Review: Xbox Cloud Gaming a much better deal than PlayStation Plus Deluxe, especially on a new television

The PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X
The gaming giants have rolled out new functionality lately - but only one is worthwhile. Photo credit: Getty Images

The last few weeks have been a boon for gamers in Aotearoa, with new functionality added to both the Xbox GamePass and PlayStation Plus subscription services.

The latter introduced new tiers for the first time, with the old service rebranded as Essential, and new Extra and Deluxe tiers added here for a premium price.

Meanwhile, Microsoft's platform launched cloud gaming in the country for the first time, along with the ability to play games on Samsung's new 2022 televisions without a console. No additional fee is necessary for the increased services.

So which should you spend your money on? I've been trying out both for over a week now and here are my thoughts.


I'm an old-school PlayStation fan, from the very first generation up to paying a premium for a new PS5 on the internet as none were available in shops, so it might come as some surprise - not least to me - to admit that if I had to pick just one then I'd be giving all of my money to Xbox.

While Sony took a step forward with its new tiers, GamePass simply took a giant leap instead. It's everything I want from a gaming subscription service, with ease of use and functionality that blew me away.

In fact I felt the new PlayStation tiers punished me for my behaviour in buying titles when they were released.

Those new to Sony will get access to the likes of Assassin's Creed: Valhalla, Marvel's Spider-man Miles Morales and Ghost of Tsushima: Director's Cut, which already cost me a pretty packet when I bought them.

Sony's new tiers
Photo credit: Supplied / Sony

It means I'm left picking my way through games I haven't bought before, games I've never been interested in or were already available as part of the PlayStation Plus Collection already.

Even the addition of Ubisoft classics is a bit underwhelming given I bought so many of them before and have no interest in playing them again.

It's not that the new PlayStation tiers are bad - they're not. I suspect non-hardcore gamers are going to get access to plenty of games that will keep them happy for months, if not years. 

Unfortunately for $24.95 per month the options just don't quite stack up for me. And with Sony ruling out day one releases of new titles - which is very much part of Xbox's selling point for its $19.99 per month subscription - I can't see myself paying that long term.

At least until the launch of cloud gaming for the PS5 which has very quickly become the standout feature of Xbox's GamePass Ultimate.

To give Sony some credit, I did get a good deal to convert the remaining time on the Essential plan to the Deluxe plan, but short of launching its own game streaming service in Aotearoa before renewal in November, I'm likely to drop back to the basic offering.

Xbox Game Pass
Photo credit: Getty Images


Cloud gaming allows me to stream games over the internet, like movies and television shows, with no installation necessary. That, frankly, puts Sony's efforts to shame.

I've played Xbox games on a new TV without a console, iPhone, iPad, Samsung tablet, my desktop and a Windows laptop all with little issue.

It definitely helps that I've got fibre internet and the fastest WiFi available, but still I was surprised just how well it worked across all those platforms.

All I need to do is select the game I want to play from the list of those available on the cloud and wait a very short time for them to load. It'll pick up where I left off too.

The biggest win for me is the launch of the Xbox app on Samsung's 2022 range of Smart TVs. It's been available for less than two weeks but I have no idea how I'm going to cope without it when the loan television I have for review is returned.

It's a stunning leap that means anyone with one of those new televisions (it will extend to other brands later this year) can play console games without having to fork out hundreds of dollars for an actual console.

And it works brilliantly. After connecting my Bluetooth controller for the first time - in this case my favoured PlayStation 5 Dual Sense controller - it remembered each time I opened the app on the television.

Cloud gaming in NZ
Photo credit: Newshub

I played Forza Horizon 5, Microsoft Flight Simulator and more - each of which would take me hours to download if I had to install them. Instead it took me just seconds to switch between them and play games.

The benefit for me is I'm quite picky about games that I spend my free time on. This way I can try out a game for as long as I want via cloud gaming - and if I decide I want to invest my time in it can then choose to download and install on the console instead, if that's my preference.

I've lost count of the terabytes of data I've wasted downloading games that I played for 10 minutes and then never played again. Those days can be gone forever.


The Samsung QN90B television I played on was impressive enough without the Xbox app. With it, it's as near a must-buy as I've ever seen. The games were bright and brilliant and never once looked anything but stunning on the screen.

If I had asked friends whether I was streaming the game over the internet or playing on a console, I doubt they would have been able to tell me.

And there's been a lot of thought put into it too. The touchpad on the PS5 controller can be used as a mouse to move the cursor around the screen in the app. It works beautifully. Who knew that Microsoft would add functionality and make life easier for those who prefer their biggest competitors' controller over their own?

Of course, there are limits to cloud gaming. If you don't have fast internet and WiFi it might not be a great experience and, despite trying hard to make the controls intuitive on small screens, I just didn't enjoy playing console games on my phone.

New games
Photo credit: Supplied / Xbox

But have you ever dreamed of flying a plane over Auckland while lying in bed with an iPad and a PS5 controller? I had - and have now done so thanks to this. It's everything I wanted as a 10-year-old stuck in front of his ZX Spectrum 48k connected to an old black and white portable back in the day. 

Oh, and for those of you who have plenty of 5G data? Cloud gaming will work on the go too, presuming you have a decent signal. I loaded up a few games in the city and was able to play them just fine, with low ping and no delays. 

It's really hard not to see Microsoft's move as the way of the future, the full Netflix-isation of gaming if you like.

Consoles are well-known loss leaders, with both Sony and Microsoft making money back from the games. If you can buy and play games without a console then that's more choice for the consumer and more money for the tech company. Sounds like a win-win to me!

Of course, it's worth noting that Sony has a cloud gaming platform for the PlayStation - it's just not available here despite being available overseas for years. There has been no announcement of when it is likely to roll out here, either. I've almost given up hope.

Until it does, I can only imagine the Japanese giants playing catch-up and hoping their audience doesn't desert them before it closes that gap.

Newshub was supplied with a Samsung QN90B television and a Xbox GamePass Ultimate subscription for this review.