A months subscription was offered as an apology from SONY over the 2011 PSN outage. It offered Infamous, R&C Quest for Booty and Dead Nation FREE of charge.
Where it all started, cheaper purchases and free games.
With Sony's newest handheld the free games didn't stop. Sweetening the deal, getting more deals across two platforms.
PS PLUS will be required to play online games, however, casual gamers will still reap all the benefits across all three platforms.
A subscription to end all subscription's?
A staggering 64 games across PS3 and PS Vita were available free of charge to Plus subscribers each year, accumulating in over $1000 worth of content. All of this for the relatively small sum of just £39.99 a year. This my friends is what is called a 'bargain' and they are few and far between these days.
The savings don't just stop there as the instant games collection is just one aspect of a Plus subscription. Subscribers receive discounts off PlayStation Store games, get access to free themes and avatars, early access to multiplayer betas and can beam their game saves up to the cloud. Sony has created a situation in which you could feasibly only have to get your wallet out for gaming purchases once a year.
The burning question amongst many gamers though is how is this financially possible from Sony's point of view and for the developers and publishers of the games included as part of PS Plus? Surely they cannot be making any money out of it. Well, they must be otherwise they would not have continued with it and the overall package would not have improved as much as it has since its inception. Allow me to explain how I think PlayStation Plus works.
When games become available on the instant game collection they have normally been out for at least a few months, from a publishers perspective these games have probably already sold the majority of new copies that will be sold relative to lifetime sales. Therefore most future sales are going to be pre owned of which the developer/publisher will receive zilch. If Sony offers a financial incentive to put their game on PS Plus they would probably accept that even just a Chomp bar would be better than nothing. Not only would they get the financial benefit but the possibility of expanding their market to gamers who previously would not have tried the game which leads to the possibility of a sequel. Microsoft have only just recently added the ability to download certain games for free as part of the Xbox Live Gold subscription, however the games fall way short of those offered on PS Plus (5 year old game anyone?) Importantly though it demonstrates that this practice of offering old games for free makes financial sense.
Borderlands was available for a time to download for free just before Borderland 2 was released. This made perfect sense for Gearbox for the reasons outlined above and to get even more gamers excited about the impending sequel.
The question still remains how it is financially viable for Sony? Each month when new free games, deals and discounts are added to PS Plus there is likely to be at least one thing that makes some gamers who were not previously subscribers sign up. A good example being when Ni No Kuni was discounted for PS Plus members, I'm sure Sony had an influx of new subscribers that week, some JRPG starved gamers possibly even bought a PS3 and Plus subscription just for that game. Talking of buying a new console, Vita content has become part of the subscription now for no additional fee which may have convinced some to splash out on a Vita.
For the future there is PS4. Whilst it is not yet fully known what the Plus package will include on PS4, it is almost certain to be a similar deal if not better if Sony are able to improve its online infrastructure up to the standard of Xbox Live. If this is the case then PS Plus may just be the carrot on the stick which sways gamers over to Sony's console rather than to the Xbox One.