XBL Gold, Call Of Duty Elite Premium, and Battlefield 3 Premium just can’t compete in terms of overall value
When Sony originally launched PlayStation Plus there were a lot of mixed feelings on it. Some people thought it was a no brainer and others just couldn’t see the value. I was one of the early adopters and felt that even at initial launch it just made since from a value play. After about 2 months, I wrote a post saying how much I thought so and there were still mixed responses to that.
At E3 2012, Sony announced a some pretty major updates to the service and to everyone’s surprise they DIDN’T raise the price. The new PlayStation Plus now features a new instant game collection starting off with 12 blockbuster titles available free. New games will be added on a regular basis and any game you download will be available to you as long as you subscribe to the service. That’s a very important thing to note as many people were concerned when the service launched that there were too many games and they could possibly play them all any time soon. So let me be clear, as long as it is in your download history and you are subscribed to the service you can come back to them at any time. If you let the subscription lapse you would lose access to them BUT if you then renewed your subscription you would get all your accesses back. Therefore, the only thing you would lose out on was any games or bonuses that came out and then ended before you renewed.
Pure Value Play
From a pure value perspective, if you own a PS3 and put it to any kind of real use then not subscribing to PlayStation Plus is almost crazy. The service cost $49.99/year. If we put that into perspective, that’s about $5/month. I know that in economic times such as these money can be tight but that is actually all the more reason to buy it. At a minimum you will get 3-5 times that in the value of free games, avatars, full game trials, early beta access and more.
So far Sony hasn’t played this angle yet but they should. With these additions to PlayStation Plus, a parent that has kids, especially teenagers, this could be a lifesaver. You buy your child the 1 year subscription for $50 and you know that throughout the year they will have access to dozens of free games to keep them entertained. Sure you will still have to buy the occasional new game that they just have to have, but there is no doubt this will save you time and money when it comes to getting your child new things to play.
For parents with pre-teens and younger children there will be less games that are perhaps age appropriate, but still more than enough to justify the purchase (LittleBigPlanet2, Ratchet & Clank All 4 One and Sideway New York). More importantly for parents there is no game disc for them to lose, scratch, or misplace. If Sony can simplify all the features so the average parent can understand what it will do for them then I think it could spark a major bump in sales of PlayStation Plus subscriptions. It works out both ways, Sony of course increases revenue and parents get to keep more cash in their pocket.
Automatic Update gives you the choice to receive the latest PS3 system software and all your latest game updates without lifting a finger. It can enable automated Trophy sync and game saves with PlayStation Network or deliver selected game and video content directly to your console. This means that your system will always be up to date from a system perspective and that game updates will be downloaded and installed without you having to do a thing (if you set it that way). Some people think this is a small thing to do, but any time you can save is always a good thing.
Online Game Save
Effortlessly load up to 1000 game save data files with 150MB of storage on the PlayStation Network and access them on other PlayStation 3 systems. This is very important because if at some point your PS3 dies, your most important game saves are safe and saved to the cloud as long as you tell the system to do that. Since all your downloaded games can easily be re-downloaded, you never have to worry about losing your downloaded games or those critical save files again.
Full Game Trial
It’s like a 1-hour game rental and a great way to try before you buy. This is where they basically let you download the entire version of a game and play it for an hour, if you like it you can but it and keep playing or if you don’t just delete it and no real loss on your side.
Exclusive & Early Access
Enjoy exclusive content for your PS3 and receive priority access to selected betas and demos. Honestly, this is a place I think they can really improve on, but that’s just personal preference on my part. Two of the biggest early betas were StarHawk and Ghost Recon: Future Soldier and I honestly wasn’t a huge fan of either. But this is just like icing on the cake and will always come down to personal preference.
I can’t stress this enough on the awesome discounts you get, it makes swallowing some of these new game purchases a lot more digestible when you can save a decent amount of money off the retail price.
I’m not a PlayStation fanboy, I’m actually one of their tougher critics when they mess up and anyone that was reading this site when the whole hacking thing happened knows that. I’m not a Microsoft hater either, I think they do some awesome work. I’m even a huge Call Of Duty fan and thought Battlefield 3 was more than solid. But at this point, XBL Gold, Call Of Duty Elite Premium, and Battlefield 3 Premium just don’t have anything on PlayStation Plus from a value standpoint.
XBL Gold can’t compete because the service is required to play games online and therefore core to Microsoft’s bottom line revenue. PlayStation Plus is a bonus for Sony because its free to get online and play on PSN. There are some folks that will say they only play COD, but maybe one day you just want to try something different or let your kids play something. If I did have one real issue with PlayStation Plus would be that it defaults to automatically renew which means that you won’t get any warning of the subscription needing to be renewed until you get the email saying your credit card has been charged. It’s easy enough to go in and change it to manual renew, but I felt like even if they were going to set it to automatic renew they should at least send you an email saying that it’s about to expire and is currently set to auto-renew so that you know. Ultimately, that may be all they need to do as I was going to renew anyway, the issue is that nobody likes to be blindsided by automatic payments.
Bottom line I think that everyone that owns a PS3 should have PlayStation Plus, it’s quite simply the best way to get the most bang out of your buck when all things are considered. If rumors prove true they are still looking at even more ways to add to the service. As always, these are just my personal thoughts so hit up the comments and let me know whether you agree or disagree and why.
P.S. Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers out there stepping up to the plate and handling their business. And if you haven’t tried PlayStation Plus, pick up a 3 month subscription for $18. You will be glad you did.
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