Now that E3 has come and gone and the dust is beginning to settle Playstation this week unveiled its new offerings to users on the Playstation Network in the form of a new subscription service called Playstation Plus. Now before the panic sets in this is not a pay to play subscription similar to Xbox Live, this is a more of a carrot to dangle in front of the more hardcore gamers and those simply looking for a bargain.
So what is Playstation Plus exactly? And how much does it cost?
A fee based service where users can get early access to game demos, free games, free or discounted add-on content, and priority invitations for Beta testing games. Being an avid user and supporter of the Playstation Network this new offering is thrilling and scary; thrilling because the idea of free stuff and beta access can rarely be a bad thing, the scary part being that this could be the first step towards pay-to-play. Thus far the subscription will run you $49.99 for a full year or $17.99 (limited time price) for three months. Fair pricing when you break down the year subscription (under a dollar a week).
Looking over the first batch of content doesn’t really have the wow factor this will need to really take hold, a handful of free games; avatars, a theme, and a 60 minute play through of Infamous. Not a ton of reward for shelling out the cash for a subscription. Of the offerings few of them are new and those 60 minute trials are 60 minutes from the second you start and does not stop if you turn the system off, once you begin the timer is running if you are playing or not. Not a big selling point for most gamers. Keep in mind as well that the free games are only free so long as you have the service which means should you cancel it the games will vanish along with it.
Among the many features listed is an automatic download feature which will select demos, patches, and firmware for you and download them automatically for you. Might sound handy at first however so far this lacks the ability to select which content you would like and for many users this will quickly become a sore spot of irritation.
Could this become pay-to-play? Doubtful but the looming threat of developers creating a subscription service for their games already makes this a dodgy prospect. In the end it will fall on the gamers to say no to any sort of extra pay-to-play services. Just say no until they get the hint.
The strongest portion of the service at a glance for many gamers is going to be the early demo’s and beta testing invites, when they show up at any rate.
All in all this new service is far more flash than substance and time will tell if it becomes worth the price of admission.
Choose wisely and play well.
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