Wednesday, June 30

Value Added

So I've been a Playstation Plus subscriber for one day, and not much has changed. Sure I'm 70 dollars poorer, but I don't feel cheated, or overly special for that matter. I have read many any an article and forum post decrying or praising the subscription service; but no opinion, on either end of the scale, seems to adequately appropriate how I view this transaction.

The most puzzling of the critiques levelled at Playstation Plus was that posted by Kotaku Australia's David Wildgoose. Essentially he states that he will not subscribe to the service because he is only aware of the benefits on offer for the first two months the service is offered, and that everything past that point is essentially a lucky dip. He continues by arguing that with Xbox Live Gold, you know exactly what you get and for that reason, he will be happy to continue subscribing to Microsoft's service while rejecting Sony's. I posted comments on his article arguing the following:
  • Comparing connection quality in games played over the Playstation Network and Xbox Live, I have noticed no great difference in the amount of lag encountered. Therefore, it makes no sense to pay for one service just to play games online when the other is of comparable quality and allows me to play for free.
  • A 12 month Xbox Live subscription costs $79.95. This allows me to purchase games included in the Deals of the Week promotion. This means that on top of the subscription fee, I get to pay slightly less for downloadable games if and when Microsoft decides to include desired titles in the promotion.
  • I don't understand why so many people want Cross-game chat functionality. Why would you want to speak to anyone who is not playing with you (especially in a competitive, team-based game)? Add to that, the fact that I don't have enough friends on XBL to use Xbox Live Party functionality.  
  • With Playstation Plus you pay $5.83 a month to participate in the "lucky dip." I am sure that I would find enough content of interest to cover the initial $69.95 investment. The last time I bought a lucky dip was in 1992 at the St. Kevin's Primary School fete and it cost me 2 dollars (I picked out a small, plastic Brontosaurus). Taking inflation into account, $5.83 or what would be less than 400 Microsoft Points ($6.60) for (potentially) 4 games a month is a steal. To illustrate the point (and this was not included in my comments on Kotaku): Yes, I have already purchased Wipeout HD, but I have not purchased Fieldrunners (which I have learnt today is an awesome Tower Defence romp) and Destruction Derby. Further to that, as a bonus for subscribing within the first month of offer, I can download LittleBigPlanet. My access to LBP won't expire if I discontinue my subscription to Playstation Plus. 1 day in and I have downloaded $66.85 worth of content.
  • Subscribing to Playstation Plus will entitle you to donwload 48 games a year. Once again, I am sure (now proven) that I will find enough content to justify the asking price.
I am yet to find a title to utilise the Full Game Trial function with yet. If I was subscribing to the US service, I would have logged an hour on Infamous; but the choices this month are Shatter and Savage Moon, which I already own. I am also yet to see priority access to any demos or betas, but in time I am sure those benefits will become apparent. One aspect of the service, that I have so far found to be bitterly disappointing is the implementation of discounts. I was hoping it would be a blanket rate applied to all content on the store, with certain items being placed on promotion. What you get instead is about 20 percent off a small range of pretty undersirable stuff.

I know there is comfort in predictability, but I am more than happy to take a 6 dollar punt every month. It looks like I'm on a winner.

Who is or isn't subscribing to Playstation Plus? Care to share your rationale?  


  1. I regards to your cross-game chat issues, I'd certainly use it. Whenever I game on with Ben Smith, we have a yarn prior to co-op'ing or whatnot. To transition into a game - especially one such as Ridge Racer 7 or SEGA Rally revo, ones without voice chat - without breaking communication would be nice.

    It's not a necessity, but it sounds mighty convenient.

    I picked up the 90 day one, just to see what it was all about. Haven't really seen many benefits at all, but not particularly dissatisfied at it. Some nice deals to be had, but I'm more interested in the functionality, such as timed powering-on for updates and the like. Some cloud saving would be nice, but it's not a big issue.

  2. I take your point. Mind you, our field trip in Lost Planet 2 facilitated a good catch-up session, and in that case I can see the value of the option to carry chat through to other titles. I'm not normally into the social aspect of gaming because I normally play games as a means of escapism.

    From what I have read, the Japanese PSN+ works a little differently. Can you advise of any notable differences?

  3. I'm on the same PSN+ as your fine self, so I wouldn't know about the Japanese version.

    We'll have to get some more co-op in down the track if you're keen. I think we're all a little busy at the moment, but keep that copy handy!

    I guess I use gaming as both escapism AND as a platform to catch up with folks and shoot the breeze. I do value the ol' voice chat for that.

  4. I'm not trading in Lost Planet 2 anytime soon my friend. I've still got to actually play it. I've given it about 4 hours worth. I think it deserves a little bit more at the very least.

  5. Quick note im back on UFC 116, it has all been orgainsed at the homestead, only have to find out when it starts, will do so tonight.

    I will be jumoping on PSN PLus and tris all of your points are extremely valid, XBOX live justification of i know whats on there is ridiculous, Im unaware of what sales are pending on xbla as i am with what sales are going to be on PSN.

    and tris is it tonight you are coming down?

  6. Posting from Brisbane in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.