It’s funny, really: we first heard about PlayStation Plus back in March 2010, except at that point nobody knew what it was. Indeed, our excerpt for the post was “are you our premium service, then?” – an innocent question that Sony didn’t really answer until later in the year when the service was fully announced and detailed.
I’ve been an open sceptic of the paid-for ‘upgraded’ PlayStation Network since then, I already pay for Live and use that about six times a year, so presumed that splashing out the hard earned on something similar for the PlayStation 3 would be of similar value: on a personal level, for someone that doesn’t do a lot of online gaming – next to none.
But PlayStation Plus is a bit different. It’s not really like the Xbox 360’s Silver and Gold service, which is more concerned with enabling online multiplayer rather than bulking up the console’s functionality. Yes, you get the odd cheap deal and earlier access to certain demos with Gold, but PlayStation Plus seems to (at least in my eyes) go the extra mile.[boxout]Which is? Automatic downloads. We hinted at such a facility a couple of times – once here, and again here – but when Plus launched it wasn’t really something that Sony pushed to the forefront, and it’d passed me by in amongst all the weekly offers and talk of exclusive betas.
But I’ve a huge disdain for the way PS3 updates were done (they were usually far too weighty and you couldn’t let them sit in the background) so the ability to let Plus do this for you is a wonderful thing.
I only signed up for PlayStation Plus two nights ago, and each night since, at around 2am, it’s woken up the console and set about grabbing all manner of things for me, including what must have been a series of colossal-sized Pain updates (usually the worst) and a few other items here and there. The result: I no longer have to wait for the PS3 to update a game when I want to play it.
Of course, the service isn’t flawless – I can’t expect Plus to check every game I’ve ever played but it does seem to be covering the bases – I’ve been wanting to throw people out of a catapult for ages but couldn’t face the download, and whilst I know you can cancel them and play offline, that’s hardly the point.
The point is, that in addition to the great offers that seem to pepper the Store (I grabbed Stacking, which was free, for example) it’s these little things that run in the background when I’m away from the PlayStation 3 that impress me the most. The idea is simple, but the execution is great.
Yes, I know I’m late to the party, and yes – it could be a little cheaper, but consider me a subscriber.