though it might feel like you’re not getting much with each monthly addition, the ‘something for everyone’ approach is admirable. Whether it’s RPGs, racing games, odd sims, beat em’ ups, or indie hits, PS Plus does give you the opportunity to try something new – even if most players largely sideline these in favor of the AAA releases.

Nevertheless, while PS Plus added more games and even more monetary value to the service in 2023 compared to Game Pass, I’m left wondering how much this subscription is really worth to most players. Game Pass occasionally struggles with this issue, though Xbox’s model is carried by big AAA releases on day-one, more than making up for what could be argued as rather lackluster additions in other months if you’re not digging deep into the existing library. With Sony adamant against adding day-one releases of its latest and greatest games, like the PS5 exclusive Spider-Man 2, and instead pushing for older or niche titles, the larger catalog feels inflated compared to the competition.

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At the end of the day, no gamer is ever going to play every game and feel the benefit of every dollar of value added to both of these services. I’m certainly not trying to trivialize my own research here – the figures are important, and illustrate just how much effort is going into subscription services to market them as excellent deals for players (which for most people, they still absolutely are). But while PS Plus’ wide variety of games was great, Xbox Game Pass’ lineup and commitment to day-one launches means that, for me, there’s only one answer if someone were to ask me which service impressed the most in 2023.

If you’re struggling with what to play next, why not take a look at the best PS5 games and best Xbox games? Over on team green, many of these can also be found among the best Xbox Game Pass games too.