Why I’m Not Subscribing To PlayStation Plus

Sony's premium PlayStation Network service launches tomorrow. For $69.95 per year, you get access to a selection of games, demos, themes, discounts and other downloadables. Do you think it's worth it? I don't.

PlayStation Plus is a new tier that sits above the existing PlayStation Network. Current PSN members will continue to get everything they currently get for free, including online gameplay. However, PlayStation Plus subscribers get more stuff on top of that for the duration of their subscription.

When it launches on June 29, you can purchase a yearly subscription for $69.95 or a 90-day subscription for $20.95.

According to the EU PlayStation Blog, you get:

Month 1: June 29 – August 3

* Intro offer: LittleBigPlanet (standard edition) * PSN PS3: Wipeout HD * minis: Field Runners, Age of Zombies * PSone: Destruction Derby * Full Game Trial: Shatter, Savage Moon * Discounts: LittleBigPlanet God of War Pack – 50%, LittleBigPlanet: LocoRoco costume pack – 50%, Gravity Crash – 20%, Fat Princess DLC – 20% * Premium Game Element: KillZone 2: Steel & Titanium DLC * Push Demo: ModNation Racers, Heavy Rain * Themes: LBP Theme, SCEE produced: PlayStation “Game Is Just The Start” Dynamic Theme * 2 x Fat Princess Premium Avatars

Month 2: August 4 – September 1

* PSN PS3: Zen Pinball * minis: Blast-Off, Alien Zombie Death * PSone: Medievil * Full Game Trial: Inferno Pool, Mushroom Wars * Discounts: Zen Pinball Earth Defence Table – 20%, Warhawk Triple Combo Pack – 50%, Super Stardust HD - 20%, WipeOutHD Fury – 20% * Premium Game Elements: Motorstorm Pacific Rift: Adrenaline Pack * Push Demo: Flower, Pixel Junk Shooter * Themes: SCEE produced: PlayStation + Dynamic Theme (in production), Heavy Rain Crime Scene Theme * 2 x Heavy Rain Avatars (Bird and Butterfly)

Sony is promising one PS3 game, two minis and one PSone game each month. Which is around $15-25 value every month, assuming you have interest in the monthly selections. It appears Sony will not be offering a choice of titles here.

The "full game trial" sees you download an entire game (the first few are all quite small, thankfully) and play for an hour before deciding whether or not to purchase it. Think of it as a full-featured but time-limited demo.

Sony is also promising "early access" to beta tests and demos, an unsavoury practice we've been experiencing for some time now on Xbox Live where Gold members occasionally get a headstart on demos. Hopefully this won't turn into basically charging PSN users for game demos.

And, yeah, you get a couple of themes and avatars.

For the first month there's an introductory offer to download the full version of LittleBigPlanet. You will be able to keep this once your subscription expires.

Perhaps the most important information is this: All content games other than the LBP introductory offer, however, are only accessible while your subscription is valid. Let it expire and you won't be able to play those downloadable games or use that theme or avatar.

Keep paying your $69.95 per year and you'll be able to keep playing your "free" games. Stop paying for your "free" games and you won't be able to play them.

Hmm.

Personally, I'm not convinced. I already own LittleBigPlanet and the couple of downloadable games that interest me in the first two months of offers. And I don't care for the DLC. There's nothing here that's of value to me.

That's the problem when you're not charging people for a complete and consistent service.

Xbox Live is the same every month. Gold members know what they're paying for: a superior online gaming and social community. When Xbox Live changes, it changes for everyone. And it retains its value from month to month.

PlayStation Plus is different every month. As I said, there's no value in it for me over the first two months. Maybe in September I'll want all the downloadable games and that 90-day subscription will seem like a good deal. Or maybe September won't have anything of interest either.

When I pay for Xbox Live today, I can rely on it being just as good in 12 months' time. I can't rely on PlayStation Plus being worth my while from month to month, let alone for 12 months. I'm essentially speculating that Sony will deliver over $70 worth of content I want to play over that time. I'd rather know what I'm paying for.

Sorry, Sony, but no thank you.


Comments

    Yeah, I am with you on this one and I would have to say that the majority of PS3/PSN users will be of the same opinion.

    I have never experienced the Xbox live service so I can't comment on the value of the PS3 v Xbox thing. But I am just happy that we can still use the online features for free on the PSN.

    Being a gambler I'm up for taking the bet that I'll get my monies worth if not already from the first two months so day one for me!

      Taking your analogy and infusing it with poker terms. Since Sony have announced the first two months of content you have effectively seen the flop. You can pretty much fold this hand if there is nothing of interest and deal in and take the punt for 12 months when you see picture cards in future 'months'.

    This is exactly what I thought. It's a dangerous precedent if Sony has success with what can basically be described as pay-to-be-advertised-to.

    Yea, the whole aspect that I need to keep paying to keep the content is what scares me away. It wouldn’t be so bad if they let me choose what I wanted and pay in 1 month subscriptions, but I guess I’m just describing Xbox live. I just can’t be bothered for essentially pay for 90% of crap to get that one thing I actually want.

    Sony clearly has no shame in blatantly ripping off the market leader in sales, why not rip off the market leader in the online department?

    Yeah I don't see myself getting this. I also think it's quite bad you download the entire game, but only have one hour to play it? Crap. Should be 12 hours or something. And yeah, that's pretty crappy, you get a 'free' game, but can't keep it. Still, I can play online for free, and that's good enough for me. I don't play online too often anyway.

    Also, what's a 'push demo'?

      It's a full game with no level restrictions, so 1 hour seems decent. Think about it this way, most people said they finished the single player missions of MW2 in around 8 hours, same with BFBC2...basically if you just wanted to blitz through a game 12 hours would probably be enough time to finish (except for games like Final Fantasy etc)...
      Yer, what is a push demo?
      David, you also forgot that PSN Plus subscription activates a feature in the PS3 which will download firmware and game updates at a set time, such as in the middle of the night when most people's broadband is off-peak and electricity is off-peak.
      I'm not sure about it yet, I have LBP so I don't find this appealing, does the European store also get Wipeout HD as an included full game?

      You think you should be able to play a full game like inFamous for 12 hours because you spent the time and bandwith downloading it.

      Tell me your joking because that is ridiculous. You could finish the entire game in that time.

      Also, can I just ask, what's the differences between Live and PSN that make Live 'so much better?'.

      I'm just curious to know, as I don't really play online much. A couple of times on a mate's 360 just showed me the same thing really.

        Cross game chat with 8 people, cross game invites, voice messaging. Being able to party up with people and stay with them in what ever game your playing.

        Im not going to get started on all this PSN plus stuff though, how do Sony add an extra optional feature and cop so much hate?

    Even if i had a PS3 i wouldn't buy this tripe....

    The "free" game sounds a bit lame, if it was a case of getting to pick one a month from the entire library to "own" thne it'd be a lot more attractive but if I'm to pay a fairly hefty subscription fee, I'd sooner have the option to politely decine parappa the rapper in favour of something... well not lame

      Picking a game of your choosing a month would well exceed the cost of subscription and it would be a no brainer.

      I like the idea but things to good to be true ... often are

    Somewhat relevant: I don't really have much of an issue with XBL gold members getting demos a few days early.

    What really, really pisses me off is when a demo / "beta" is made available exclusively to people who have preordered the game. It's completely backwards. The goal of a demo should be to make me buy the game, I shouldn't need to commit to buying it in order to be allowed to decide if I want to buy it.

    Well said sir, couldn't agree more and you hit on the big reason I wont subscribe. If the content going forward is all as dated as the list above I will already own it or, I don't want it.

    Really, if you were at all interested in LBP, Wipeout or any of the others listed, chances are that in the (over a) year since they came out you have already got it.

    Its a service that is usually reserved for hardcore gamers, but its products dont even come close to being focused towards hardcore gamers.

    Maybe in a years time, I'd consider getting this, especially when the Games/DLC etc is more focused to something that I want or dont already have.

    I like David also have LittleBIGPlanet and won't be biting this Apple for at least another two months. Though I've also got Live so only turn to PS3 for exclusives as like it or not Xbox offers a much better all be it paid online service.

    I also have bandwidth concerns on PSN where as I get partial free downloads with XBL via iiNet.

    So PAL territories don't get Qore but Sony didn't think to put something in its place.

    Come on Sony! You mock Microsoft for being out of touch (via Kevin Butler) but you're just as bad. Give the people who actually supported games such as Little Big Planet some other options.

    And as for paying for access to early demos - capitalism at its worst.

    I bet sony is kicking themselves in the balls that they simply didn't do what microsoft did and do a silver/gold system where you have to pay to play online as well as all the other benefits. Sure sony has has the rights to say we offer free online play (although it is IMO an inferior service) and that they used the fact that it was free as a marketing slogan. However i think that if they made any sales from being free online play, it would pale in comparison to the monthly upkeep and costs of servers all around the world to keep the service going. At least microsoft have covered themselves with server costs by making gold a subscription service.

    Under the circumstances i don't think sony could have done anything different then offer what they did because they could hardly yank free online multi and make it subscription based after all those years of bragging about free online (simple fact is that they would like idiots).

    Will be interesting to see how many takers there are.

      Can you explain how the online gaming aspect is inferior? I hear it from Xbox users a bit, but I honestly can't see why that might be. Online = online, no?

        Before i start my answer i would like to point out that i do own both a 360 and PS3 (as well as a Wii and PC) and i don't support one company over another like a fanboy.

        I find when playing games on my Xbox online with friends is a much simpler and easier and for some reason have less lag (not for all games but some). The simple ease of joining a friends game and using the party system that uses cross game chat and the ability to dump your entire party into your gaming session in less then two-three button presses is fantastic.

        On the ps3 my gaming experience seems less social with my mates and it sometimes seems a hassle to get a game going if we have more then 3 of us trying to get into the same game(not much of a hassle but compared to xbox i would say it is a hassle). I know Sony have said in the past and even at E3 i believe that cross-game chat is going to happen but when and if it gets added for PS Plus only subs remains to be seen (i would probably get Plus for that reason if my friends were also to get it).

        Of course it is for more of those reasons then i listed above but i just can't explain for some reason why i like the xbox system better. I just like it better because i have had much better online experiences with it then my ps3. Of course all the consoles pale in comparison to PC online gaming experience but that is a whole different argument (and hardly fair :P)

    Just FYI, David. Themes and Avatars are permanent and you can continue to use them after your subscription ends. It says so on the PlayStation blog.

      I stand corrected, but it obviously makes no difference.

        Oh I know, and I still agree with you overall. Just wanted to clarify for people who might wanna subscribe.

    If PSN traffic didn't count toward my quota it would certainly help out this offer considerably.

    I haven't downloaded anything from the store for months now. This new list doesn't make me want to either. Just as long as the 'playing games for free on the network' stays the same, I'll be fine with my free PSN.

    I'm not getting this. The current PSN is lacking in demos, so why should i pay for stuff that I won't own properly and an extremely slow (almost non-existant) trickle of demos and games I don't care about.

    No thanks Sony

    Not being able to play when you stop paying is really harsh. I guess they just want people to get locked in to paying every year. They obviously envy Microsoft's gold income but its too late to do it retroactivly so they tried to make something that will hold onto people long term. After two years of paying and downloading all that stuff your not going to want to give it up.

    p.s. parappa the rapper was hella cool!

    The only thing wrong with this is the fact you may not know what is coming up on offer, but I'm with MrBS on this on the optimistic side of things, I honestly can't see how you won't get your money's worth.

    I know this might be taken in the wrong way and not meant to start a flame war, but at least this subscription means more than just being able to play online, if you just want to play online, then that's fine you don't have to buy in.

    With Digital Distribution you could argue that you don't own anything anyway, and that you are only buying a license to play the game 'forever'. PlayStation Plus just means I'm buying a license that lasts 12mths to play a bunch of games that Sony offer to me. Is it really that bad?

    While they are trivial and worthless, the Avatar and Theme freebies aren't tied to the subscription, so at least you come away with something to start with.

    I personally haven't purchased a Mini yet, and probably still won't as most of the games aren't all that flash. I'm more looking towards the PS3 and PSone games.

    Medievil & Destruction Derby are 2 pretty good games from the old PSone and the following months will probably other old SCEE titles like Crash, Spyro also. Certainly games that I would transfer to the PSP to play (before anyone asks, no I don't pirate games)

    For the DLC, the Killzone & Motorstorm is worth about $8-10 each, and hopefully they can publish the content on offer in advance as much as possible, so I know that my subscription would cover an upcoming month, instead of purchasing something early and then learning it will be free in the next month. Same goes with the discounts on games and so forth.

    For me and alot of the current PS3 owners, the issue is that I will probably have alot of the content already, which I'll admit I do. So as it progresses and new things at added in the coming months, it will be things that I haven't purchased yet. New and recent adopters to the PS3? They would be stupid not to buy in really.

    I agree with the issue where you don't get to keep your downloads (with the exception of LittleBigPlanet). I think that it was really the only thing that could have made the subscription worth it to me... It reminds me of those services where you can pay a subscription to get unlimited free music, but the moment you stop paying, you stop listening! May as well buy and return games using EB Games' 7-day trial period, and purchase it if you like it and keep it forever.

    I pay money for XBox Live Gold, sure - purely to play my Halo games online (which I do rarely, but hey - pending Reach!). I find the service quite useful in relation to being easily able to chat with a friend or two online, but to be honest I'm only paying because I'm forced to, to enjoy my game to its fullest. Personally I only perceived Xbox Live Gold as good value because I was used to not being able to play online without paying.

    However, since PSN has been free, it's meant that my expectations are going to be that it SHOULD be free to play online - that is illogical and unfair when I can feel so differently towards the Xbox service, but that's the way it is. Sony will have to provide me with something of substance (on par with playing games online) for me to think it's remotely worth it to give them my money.

    Of course, I'm sure the big guys in Sony already know this. And I can't help but (sadly) expect them to slowly but surely move towards Microsoft's subscription model because it makes money. Eventually it will become a necessity to pay them money to enjoy the games you've already paid for. But really, they've introduced the market to online play - now they just need to charge them for it. Think about it this way - if customers decide not to subscribe, Sony doesn't lose money. This can only make money.

    It really was a suprise for me with Plus that they didn't try and rein in some of the free PSN features and push them over to Plus. With the high price comparible to a yearly Live membership, they really had to have some big draw points.

    It's also very devious of them to label something as 'free' but only when you pay for access to it. That's not free Sony.

    I'll be picking up a PS3 soon and I'm overjoyed multiplayer access is still free. Live serves me very well and I'm happy to continue paying that subscription.

    I'd be more interested if the full games on offer were newer. As great as WipeOut HD is, it's been out for a long, long time and anybody who wants it already has it by now.

    Ditto with the DLC - last time I checked, there weren't a lot of people still playing Killzone 2 online - the community has moved on to the likes of MW2, BC2, MAG, etc.

    If the content included was new release stuff, it'd be different. But let's face it - if there's a game or DLC that you actually want, chances are you'll have bought it yourself by the time it shows up on the PS Plus subscription.

    And the final deal breaker is losing the games if you let your subscription lapse. That's outright robbery - you've PAID for that content, and they're taking it away becuase you don't want to continue paying? If I subscribe to a magazine but then choose not to renew that subscription, that doesn't give the publisher the right to come to my house and cart away all the issues I received while I was subscribing. Why should this content be any different?

    I dont see why they didn't just bite the bullet and say... we are now charging for online... I would not pay for it and just keep my 360 gold as this is a far better service, but at least PS would then be forced to upgrade the entire system including online, chat, party, messaging etc to be competitive. The other alternative would have been spend the last few years upgrading your service to at least be comparable with xbox and then when you announce you are charging for it, people will see the value in paying for the online network.

    If Sony did charge for online, everyone would have been upset, sure, but then look at the alternatives. If they want to get or have an xbox, then they will pay the same anyway so i think if the service was comparable, they would easily get people paying for online and they could use the justification that M$ has been using to charge for it.

    As an XBL subscriber for 3ish years, i am happy and can easily justify the expense. I am paying for the ability to use a great quality online service and the gold member benefits are just gravy. With PSN, it seems like you get the entire meal for free (although not as tasty) and they charge you for desert... Im just gonna fill up on the buffet thanks...

    I must be hungry.... lol.

      It’s that damn steak and cheese sub staring all of us in the face. I had one yesterday, it was very nice. I also got a coke thinking I would win a 120 gig PS3 and a free game. But it turns out a lot of people had the same idea.

      Anyway, I think Sony have shot themselves in the foot by making online free from the start. Now they have 2 options. Firstly, they can do what they are currently doing, offer a paid subscription that basically offers the trimmings of PSN (you know the ones people don’t care about) Or they could just start making you pay for the option to play online.

      But, they (probably) won’t do that for 2 reasons. Firstly trying to convince someone to pay for something that has always been free is an incredibly hard thing to do. It’s the same reason satellite radio has largely failed. And finally, I think Sony have always used the free aspect of the service to justify why it’s pretty much second rate. I really don’t think the PSN is anything to write home about. If they started charging to play, I wouldn’t pay. It’s just not worth it.

    How about we call this article "Xbox fans raise your hands"? It seems pretty obvious that's what you're getting at.

    I think for me it's all very clear... I don't pay to play online, download demos, trailers, and so on. So it's free. Xbox live is not free even for simply playing online. So when people talk about "XBox live is value for money"... I just don't get it. PSN is FREE! When xbox live becomes free then you can tell me how awesome it is.

    Now as for PSN plus, firstly no-one is forcing you to sign up. Secondly, for those who haven't bought a lot of stuff online then it might be worth the while. Time will tell, but if you already have a bunch of games then of course you don't need to pay for them twice. So... perhaps PSN plus isn't directed at everyone.

    Lastly, I hear complaints about not having access to the free games if you stop the subscription. Well sure if everything was free and Sony just gave things away that would be great. But you aren't paying that money for the games, you are paying for a premium service that has access to games. And the games you purchase with the discounts are yours to keep in any case. But after the subscription ends, online play will still be available for free. That's something that Xbox doesn't do, and never will.

      Aulden, I think the issue is that users don't generally want to pay for temporary game access (or at least the users commenting here don't). I know that this is contradictory to the users (including me) who pay for Xbox Live - which essentially is paying to play a significant portion of a purchased game until your subscription ends, at which point you do not keep that functionality. But at least for me, early access to demos or deals is not something I would pay such a large amount for. When a subscription only involves paying more money to take advantage of that subscription anyway, then I would expect the original costs to be much lower.

      I appreciate Xbox Live subscription because I need it and always have to fully enjoy my games... But as I've stated before, Sony were providing this for free. Now they have a service on top which adds no real value to gamers IMHO. Early access to demos? That's really only going to get the most eager of customers.

      Regardless, everyone is going to have their own priorities. So I understand that some people will appreciate "free" games if they always budget and plan on subscribing to the service. If you're paying already, it would just be like your internet bill. You're always paying, so in actual effect, the games aren't really temporary are they? You'll stop paying when you stop playing :P

        "I appreciate Xbox Live subscription because I need it and always have to fully enjoy my games". Um, the only reason you need a subscription to fully enjoy your games is because Microsoft charge you one, I'm sure you'd still appreciate the service if it was free, maybe even more so.

          The reality is Xbox Live isn't free. Maintaining Live is a huge expense for Microsoft. It wouldn't be anywhere near as good if they didn't charge for it.

            Another reality is that gold subscribers have effectively paid for a second XBox 360 and then some, when you add up all the online fees over the 3-5 years most of us have been in this gen...

            But hey, this whole post is certainly fanboy bait either way. I suspect no-one will convince anyone of anything in this discussion.

            (For the record, I'd consider this if they started offering the HD PS2 remakes as part of the deal.)

              Flux... HD remakes in PSN Plus... you are a genius! I would be there for that! ;)

      I don't think it is xbox fans bagging plus, it is just that this move by sony draws parallels with Lives subscription. Its an ongoing payment.

      It is different because your paying for games, but it just seems like sony might be regretting making online play free to begin with.

        Agreed. Their free service seemed like a great marketing tool in the beginning... hehe

          I think it still is, as I normally wouldn't be able to pay an Xbox live subscription just to play online. I think the PSN plus is a step in the right direction for added content but time will tell if they do a good job of it and make it worth while.

      Finally we have a non-playstation hater in the house. I mean its like every X-box owner banned together to vent about playstation offering incentives to its players. I mean thats what we are talking about people... an "offer"! If you dont like whats on the menu, then dont dine in! Also, here is a little food for thought... A) This service is brand spanking new, so none of you (including me) knows whats coming further down the road! Sony is also testing the water here. Lets assume though that its possible that in the future Sony could offer some killer deals to its plus consumers. Down the road, they could offer free downloads of top selling games, not to mention they already announced that plus members will be offered the oppurtunity to beta test games that arent even on the market yet! B) Secondly, right now they are "for a short time only" giving people 3 FREE months of service if you sign up for a years contract. This is bait to entice people to give it a try! Now if Sony ALSO was right off the bat offering "Red Dead Redemption" or another hot item as their "free game of the month" then tons of people would be signing up right now! Personally, i believe that once the free 3 month incentive ends Sony is going to start offering killer deals, thus all the people that went on and signed up for the years service are going to be ragging their friends for not taking the deal when they had a chance to get 3 free months of service while its was offered! Sony doesnt have a bunch of monkeys or 5 year old children running their Marketing or Sales departments! Face it X-Box lovers, Bill Gates and all his palls over at Microsoft have been wishing they had gone into the gaming platform business a long long time ago! They will never take over Sonys market share and in my opinion, Gates should have just stuck with what he was good at and stayed in the PC gaming industry! Sony is the Alpha male of gaming systems and always will be. All you haters posting here mark my words... several months down the road all Playstation owners are going to wish they signed up for PLUS while they were offering 3 free months and Sony is going to be making $20 dollars more a year off everyone that didnt sign up while they had the chance! Sonys Playstation Plus is going to be HUGE and is going to effect the entire industry, and let me exit on this point too... Little Big Planet is a great game for those that never bought it, and for that to be offered at the same time as the 3 free month promo is going on, is a hell of a deal. It pays for half the subscription alone, and trust me Sony has pleamty more instore for its loyal consumers that are going to take a leap of faith with them by signing the dotted line while the getting is good! I close my rant by wishing you all the best and happy gaming no matter which team you are batting for! Look me up on the Playstation Network under the screen name Spc_McGahee.

        Sorry about any typo's above... I'm a wounded soldier in the United States Army and i have mild traumatic brain injury, not to mentions the medications i am on, lol

    I don't have LBP so I am in.

      Why spend that kinda money when you can head to GAME and pick it up for sub 20 bucks for a real, solid copy???

      I was planning to get the 3 month subscription so I could get LBP...but you have to get the full year subscription to get LBP to keep (it says so on the playstation blog).

      Not great value if you only want LBP since it is going for $40 at EB right now.

      Sorry, LBP is the clincher and the other stuff is nice. If I had LBP I might not have done it but would still consider it. I know I could get LBP cheaper but my point is that together with everything it is worthy.

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