Having announced their new subscription service at E3 last week, Sony have this week followed up the unveiling of PlayStation Plus with a firm run through of the services cost, features and other notable bits and pieces.
In an update posted to the Official European PlayStation Blog, PlayStation Plus looks all set to deliver a range of content to users in return for your monies and/or soul. Or something. Full run down and some opinions (hint – I’m not exactly jumping for joy over this) after the break.
So what’s the deal? According to the announcement, the key points are:
- Subscriptions will come in two different flavors; 90 days for £11.99 ($17.99) and a full year for £39.99 ($49.99)
- Service goes live on 29 June 2010
- Playing games online will remain free
- Free copy of LittleBigPlanet for anyone who signs up before 03 August 2010
- 1x PSN game, 1x PSone game and 2x Mini’s titles per month (selections pre-determined by Sony)
- All downloads are tied to the subscription. Stop subscribing, you lose your games.
- Premium avatars, dynamic themes and game ad on content.
- Early access to some demo and beta trial content.
So that’s what you’ll be getting on a month to month basis. Sony have however outlined what you’ll be getting for the first 2 months of the service, which are as follows:
Month 1: 29 June 2010 – 03 August 2010
- LittleBigPlanet (Standard edition, does not become tied to your subscription)
- PSN Game: WipEout HD
- Mini’s: Field Runners, Age of Zombies
- PSone: Destruction Derby
- Full Game Trial: Shatter, Savage Moon
- Game DLC: Killzone 2 Steel & Titanium additions
- Push Demo: ModNation Racers, Heavy Rain
- Other shit: 2x Fat Princess avatars, LittleBigPlanet theme and a “The Game Is Just The Start” PlayStation dynamic theme.
Month 2: 04 August 2010 – 01 September 2010
- PSN Game: Zen Pinball
- Mini’s: Blast Off, Alien Zombie Death
- PSone: Medievil
- Full Game Trial: Infernal Pool, Mushroom Wars
- Game DLC: Motorstorm Pacific Rift Adrenaline Pack
- Push Demo: Flower, Pixel Junk Shooter
- Other shit: 2x Heavy Rain avatars, Heavy Rain crime scene theme and another dynamic theme.
The problem I have with PlayStation Plus is that to me it smacks of Sony trying to respond to what they perceive to be demand for a certain service, but totally missing the point of what makes that service so good in the first place. In this instance, that particular service happens to be Xbox Live.
What seems like a glaringly obvious omission from Sony’s press releases about PlayStation Plus is any word on how the company plan on improving the back end of the PlayStation Network itself. It’s for this reason why I think Sony are missing the point with the introduction of this particular subscription service. When people moan about online gaming on PlayStation 3, it’s not because of a lack of free stuff. People generally don’t pay Microsoft an annual fee for early access to demo’s or a slew of dashboard themes. People pay for Xbox Live because the service just works. I’m happy to pay for Xbox Live because I have confidence in Microsoft’s online infrastructure and ability to deliver a stable, competent gameplay environment, which they have achieved since the console launched almost without exception. I don’t feel like I can say the same about PlayStation Network, even for a free service.
I’m also a little dubious with regards to Sony’s stance on running a free service. Although Cross Game Chat won’t be coming straight away with PlayStation Plus, the current general consensus seems to point to the fact that when it does arrive, it will do so exclusively to PlayStation Plus subscribers. Perhaps I’m being overly skeptical, but to me this sounds as though the foundations are being laid for a dangerous precedent. Presumably, standard users (or Cheap Ass Scum, as will be referred to from here on in) and Plus subscribers will share the same servers online, which begs the question about both Cross Game Chat and future updates causing divisions between player bases. Are Cheap Ass Scum gamers going to be pushed into paying for gameplay additions or service features that are only available to subscribers, just to keep up with the competition?
Also, how about those games, folks? As mentioned above, you’ll not be allowed to play any of them should you dare drop your subscription. Essentially, this is a glorified rental service. Specifically, it’s a glorified rental service for games and features that Sony want you to play. Infact, I’m going to just come out and say it; this is a glorified rental service for old crap that Sony almost certainly make next to nothing on from selling anymore. Sure LittleBigPlanet is a nice gesture and WipEout HD is a superb game that deserves to be played by anyone yet to do so, but for anyone who already owns those games (which is likely, seeing as both are more than 2-bloody-years-old), there’s not an awful lot to get excited about for the opening 2 months.
Ugh. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’m totally wrong, and people will flock to this in some sort of cult like quest for dynamic themes and demo’s of games that have been out for 3 months. For now however I’m happy to stick to my guns and call this is as a missed opportunity, a missed point and an excuse to peddle aging software to anyone silly enough to become tied into it for £40/$50 a year. Oh, and no sir, I won’t be subscribing.
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