Going into E3 this year, one of the big questions everybody had regarding the PS4 was how the PlayStation Plus subscription service would work with it. Would there still be an instant game collection? Would an existing subscription carry over to the new machine? As part of their conference yesterday Sony set out to answer the majority of the questions we had.
First, the bad news. In a similar way to how Xbox Live works, online gaming on the PS4 WILL require a PlayStation Plus subscription. That’s right, no more free to play online unless you are a PC gamer it seems. Sony was quick to point out that single player games and all TV/movie subscription services like MLB TV and Netflix will not require PlayStation Plus to work however. Whilst this is arguably a step backwards from the way the current PlayStation network works, it is to be expected to a degree. Sony is probably making a loss on the console itself, and of course the limited game library at launch would render the majority of current PlayStation Plus perks like several free games a month unsustainable. They have to make the money back somewhere.
Next however, the good news. Sony reiterated that your current PlayStation Plus subscription will carry over to PS4. That means that come this Holiday season, one PlayStation Plus subscription could conceivably provide access to online play and free games on PS4, PS3 and Vita, which isn’t a bad deal all things considered. At least it is to be hoped that if online gaming is no longer free on PS4 that features like better matchmaking and cross-game chat will be included.
Next, Sony also surprised many by confirming that the Instant Game Collection that has proven so popular will stay for their next generation console. Of course they aren’t going to be giving away several full priced games every month for free at the start of the console lifecycle, but they did confirm that many of the indy PS4 games shown at the conference will form part of the PlayStation Plus rewards program within the first 12 months, including Don’t Starve, Outlast and The Secret Ponchos.
As well as these titles, in an awesome move, Sony has promised a special PlayStation Plus version of DriveClub will also form part of the Instant Game Collection. It seems doubtful that this will be the full version of the game (at least not if Sony want to sell any copies at retail), but it could perhaps be a kind of Gran Turismo prologue version of the game, giving access to selected tracks and cars, maybe offering the full bundle as DLC. Either way, this is a great offer and should give PlayStation 4 early adopters (who subscribe to PS Plus) the equivalent of a pack-in game for free. Add in the purchase of Killzone: Shadow Fall for example and Playstation 4 owners can get two games and a year’s worth of Playstation Plus for less than the cost of the Xbox One. Factor in Xbox Live and you can make that three games on Playstation 4 versus none on the Microsoft machine.
What do you guys make of this deal? Are you annoyed at the pay to play online thing? Or is PS Plus still an amazing deal? Let us know below.