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