In an effort to combat Matt’s evermore ranty blogs (though they are excellent to read), I’ve decided to use my slot to talk about something unashamedly joyous – PS+. For those that don’t know PS+ is a subscription service for those who own a PS3, PSVita or both.
This little subscription (£40 per year, the same as the competing Xbox Live from Microsoft) gives your PS devices a much needed boost in the features department, as well as offering up a few extra trinkets. For starters there’s cloud storage. Cloud storage is exactly as it is sounds; it allows you to transfer save files to the cloud whether this be for you to clear space from your drive or to have an external backup. This is especially valuable for Vita users as, for some utterly bizarre reason, the Vita require you delete a games save if you delete add-on content and the like for a game; it’s a very all or nothing approach. Also supplied is automatic synchronisation. Here the device will turn on at a specific time to sync data to the cloud (saves and trophies) and install patches/ content you’re downloading so it’s all good to go when you turn your device on the next time, which is lovely.
Now we get to the good stuff. Because the PS3 and Vita offer their online multiplayer for free and services like automatically syncing trophies and installing downloads should really come as standard Sony can’t really justify it’s expense on the previously mentioned items. They counteract this by offering PS+ subscribers discounts on content from the store (and once you’ve bought something at the cheaper price it’s yours to keep forever, even if your subscription expires) as well as offering access to early demos and betas. Win.
The big thing though is the instant games collection (IGC). This amazing little bundle gives you at least one free game every month and is yours to keep as long as your subscription is going. These aren’t just middle of the road games though, we’re talking high quality releases that you’d actually buy yourself, or in some cases games you’ve already owned and traded in. Not only does the IGC mean you’ll never be stuck for something to delve in on (of which the Vita can be very guilty) but it’s also done something rather surprising. I now no longer buy used games. See, I still buy the big games at launch that I’ve been really looking forward to (The Last of Us, Bioshock and the like) but I no longer buy cheaper preowned ones to tide me over because a) I always have something to try and b) I’m worried it’ll be offered in the IGC soon anyway. This can only be a good thing for the industry as it’s helping to kill the used games market, though that isn’t such a good thing for local game stores.
Another thing that the IGC does is familiarise customers with the idea of downloading games. Digital distribution is the future of purchasing and owning games, so by offering them as free downloads Sony are showing customers that owning large purchases as content on a hard drive is ok and nothing to be worried about. The crafty buggers.
With PS4 a few things are changing. Automatic updates will now be a standard feature across the device but online multiplayer will now require PS+. Apart from that though it’s all pretty much the same and the best thing is that one subscription goes across all of your devices.
There’s nothing more for me to say really, so I’ll stop.
By Ian Dutton
Edited by Matt Husselbury