Sony has long been known for its ability to find even the smallest way to make more money off of their players, and their latest announcement is no exception. Sony have announced that they will be extending their PlayStation Plus programme to introduce several new tiers, including a new Premium membership tier.
What is PlayStation Plus?
The way that games are accessed has changed massively over recent years. Gone are the days of visiting gaming stores and buying a physical disk with the game on – if your favourite hadn’t sold out of course. Nowadays, games are much more digital with many people opting to use stream services for games rather than buying individual games.
PlayStation Plus allows members to access a new catalogue of both new releases and more classic games – if you’re of a certain age then think Blockbuster but for games, and if not think Netflix!
What Does PlayStation Plus Offer?
Each tier comes with its own benefits. The system has existed in its original form for quite a while, but this shake-up brings new tiers with extra perks. All three tiers offer new downloadable games every month as well as discounts. PS Plus Extra and PS Plus Premium offer a huge catalogue of nearly 400 downloadable games. The new tier focuses on the ability to play more legacy games; Premium users will be able to stream PS3 games as well as download and play PS1, PS2 and PSP games as well as tackling Premium exclusive time trials. The essential membership started at just under £50 per year, with Plus Extra and Premium costing £84 per year and £100 per year respectively.
The Introduction of PlayStation Premium Plus
The new PS Plus Premium subscription service will provide gamers with a whole catalogue of new games to play as impressive as these sign up offers.
Sony created PS Plus as a way to compete with Xbox Live Gold who were already offering users the ability to download games. PS Plus was originally fairly successful, with many users choosing to sign up for access to new games every month. The subscription service has almost 50 million members, making it one of the biggest additional pay-to-play platforms in the gaming industry, thanks to the quality of the included extras each month. In fact, the platform has continued to grow its monthly users year on year since its launch.
Gamers are well-versed in using subscription services to access the games that they want and for many, it’s actually a preferable way to play. For starters, accessing games this way takes up much less storage space and allows people to try a range of games that they may not otherwise have tried.
Are PlayStation Fans Happy?
Having said this, the PS Plus shakeup has seen a reduction in the enthusiasm that gamers shared for the platform, with the new pricing structure and Premium tier receiving more mixed reviews.
Online gaming magazine Push Square called the new tiered approach compelling, allowing users to retain all of the existing benefits of the original PS Plus subscription while giving users the option to upgrade for more included extras if they would like. One of the main concerns has been the availability of games on the platform, which Push Square defended by pointing out that the newly extended platform is in its infancy and more games are likely to be added, although they pointed out that Sony are clearly not intending to release the newest and biggest games via the platform but allow access to nostalgic favourites.
Screenrant agreed with Push Square’s comments, saying that if you have a strong enough internet connection then it’s worth the fee to enable you to play the hard-to-find PS2 games alone. However, they did remark that the demand on internet connection is incredibly strong, so it’s only worth upgrading if you are lucky enough to have lightning-fast internet.
HITC also gave a mixed review, applauding the vast array of titles that were available to play while also venting their frustrations about only being able to stream PS3 games, rather than downloading them.
Reddit users have also been decidedly on the fence with the newly expanded PS Plus programme. One user commented that they had 1000mb/s internet and struggled to play a game at the same time as someone using the internet on their phone, calling it glitchy and slow to load. Other users were quick to echo the sentiment, although the fact that PS1 and PS2 games are downloadable with a Premium membership helped save Sony from a less favourable review.
Will It Be Popular?
Usually with additional subscription services the company gets crucified for bleeding more money out of the players that already spend hundreds or even thousands on equipment and games. Despite this, Sony’s revamped PS Plus and enhanced tier system seems to have been a hit.
One thing that Sony and PlayStation have in their favour is an impressive range of games, especially within their back catalogue. There has always been nostalgia within the gaming community with people keen to try retro games. A subscription service like this allows people to try ‘old-fashioned’ games without needing to pay for them separately or the need to hunt down second-hand disks to play. If they switch things up and start to put brand new releases on there then this is likely to keep fans happy – and therefore paying the ongoing subscription charges. Of course, there will always be fans that are unhappy with the actual fee and the fact that there is a new tier with a higher charge is going to disgruntle some. That said, Sony does seem keen to ensure that the new package offers value for money, so let’s see if that helps keep the gaming community happy – although as things go, playing games without a monthly subscription charge is becoming a thing of the past.
There is definitely room for improvement, but with some changes already being implemented, it seems that Sony are listening.