PlayStation Plus - Three months in review

by Ben Salter Featured

12 Comments 25 Votes 27910 Views 15/05/2013 Back to Reviews

What am I paying for?

PlayStation Plus Gets Right
  • + Amazing value
  • + Great range of games
  • + Perfect for frugal gamers
  • + One time payment
PlayStation Plus Gets Wrong
  • - It's a lucky dip: we need to know what's coming up or else it's best never to buy
  • - A first for games, but it feels very young compared to movie and music offerings

A little over three months ago I finally turned to PlayStation Plus -- Sony’s paid online subscription offering a lottery of “instant” games each month across its aging PS3 and Vita ranges.

At first I was apprehensive. It’s a lucky dip asking for a full year’s payment upfront (for the complete savings) and there’s no indication as to how much value $70 will buy across the course of a subscription; especially with the PlayStation 4 on the horizon and lingering rumours of an overhaul to Sony’s online network to maximise profits closer inline with Microsoft’s “pay to play” rort.

But with BioShock 2 delivered in my first month of membership, followed by Sleeping Dogs, the exquisite Okami, relatively new Hitman: Absolution and shockingly under-appreciated Catherine, Plus has already paid for itself.

PlayStation Plus is the perfect subscription for the frugal gamer... I feel as if I’ve walked out of Myer having just snagged a stack of new releases from the $5 bin because some wrinkled old crone didn’t know what she was almost giving away.

These are five unique games encompassing different genres and target markets that usually wouldn’t mingle, yet are captivating enough that most should find solace within three or four of the five.

Best of all, these are games worth playing that, for whatever reason, slipped under the radar during prime time and have made a timely return to a new and willing audience. I never played Catherine. Everyone told me to, but it was too obscure and I didn’t think I’d have the time to commit to what is still an expensive puzzle game -- I already have a sky-high pile of unfinished shame that engulfed discretionary income I didn’t actually have from three years ago.

PlayStation Plus thrust these upon me like an arranged marriage. There was no choice on my behalf, but unlike trigger-happy parents, I’m pleased with the results. I’d have never bought any of these on my own accord, but I’ve enjoyed playing snippets of each, and I feel as if I’ve walked out of Myer having just snagged a stack of new releases from the $5 bin because some wrinkled old crone didn’t know what she was almost giving away.

And these are just the beginning. Accompanying the marquee release every month is a lesser retail game (like the terrible F1 Race Stars and the Lord of the Rings game isn’t all that flash either) and a downloadable game you’d probably forgotten to buy, alongside a spate of Vita games -- okay usually two Vita games, but last I checked there are only about seven worth playing on the plateauing handheld and almost all of them rotate through the Plus catalogue.

If you own both platforms, the benefits will overflow each month. I’ll probably never buy another Vita game again; I’m rarely in a rush to play them, and everything is almost guaranteed to wind up in the Instant Collection eventually.

To entice you further, Plus members are given around 25 percent off selected new digital offerings -- but it foils itself by coercing you into never paying for anything -- and there’s early access to betas but, frankly, these are as interesting as the stick my dog thoughtfully brings me in excitement upon returning home.

But let’s back-peddle -- why are you never parting with your hard earned coin again? Simple: why buy now, when it will be free later?

As it stands, PlayStation Plus incentivises users to snub purchasing games and wait for them to join the Instant Collection. You could buy Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon for 25 percent off now. But if you wait a few months, that will probably whittle down to a saving of 100 percent.

As a consumer, I’m not bothered. I’ll wait a little longer to get a better deal. But as a gamer, I’d like to know what’s coming out in the near future. The catch 22 is publishers not wanting Sony to reveal PlayStation Plus plans well in advance to ensure sales remain steady. If I told you Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance was joining the Instant Games Collection in August, would any subscribers buy it now? But without that knowledge, I’ll potentially forgo several of this year’s downloadable gems, like Guacamelee, assuming they’ll eventually roll over to a $0 download.

At the beginning of my turning point, I listed what I loved and hated about Sony’s subscription service. Three months into the journey, most of my concerns remain, albeit diminished perhaps due to acceptance, but I’ve drifted further into the love spectrum of our flimsy relationship.

I’m more convinced than ever that the astonishing value is heavily skewed in my favour and that Sony is well ahead of the competition when it comes to the future of games distribution. Spotify and Netflix have hit the nail on the head with unlimited subscription services, and I fully expect PlayStation Plus as we know it to become a prelude to something similar on the PS4.

The Final Verdict

If you own a PS3 and a Vita, you’d be a fool not to invest in a PlayStation Plus subscription. For less than one new release game, I’ve already been treated to four must-have PS3 games and as many again on Vita, and my membership still has another nine months to run. While it might seem like the perfect situation for a big-spending gamer, it's better suited towards the exact opposite. PlayStation Plus is the perfect subscription for the frugal gamer. If you don’t care about new releases, it could become your preferred gaming source.

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PlayStation Plus - Three months in review Comments

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It isn't for me, I've been subscribed for over a year and have given it up.
You don't own the games, your renting them. It's the first stages of digital only distribution and i'm not down with that. Sony make more money this way as you can't trade your games and you only keep them if you keep paying.
I much rather own my titles even if it is through digital, one upfront sum and the title is mine no strings attached.
I'll never subscribe to something like this again to be honest on any system.

OllyEbbz said: It isn't for me, I've been subscribed for over a year and have given it up.
You don't own the games, your renting them. It's the first stages of digital only distribution and i'm not down with that. Sony make more money this way as you can't trade your games and you only keep them if you keep paying.
I much rather own my titles even if it is through digital, one upfront sum and the title is mine no strings attached.
I'll never subscribe to something like this again to be honest on any system.



I totally felt like that at first - which is why I don't think this is for someone like you. It's not for collector's or people who like to look at the game collection or play most of the new release games.

I think it's for people who can't afford or don't want to spend hundreds of dollars (or pounds, right?) a year on games. They'll get to play heaps of stuff for a fairly small amount of money and the trade off is not owning them, which I don't think matters in that scenario.

Honestly, I'm not really the right person to be making any definitive calls on if that's actually true or not, since I do play most of the new release games and like to do that, so it's just the audience who I suspect it's aimed towards.
I'm actually enjoying PS+. It was fantastic that I could use the cloud storage to move my save files around and free up a lot of space, as well as finally getting to play DoA 5, Okami and Catherine.
I like some of the discounts, but I can't take advantage of them as of yet due to lack of funds :P
As soon as I get them though, I'll be right on that.
Your 100% right with what you say Ben. A friend of mine, Chris has a bad habit of trading in his games all the time weather it be for other games or money for takeaway lol and would sometimes be in a position where he had no games lol.
Hes been on PS Plus now for almost a year now and has a vast collection to keep him amused, he doesn't work currently so it keeps him out of my way as he virtually lives under the same roof.
So I can see how its good for some.

GunSlinger said: I'm actually enjoying PS+. It was fantastic that I could use the cloud storage to move my save files around and free up a lot of space, as well as finally getting to play DoA 5, Okami and Catherine.
I like some of the discounts, but I can't take advantage of them as of yet due to lack of funds
As soon as I get them though, I'll be right on that.



I actually do quite like it.

It's just not really targeted to me.

Which is fine. I appreciate what it's trying to do, and it has made me play a bunch of games I otherwise wouldn't have.
I was a bit dubious about it all, but subscribed last year when the subs were discounted and so were PSN cards at Dick Smith. More than happy with the results, though annoyingly with such a big backlog, they've released some games I've already purchased and no longer need (still that's my fault, not theirs). Since subscribing, I have purchased very few PS3 games as the quality of games released is pretty solid and I don't even have time to play through it all.

I'm even trying to save up for a Vita so I can take advantage of the free games (which is probably some kind of marketing I've just let myself get sucked in by :P)

As for the renting/owning issue, I kinda got over that pretty quickly too. I'd love permanent ownership, but I doubt I'd go back and play anything again due to time constraints, or lament it's loss in the years to come. Most of this stuff is already and will be next to nothing in the second hand market anyway, so it can always be obtained there if necessary.
I'm perfectly happy with their offerings since the E3 revision here. I feel sorry for those on the US store though, seems like they get screwed around compared to us most of the time.
renting imo is heaps better than straight buying for digital games.. finish/get bored of digital games you've got no where to go - PS+ is amazing value, and with 2 systems in the house, it keeps me and the gf busy xD
The Vita benefits have been insane. Uncharted, Gravity Rush, Lumines, Sine Mora, Velocity, Thomas Was Alone, MGS 2 + 3, Virtue's Last Reward, Rayman Origins (soon)...that's most of the system's best games.
I love it, been subscribed since the psn outage and love it. I would never have given Hitman absolution a go if it wasn't free on there
I ran out of space on my 500gb hardrive.... Thanks 2 million psn + games. But Easily Worth it. I have payed under $5 a month.
I love it and I wont stop subscribing to it every 3 months (:

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