PlayStation Plus vs. PlayStation Stars: What's the Difference? – PCMag

Sony's PlayStation Plus revamp and PlayStation Stars announcement left many gamers scratching their heads. We break down the two offerings to help you decide if you need either one.
In June, Sony launched an all-new, tiered PlayStation Plus that replaced its existing subscription service. A month later, the gaming juggernaut announced PlayStation Stars, a rewards and loyalty program. Naturally, you’re probably confused about the differences between the two services. Don’t fret, we’re here to highlight the pair’s features so you can make an informed decision before signing up for either one.
Before the debut of the new PlayStation Plus, Sony offered two subscription services: PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now. The original PlayStation Plus offered online multiplayer, three free games per month, and exclusive discounts. PlayStation Now, on the other hand, let you stream hundreds of older Sony games on the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, or PC. The new PlayStation Plus effectively combines and revamps the two services into one.
The new PlayStation Plus offers three different subscription tiers: PlayStation Plus Essential, PlayStation Plus Extra, and PlayStation Plus Premium. But PlayStation Plus is a tiered system, so there are different features available for each of the three. Let’s look at what you get.
This entry-level tier is essentially the same as what the original PlayStation Plus offered. If you had the original PlayStation Plus subscription, your plan automatically rolls over into this one.
Price: $9.99 per month, $24.99 per quarter, or $59.99 per year.
Features:
Online multiplayer
Exclusive online store membership benefits
100GB of cloud storage
Lets you share your games online via Share Play
“Free” monthly games
Exclusive skins and in-game items for certain games
PS5 owners get extra benefits:
Access to the PlayStation Plus Collection. This includes games like God of War, Crash Bandicoot, Ratchet and Clank, and Uncharted 4.
Game help. You can get hints during games when you’re stuck. These hints leave out spoilers (something you might encounter when searching for answers online).
Price: $14.99 per month, $39.99 per quarter, or $99.99 per year.
Features:
All the same benefits as PlayStation Plus Essential
Hundreds of PS4 and PS5 games, including Demon’s Souls, Returnal, and Stray
Ubisoft classics, such as Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Far Cry 4
Price: $17.99 per month, $49.99 per quarter, or $119.99 per year.
Features:
All the same benefits as PlayStation Plus Extra
Game trials. You can demo games, such as Cyberpunk 2077 or Horizon Forbidden West, for a few hours before you buy them. Your demo’s save data transfers to the full game.
More than 300 extra games, including PSP, PS1, PS2, and PS3 titles.
Play games on your PC. Your save data transfers between devices, so when you return to your console, you can pick up right where you left off. Note: You need an internet connection to play games on your PC.
PlayStations Stars differs from PlayStation Plus in that it’s a free rewards and loyalty program. With it, you earn loyalty points or trophies for achieving certain in-game goals or playing specific titles. You can redeem loyalty points for PlayStation Network wallet funds. Sony’s phased PlayStation Stars rollout happens later this year.
Sony has been a bit vague on program details, but here’s what we know so far.

Price
: Free
Features:
Earn rewards that can be redeemed for PlayStation Network wallet funds.
Monthly check-in campaign that rewards you for playing at least one game.
Enter tournaments to win specific trophies or play a certain game online to receive targeted rewards.
Win special awards for completing all in-game achievements. Be the first to do it in your local time zone, and you can take home a one-of-a-kind reward that no one else can snag.
Digital collectibles. These are 3D-rendered rewards based on video game characters and past Sony hardware. Some will be ultra-rare and difficult to obtain. Though they may sound like NFTs, they’re not. They’re just digital, collectible PlayStation Stars exclusives.
Now that you know the difference between the two services, you can see that they are fairly separate ideas. If you’re trying to decide between the two, your decision is pretty easy—PlayStation Stars is free!
However, if you’re curious about joining PlayStation Plus, your decision might come down to one simple question: Do you want to play games online? If so, you must sign up for a PlayStation Plus subscription. Even if you don’t want to play online, you may want to subscribe to one of the service’s newer tiers to play classic games.
Please note that if you subscribe to both services, you’ll earn additional PlayStation Store points. More details about PlayStation Stars are still to come, but for now, take advantage of all that the new PlayStation Plus has to offer.
For more on PlayStation, check out our list of the best PlayStation 5 games.
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