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Should I still be paying monthly fees for games? Part 3 – PlayStation Plus

Should I still be paying monthly fees for games? Part 3 – PlayStation Plus

Michael C Black returns to ask if PlayStation Plus is worth the punt.

Part 1: MMO’s, Part 2: Onlive

Of all the game-related services I subscribe to, PlayStation Plus is probably my favourite. Mostly because it gives me games for the platform I play most. Even though that just means PS3 just now, Sony will be bringing the benefits of Plus to PlayStation Vita as well.

So let’s lay out the pros and cons of Plus, starting with what you get. There are different prices for different amounts of time, but the best value is £40 for a one year subscription (though it was on offer recently for £30) and for that you get a selection of games discounted or free each month, with some “flufferies” on the side (dynamic themes, avatar icons and such).

Perhaps the best perks come in the data management though; Plus allows you to set your PS3 to go on at a given time and back up saves of your choice and download updates. It’s practically an insurance policy; if your PS3 is lost, stolen or broken, you’ll still be able to play games to get over the stress of having to replace said PS3… Hopefully.

The first oft-cited criticism I’d like to dispel is the comparison to Xbox Live. It confuses me when folks do this: About the only real similarity is the occasional early access to demos, but Xbox Live does that with all demos of retail (disc) games and reserves online play for Gold subscribers. Xbox Live isn’t saving you any money, if anything they’re just charging you to use services you already pay for (like Netflix or LOVEFiLM) or play games online, which you can do without additional charges on any other platform. I like my Xbox 360s (I have two) just fine thanks, but Live is downright crooked in my view.

The second criticism is of losing access to games you got during subscription when your subscription is up. This is more extreme than OnLive’s value proposition. Here, it averages to less than £3.50 a month if you bought a year’s subscription. Where else can you get a month of entertainment for less than some coffee shops charge for a cappuccino?

Given all that, I would make the argument that PlayStation Plus isn’t just good for those who spend a lot on games anyway, but it’s best for those with the least amount of disposable income. How else are you going to get games like Dead Space 2, Borderlands or Little Big Planet 2 for so little?

On the downside, you will need a bigger hard drive (at least 500 GB, to be safe) and if your broadband package has a data limit you’ll hit it pretty quickly. I would have said the cloud storage for saved games is woefully small at 150 MB, but it was upgraded to 1 GB a little while back.

I mean really, who with a PS3 can afford not to subscribe to Plus?

So I guess the take away of this little mini-series is don’t do drugs. I mean MMOs…. Whatever, same thing!

MOAR FROM CALMDOWNTOM!

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  • TwiggiePantz

    @John — I think you missed his point there bud.

    The main point of it all is that with no LIVE = no online play.

    From my point of view both have serious issues, obtaining a game via PS+ is buying a license, the moment it expires so does the access to the game; you either get gold or playing and accessing the console’s key features are off limits.
    From my point of view XBL service brings much more rich features, but not worth 50 dlls, since only play should be free.

    But at the end of the day the choice is yours, just as the console you buy.

    @OP — great read and be ready for lame comments : )

  • Steve

    You do realize that some of those features you list are actually more centric to the system…not the service.

    Right?

  • John

    “who with a PS3 can afford not to subscribe to Plus?”

    Almost everybody, that’s why they went with the PS3 in the first place, because the craptastic PSN is free.
    But then again Live has a lot more features PSN doesn’t have, (which I’m sure all the pauperfanboys will try to downplay every single time as all they fall for is Sony’s petty bribery).
    -Cross-game chat
    -Party mode
    -Private voice chat channels
    -Voice messaging
    -Beacons
    -Multi-user logins system wide
    -Multi-headset support system wide
    -Live status updates for all games
    -Achievements that auto-sync without you having to pay
    -Cross-game invites in all games
    -Join session in progress in all games
    -Mute options in all games
    -Mandatory demos for all downloadable XBLA and indie games
    -Cheaper prices for most downloadable games and DLC
    -Earlier access to many downloadable games and pieces of DLC
    -Windows Live Messenger integration
    -WAY more media apps and services
    -Far better privacy options
    -A WAY more functional website where you can queue up demos to your console etc.
    -Better social media integration
    -A WAY better and faster update system than on the PS3.

    You pay for Gold because it’s a superior service. I agree, a free game once in a while would be great (like they used to do in the beginning) and the Gold requirement for added subscription based services is ridiculous, but don’t come preaching that PSN is great, because it isn’t. It’s a me too PoS afterthought, like so many things on the PlayStation 3 that wasn’t properly designed from the ground up.