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Opinion

Sony's Big Giveaway: One Year On With PlayStation Plus' Instant Game Collection

Let's look at the figures.

Written by Adam Guest.

About a year ago, as Sony re-imagined PlayStation Plus for its second anniversary, I wrote an article about the subscription model, and its monetary value. Twelve months on from the relaunch, I’ve decided once again to look at the service, round up the figures, and throw my two-penneth in.

The evolution of PlayStation Plus from a somewhat niche product running alongside the PS3 – acting as little more, in my opinion, than a promotional tool – to what is now a fully-fledged PlayStation experience, has been more than welcome.

Of course, the arrival of what Sony calls its “Instant Game Collection” has been the biggest change, bringing top-rated AAA titles to the service and making PlayStation Plus now almost unrecognisable in terms of content from its humble beginnings. The other noticeable difference implemented this year, is the inclusion of PlayStation Vita titles, and the subsequent removal of minis and Classics, from the monthly updates.

At the time of writing, anyone with a Plus subscription can access 13 games completely free of charge, which at their current PlayStation Store retail prices would cost in excess of £300.

There’re 9 games, amounting to £230.41 of content for PlayStation 3 gamers alone, and whilst we have to account for the PSN’s less than favourable pricing system against physical media, you’ve got to admit that’s a ridiculous amount of money. More than half a PlayStation 4 in fact.

Vita players get a modest 4 titles, totalling £73.96 worth of downloads, although again, this saving could net you another two years of PlayStation Plus (or one, and that Vita Memory card you’ll be requiring) making the service pay for itself instantly.

Sony advertise PlayStation Plus with the catchy strapline of “pay less, play more”, and looking at the figures above you’d be hard pressed to argue. £39.99 for a year of a service which provides top quality games such as Battlefield 3, Uncharted: Golden Abyss & Xcom: Enemy Unknown each month is certainly making me want to play more.

Being the massive geek I am, I’ve looked at all the games made available – for free – to subscribers during the first year of PlayStation Plus’ Instant Game Collection, and found some simply mind boggling results. Why I’m giving you these figures and not Sony is beyond me.

(For clarity – To the best of my knowledge, the following figures include all PS3, PlayStation Vita & native PSN releases within the UK, but exclude PSP, PSOne Classics, PS2 Classics, Minis & PS Mobile titles. Also excluded are any other items, such as themes, avatars and DLC. Cross Buy titles are counted once, and all prices are correct as of July 10th, 2013.)

Game Title Platform Full Price (£) Savings
 .
Big Sky Infinity Cross Buy 7.99
Knytt Underground Cross Buy 9.99
Limbo Cross Buy 9.99
Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One Cross Buy 15.99
Thomas Was Alone Cross Buy 5.99
 .
49.95
 .
Chronovolt PS Vita 4.99
Coconut Dodge Revitalised PS Vita 1.99
Gravity Rush PS Vita 11.99
Jet Set Radio PS Vita 6.49
Lumines: Electronic Symphony PS Vita 14.99
Metal Gear Solid HD Collection PS Vita 23.99
Mortal Kombat PS Vita 19.99
Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus PS Vita 29.99
Puddle PS Vita 5.49
Rayman Origins PS Vita 14.99
Sine Mora PS Vita 7.99
Tales From Space: Mutant Blobs Attack PS Vita 2.79
Uncharted: Golden Abyss PS Vita 19.99
Unit 13 PS Vita 11.99
Velocity Ultra HD PS Vita 6.49
Virtue’s Last Reward PS Vita 29.99
Wipeout 2048 PS Vita 11.99
 .
226.13
 .
Awesomenauts PS3 7.99
Back To The Future PS3 15.99
Batman: Arkham City PS3 19.99
Battlefield 3 PS3 49.99
Bioshock 2 PS3 15.99
Borderlands PS3 15.99
Bulletstorm PS3 19.99
Catherine PS3 49.99
Chime Super Deluxe PS3 7.29
Crysis 2 PS3 15.99
Cubixx HD PS3 6.49
Darksiders PS3 11.99
Dead Or Alive 5 PS3 29.99
Dead Space 2 PS3 11.99
Demon’s Souls PS3 15.99
Deus Ex: Human Revolution PS3 11.99
Double Dragon Neon PS3 6.49
F1 Race Stars PS3 29.99
Far Cry 2 PS3 11.99
God Of War Collection PS3 19.99
Guardians Of Middle Earth PS3 11.99
Hamsterball PS3 7.99
Hell Yeah! Wrath Of The Dead Rabbit PS3 9.99
Hitman Absolution PS3 49.99
ICO and Shadow of the Colossus HD Collection PS3 19.99
Infamous 2 PS3 15.99
Joe Danger 2: The Movie PS3 9.99
Just Cause 2 PS3 10.99
Kingdoms Of Amalur: Reckoning PS3 19.99
Lara Croft & The Guardian Of Light PS3 9.99
Little Big Planet 2 PS3 15.99
Little Big Planet Karting PS3 19.99
Lord Of The Rings: War In The North PS3 15.99
Machinarium PS3 6.49
Magic Orbz PS3 7.99
Mahjong Tales: Ancient Wisdom PS3 7.99
Malicious PS3 6.49
Mass Effect 3 PS3 15.99
Mortal Kombat PS3 15.99
Motorstorm Apocalypse PS3 11.59
Mushroom Wars PS3 7.99
Oddworld: Strangers Wrath HD PS3 7.29
Okami HD PS3 7.99
Outland PS3 7.99
Payday: The Heist PS3 12.99
Quantum Conundrum PS3 8.89
Red Dead Redemption PS3 23.99
Renegade Ops PS3 6.49
Resident Evil 5 Gold Edition PS3 11.99
RetroGrade PS3 7.99
Ricochet HD PS3 6.29
Rock Of Ages PS3 7.99
Saints Row 2 PS3 15.99
Saints Row The Third PS3 19.99
Scott Pilgrim Vs The World PS3 7.99
Shank 2 PS3 7.99
Shift 2 Unleashed PS3 19.99
Sky Fighter PS3 7.99
Sleeping Dogs PS3 49.99
Smash Cars PS3 11.99
Starhawk PS3 15.99
The Cave PS3 9.99
Trine 2 PS3 8.99
Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception PS3 24.99
Vanquish PS3 11.99
Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown PS3 9.99
Wakeboarding HD PS3 11.99
Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine PS3 19.99
XCOM: Enemy Unknown PS3 29.99
 .
1071.21
 .

Currently, the PlayStation 3 is where Plus subscribers will find the biggest savings: the platform’s large games back catalogue and install base of some 70 million (shipped units, 2011) make the home console a brilliant pedestal for Sony’s service. More recently the push to get their handheld – the Vita – into the hearts and minds of this generation’s mobile gamers has been a priority.

In the last 12 months, Vita owners have been able to enjoy 22 releases, with a PSN retail price of £276.08. To put that into perspective – the amount you’ve saved on games in the first twelve months of its lifecycle has paid for the console itself.

On launch day, I hurried down to my local, ill-fated GameStation and spent £270 on a PlayStation Vita 3G. As with most new consoles, my Vita had no games out of the box, resulting in a further £40 being spent on the rather exquisite Golden Abyss & Rayman Origins. A solid investment, I thought. That £40 would have given me these two games, and 20 more over the year, had I bought a Plus subscription.

Crikey.

More astonishing still, however, are the figures related to PlayStation 3 games, with 74 releases worth a staggering £1,121.16. Seventy-four marvelous PS3 titles for the price of one new release. And, even if you only play half of them you’ve paid little more than a pound per game.

Even LoveFilm can’t rent you titles for that price.

Of course, there’re a number of PlayStation Plus subscribers with both Sony platforms at their disposal. These guys have, potentially, paid a mere 41 pence each for their 96 games.

Over both platforms, an average PSN retail price of just over £14 shows these freebies aren’t just filler either, with a good mix of big-budget titles such as those I mentioned earlier, right down to the already stupidly cheap indie gems such as Thomas Was Alone and Velocity Ultra.

All in all, my ridiculous spreadsheet of games and their prices tells me that there have been been gratis downloads to the value of £1,347.29 since last July. At £39.99, that’s the cost for another 33 years of PlayStation Plus.

Moving into next-gen, and looking towards the PlayStation 4, Sony have already reported that whilst maintaining all the current benefits across PlayStation 3 and Vita, PS4 titles are to be included within the PlayStation Plus Instant Game Collection catalogue, and a PS+ special edition of Evolution Studios’ social racer #DriveClub will be available at launch, joined by one new title on rotation each month.

It has also been announced that much like Microsoft’s long standing Xbox Live service, a PlayStation Plus subscription will be essential to unlock some of the new console’s core features, such as online multiplayer.

As a former nay-sayer, I still have my doubts. Instant Game Collection is undoubtedly a triumph for both PlayStation and consumers but digital distribution isn’t without its drawbacks, and my personal preference for physical media plays a part, but again, there’s absolutely no denying those numbers.

I don’t even know where to start with regards to the plethora of discounts Plus affords each annum, but I think I’ll go “£80 down, £3,000 up” for my first two years of PlayStation 4.

What about you?

Read more: #
63 Comments
  1. Youles
    Member
    Since: Feb 2011

    :O

    Comment posted on 11/07/2013 at 09:06.
    • Youles
      Member
      Since: Feb 2011

      I’ve been a day-one subscriber and love PS+. And partly why I want to replace my second (broken) PS3 is because of PS+…as the content is all digital I can download games onto both PS3s and play MP or co-op if a friend comes over, even if they don’t own the game.

      Comment posted on 11/07/2013 at 09:10.
      • freezebug2
        Member
        Since: Dec 2008

        Same here, day one subscriber back when it was all fields and you had to hunt for morsels but they’ve certainly filled the landscape with skyscrapers and bounties-a-plenty now! :P

        Comment posted on 11/07/2013 at 11:42.
      • beeje13
        Member
        Since: Jan 2010

        I was a day one subscriber but I stopped because there was too much stuff lol. I then realised my idiocy that I didn’t have to download everything and it was still extraordinary value and resubbed last month for BF3.

        Comment posted on 13/07/2013 at 15:04.
    • Klart
      Member
      Since: Jun 2010

      Indeed. Gratis downloads to the value of £1,347.29 for £39.99.

      And to think of the fact the regular discounts on a Plus subscription even haven’t been taken into account. Mine was £39.99 for 15 months.

      Comment posted on 11/07/2013 at 10:34.
      • Steelhead
        Member
        Since: Oct 2013

        I also had the 15 months deal and in the first two months downloaded three games worth a total of £60 on PSN. So in two months I made back my sub fee plus extra. Brilliant value.

        Comment posted on 18/10/2013 at 09:00.
  2. Tuffcub
    On the naughty step.
    Since: Dec 2008

    And yet someone will still say “Well it’s not worth it for me I already had those games”.

    Comment posted on 11/07/2013 at 09:06.
    • Bilbo_bobbins
      Member
      Since: Jun 2009

      yep, thats me. I don’t play as much as I would like either, so I wouldn’t have time to play the games. Yes its great if you have the time to download and play them, but for me it’s not worth it. The £40 could be spent on a game I know I will pick up and play when I want, without the hassle to download.

      Comment posted on 11/07/2013 at 09:12.
    • Klart
      Member
      Since: Jun 2010

      I have 300-350 games and am very happy with Plus. Sometimes I already have a game, but it hasn’t happened that I have all the games of a specififc month.

      The only reason to not buy Plus, is if you really, really have very little time to game and only want to play very specific titles during that time.

      Or if you’re a “FIFA or CoD only” player.

      Otherwise, you’re a fool.

      Comment posted on 11/07/2013 at 10:37.
      • Bilbo_bobbins
        Member
        Since: Jun 2009

        I totally agree Klart.

        Comment posted on 11/07/2013 at 11:37.
      • Roynaldo
        Member
        Since: Nov 2008

        I just unsubscribed. For 2 reasons. My download limit and my net subscriber don’t like me anymore resulting in peak times becoming useless. Secondly….your point, I don’t have enough time.
        I miss it now though… For the cloud saving and auto patching. I think I’ll resubscribe soon.

        Comment posted on 11/07/2013 at 16:20.
    • KeRaSh
      Member
      Since: Nov 2009

      And that is a valid argument.
      I’m not a plus subscriber because I buy 90% of my PS3 games as soon as they come out so any game on that huge list that I’m actually interested in, I already own.
      With Plus I’d be able to dip into games I’m only semi interested in but I usually lack the time to play those anyways.

      I’m not very patient when it comes to games that I’m interested in so skipping a game hoping it would become available on Plus at some point is not an option for me.

      Comment posted on 11/07/2013 at 12:26.
  3. Bilbo_bobbins
    Member
    Since: Jun 2009

    “a PlayStation Plus subscription will be essential to unlock some of the new console’s core features, such as online multiplayer.” ????

    I don’t know about you but I play for FREE on the PS3 for online MP. Now I HAVE to pay up for this, and for me I find disgraceful. It could push a lot of gamers away, including myself in the long run. If I get all all the extras from P+ then fine, but I would rather not have to pay for it just for online gaming.

    Comment posted on 11/07/2013 at 09:14.
    • kjkg
      Member
      Since: Apr 2010

      Think he means the PS4. But I guess you know that already ;)

      Comment posted on 11/07/2013 at 09:22.
    • blarty
      Member
      Since: Apr 2011

      This here is a problem – the viewpoint that PS+ is ‘just for online gaming’, if that is all that truly interests you because the other parts of PS+ don’t provide any benefit to you then fair enough, but then again you also mention above ‘pick up and play when I want without the hassle to download’ surely the auto downloading of patches and updates is of some benefit to you?

      Comment posted on 11/07/2013 at 09:25.
    • kjkg
      Member
      Since: Apr 2010

      I should read your full comment before replying!

      Comment posted on 11/07/2013 at 09:29.
    • Youles
      Member
      Since: Feb 2011

      The trouble is, if it pushes you over to XBox, you have to pay to play online with them! So, might as well suck it up and take all the free games and discounts they throw your way, and make use of the save cloud and background downloads etc ;)

      Comment posted on 11/07/2013 at 09:34.
    • JesseDeya
      Member
      Since: Jan 2010

      Where is it going to push you? Surely not to XBL.

      The only alternative is playing on PC (which I do too). Sure it is ‘free’ but the cost of admission to the PC owners club is higher, and certainly will be if you want to keep up over the next 6-7 years.

      Not to mention, PC is completely fragmented multiplayer. Steam, Origin, Ubiplay, Battlenet, Teamspeak, Skype, Ventrilo, Punkbuster, etc etc. Some people see that as flexibility, I just see the myriad of options as a barrier to connecting with your friends.

      Compare that to just one destination… PSN.

      If PS+ pushes you away, despite handing you outstanding value – well that would be a shame indeed.

      Comment posted on 11/07/2013 at 11:14.
      • Bilbo_bobbins
        Member
        Since: Jun 2009

        It’s not pushing me away yet, but its possible for many other users. I have considered Steam too recently because I feel the cost of playing on consoles is increasing and it could benefit me in the long run to be on Steam.

        But then I wouldn’t get the fantastic games Sony bring to their consoles.

        Comment posted on 11/07/2013 at 11:39.
    • UKZ-N3M1515
      Member
      Since: Aug 2009

      The servers don’t come in the cost of the (Already likley to be making a loss) PS4. It was a wise decision by Sony to bundle it in with PS+, to A) Boost Plus sales, which creates B) More money to fund improving online.

      Whats makes it even better so, is the free games. It’s hard to argue that PS+ isn’t amazing value for money. That is a totally unbias opinion too, considering i dont pay for PS+, simply because the gaming i do now, is minimal, and only a select few games interest me these days… Which is sad. Not sure if the quality/fun in games has degraded, or my interest.

      Comment posted on 11/07/2013 at 22:34.
  4. skibadee
    Member
    Since: Oct 2009

    brilliant service the best thing to come out of this gen for me.

    Comment posted on 11/07/2013 at 09:33.
    • Youles
      Member
      Since: Feb 2011

      After trophies, obviously ;)

      Comment posted on 11/07/2013 at 09:35.
      • Crazy_Del
        Member
        Since: Jul 2009

        lol
        I love PS Plus and that is a massive savings. I am so glad for PS Plus

        Comment posted on 11/07/2013 at 12:38.
    • Awayze
      Member
      Since: Jul 2010

      Trophies were the best thing! Nothing like a trophy popup appearing and the sound playing.

      Comment posted on 11/07/2013 at 14:37.
  5. rht992
    Member
    Since: Apr 2009

    Holly mother of saved fortunes. I have to tip my hat to PlayStation Plus.. If it weren’t for this services I wouldn’t have been able to play any new games in these tough economic times. Gaming isn’t exactly the cheapest of hobbies during financial instability.

    Comment posted on 11/07/2013 at 09:42.
  6. Eldur
    Member
    Since: Nov 2012

    Absolutely mind-boggling numbers. My thanks and congratulations to Adam for collating and presenting them all so clearly.

    I got into PS+ quite late, after I bought my Vita a little over a year ago and Sony added Vita titles to the Instant Game Collection, but I already echo skibadee’s message. For me, PS+ is the single greatest innovation of this generation and the paragon of the digital distribution method.

    I can’t help but wonder how the world would have received the XboxOne if, at the unveiling, Microsoft had told the world that for £50 you’d get a year of Xbox Live Gold and, say, four AAA launch window games within the first three months, downloaded straight to your console. They could’ve used a lever like this to sell their DRM and always-on systems, whilst making it seem like a sweet deal for the consumer… Oh well.

    Comment posted on 11/07/2013 at 09:44.
    • blarty
      Member
      Since: Apr 2011

      Re: XB1 DRM – making things look like a sweet deal while having some DRM in the background works a treat for Steam, the key is getting people to believe that the DRM is making things cheaper more cost effective and then people won’t feel they need to sell on or trade in other games to buy the next game that’s around the corner. Sad but true.

      It’s a thin veneer to a rotten principle

      Comment posted on 11/07/2013 at 09:50.
  7. tonycawley
    Pint! Pint!
    Since: Feb 2009

    I was also a naysayers when ps+ first released. I couldn’t see the benefit of that money for auto patching and cloud saves. But then came igc and I subscribed. I’ve only bought a couple of games since. It’s ridiculously good value for money.

    Comment posted on 11/07/2013 at 09:49.
  8. Germanos
    Member
    Since: May 2011

    Having a PS3 without PS+ is just simply stupid to me, seriously. Even when someone not playing much, having the “option’ of playing so many games for such a low price, is a “must have”. Even more if you have a PSV.

    Comment posted on 11/07/2013 at 09:49.
  9. XisTG
    Member
    Since: May 2010

    I subscribed until 2015 even before the PS4 was revealed.
    To me this is one of the best features of Playstation, with the only downside being that I do not have time to play them all.
    It was also very important for Vita, I think, as for a console so young they did give away some amazing releases.

    Comment posted on 11/07/2013 at 09:50.
  10. yd
    Member
    Since: Mar 2011

    Even after adjusting the prices to be more reasonable than the stupid PSN prices, and ignoring the games I’d already got (in a couple of cases, a week or 2 before they were announced as coming to PS+, which is kind of annoying), it still works out as a ridiculously generous offering.

    And then they chuck little gems at you, or games you might not have been interested in. I had no interest at all in yet another FPS that might just have sold billions of copies, but I’ve been surprised to find Battlefield 3 is quite good fun this month. (Although the single player being not much more than a couple of hours of tutorial for the multiplayer game is a bit rubbish, and it’s going to piss me off having all those unearned trophies because I’m not paying silly amounts for some extra maps or that “premium” nonsense)

    Wish they could squeeze in some proper RPGs though. The US got Disgaea 3 for the Vita. We don’t. (For some reason I can’t quite work out. Possibly not being available in all countries?)

    But even allowing for all that, however desperately you try and convince yourself it’s not worth it, it just is. I just hope they let you “purchase” all the PS4 games when they start doing them. By the time I get around to buying a PS4, I could have a nice collection of games ready to download.

    Comment posted on 11/07/2013 at 09:59.
    • Klart
      Member
      Since: Jun 2010

      I don’t see why you couldn’t; you can just do it through the online (web) Store! It’s possible for Vita, so why not for PS4.

      Comment posted on 11/07/2013 at 11:21.

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