iStock
CNN —  

It’s finally here: the latest generation of video game consoles. The Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 will finally arrive in just over a month. Now that you’ve had some time to deliberate on which console you’d like to have and (hopefully) secure a preorder, it’s time to think about the games you’ll want to play.

We’ve discussed the differences between each system and some of their exclusives before, but we’ve not yet taken a moment to delineate the differences between services like Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass and the newly announced PlayStation Plus Collection. While the two offerings can seem quite similar, they diverge in many significant ways.

Which service will be the most useful to you in the long run if you’re looking for ways to beef up your experience on one of the latest consoles? We’ve got the rundown here for you to peruse, so get ready to soak up some knowledge. In the battle between Xbox Game Pass and PlayStation Plus Collection, which offering emerges victorious?

Xbox Game Pass: A rotating selection of on-demand games

Microsoft

Xbox Game Pass is a service that players can add on to their monthly Xbox Live Gold subscription. For just $10 a month for the basic pass and $15 for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, you get instant access to a massive library of titles. There are over 100 video games on offer, with Microsoft regularly adding new titles to the service. This includes console, PC or both for those who subscribe, depending on which tier.

There’s no restriction on what or how much you play each month or with any of the Xbox Game Pass tiers. Microsoft-exclusive titles are loaded onto the system the day they’re released, and newer titles make their way to the service much sooner than you might expect. Right now, a litany of fantastic games like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Gears 5, Grand Theft Auto V, Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Final Fantasy XV and more are up for grabs to play indefinitely. Many of these same games are available for PC users as well.

Downloading and playing these games does not mean you get to keep them or add them to your permanent collection, and if you end your subscription, you will no longer have access to them. The games available to you are always being shifted out as well, and often without warning. While there are new games added quite often, this means you’ll eventually have to say goodbye to the title you were playing, as no part of this setup is permanent.

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate transcends simply playing on your console or PC, however. You also get access to Project xCloud, Microsoft’s game streaming service. You can utilize it to play certain Xbox titles on your favorite Android-enabled device (and iOS device coming soon) on the go.

Much like Google Stadia, you need only a compatible TV, computer or smartphone — not a console — to jump into your favorite game. This alone makes the service a much more flexible option for anyone who likes to game on the go and try new things off and on.

PlayStation Plus collection: A great collection of starter games

It’s important not to confuse the new PlayStation Plus Collection perk with the PlayStation Now service, as they are two very different things. Neither of them is comparable to Xbox Game Pass in that they offer a “vault” of titles for players to explore, but they do offer a wide selection of games to play for subscribers, simply via different delivery methods.

The PlayStation Plus Collection is a completely different beast than Xbox Game Pass. It doesn’t allow for a rotating selection of games that players can sift through and enjoy at their leisure. It’s more like a “starter pack” of some of the best games PlayStation has to offer that subscribers can download to sample the popular PlayStation 4 games on the market.

Set to debut when the PlayStation 5 hits store shelves, the PlayStation Plus Collection allows players to download and play various titles from a fixed set of games.

These include Batman: Arkham Knight, Days Gone, Detroit: Become Human, Fallout 4, God of War (2018), Persona 5, Monster Hunter World, Resident Evil 7, Until Dawn and more. They represent the cream of the crop when it comes to the PlayStation 4 library, and a curated selection of what will be available to players embarking on a new journey with their PlayStation 5.

All of the 18 games that are currently confirmed for the PlayStation Plus Collection are backward compatible and come at no extra cost to users who are already subscribed to PlayStation Plus. In addition, users will continue to have access to two additional PlayStation titles via Plus every month while they remain a subscriber.

What’s the clear-cut winner between Xbox Game Pass and PlayStation Plus Collection?

The answer to this question will likely depend on the type of use case you’ll have. If you like the idea of having an ever-changing list of games to try out as well as access to titles on the go, Xbox Game Pass is a phenomenal value. All tiers of the service are less in price than buying even one of the games included on the service. You can use it across both Xbox One and Xbox Series X platforms, and there are some seriously awesome choices included that will rotate out as time goes on. You also don’t need to pony up for Microsoft’s biggest titles on day one, which is a boon for many players.

On the other hand, if you plan on jumping into the PlayStation 5 ecosystem and want to sample some of the last-generation’s greatest hits with a next-gen twist, PlayStation Plus Collection comes at no extra charge with some fantastic titles in tow. You’ll just need an active PlayStation Plus subscription. As useful as that may be, however, the overall value here is clear: Xbox Game Pass. It combines so much content into one affordable package, and there are additional studios and vaults of games being rolled up into the service, with more as the days pass.

Of course, you can’t go wrong by using both services if you’ve decided to bring both consoles home. It’s a fantastic time to be a gamer, and you can jump right into a veritable pile of games the same day you bring your new system home.