The Value of PlayStation Plus and Its Worth

By Adam Guest

Today’s PlayStation Store update brings with it a rather tempting offer; For two weeks, starting September the 5th, you’ll be able to pick up a PlayStation Plus subscription from Sony’s online storefront with an impressive 25% discount – This means a yearly subscription will be coming in at the more than reasonable price of £29.99 or €37.49.

Sadly, even with this discount, the subscription model adopted by PlayStation Plus just doesn’t work for me. I’m an idiot.

That’s not to say that the service doesn’t appeal to me; It certainly does, and that’s great, there’s a good probability that the next generation of consoles with have some sort of tiered subscription model. PlayStation Plus & Xbox Live as we know them are just a glimpse of things to come within the near future.

[drop2]My problem lies with the practicalities of subscriptions. I don’t have the time to play games of somebody else’s choosing, nor do I have the hard drive space to store them indefinitely.

I signed up for a year of Playstation Plus shortly after its launch. Grabbing myself a couple of cheap PSN points cards as a birthday present and looking forward to a year of promised discounts and exclusives. It really was the gift which kept on giving.

After the initial excitement waned, sure I found myself downloading the occasional great hidden gem, and benefiting from a few discounts on titles I genuinely wanted here and there but ultimately, I got a whole lot of faff. My hard drive was slowly filling with games I’d paid for, albeit at a ridiculously low price, but really didn’t want.

Towards the tail end of my 12 months, I was playing the majority of my Plus games only once or twice before discarding them into the ever increasing “PS+ Junk” folder on the XMB, alongside last month’s update.

When the subscription ended, I happily went back to playing the games I wanted, and thought no more of PS+, save for cursing the occasional 10% discount on this or that HD remake I was missing out on each Wednesday.

This past June, with E3 rumours circulating and my shiney new Vita in hand, I took the plunge and jumped in for another 90 days. Didn’t want to miss out if there were any perks or freebies for existing users now did I?

As it turns out, the talk of PlayStation classic titles streaming to my Vita via OnLive inspired tech was all but hearsay and the “big announcement” Sony had promised was the “Instant Game Collection”. Again, another brilliant service with amazing value for money – for those who have plenty of time, and don’t mind their gaming being diluted by somebody else’s choices.

This isn’t how I want to spend what precious little gaming time I have.

The 90 days have now run their course and I’ve purged my PlayStation of the expired content.

The exercise of slowly deleting fifteen months’ worth of files one-by-one was a laborious task but it got me thinking – What is the monetary value of PlayStation Plus, and does this equate to an equal worth?

I warn you now – if you’re not a numbers geek, the rest of this piece probably appeals as much as an arrow to the knee (we’re still doing those, right?) It’s also worth noting at this point that I have not taken into account any DLC, discounts, themes or avatar content from which I benefited during the subscription period.

During my clearout I deleted 89 games in total; This breaks down into the following categories:

  • 43 PlayStation 3 / PSN full releases.
  • 30 PlayStation Minis.
  • 14 PlayStation Classics (PS1/PS2) titles.
  • 2 NEO-GEO Station titles.

As mentioned earlier, my original 12 month subscription was courtesy of some inexpensive points cards, but for the sake of numbers let us assume I purchased both subscriptions at the PlayStation Store RRP.

Total subscription costs: £39.99 + £11.99 = £51.98

Now, for £52 and change you might get yourself the latest FIFA or Call Of Duty on release, and a few beers for the weekend with the lads but, to be honest, not a lot else. Certainly not 89 games.

Let’s not forget that’s 89 games over a period of 65 weeks or to put it another way, a new game every 5-and-a-bit days.

[drop]I’m sure we can both agree that these are fairly impressive numbers already – but it’s the financials which really show just how generous Sony are being with their profit margins. My £51.98 subscription allowed me to download content which would otherwise have cost me (in excess of) £554.76.

Five hundred and fifty four pounds.

I know you’re all here for the sums, so I won’t disappoint. £51.98 is just 9.4% of the normal cost for these games! Breaking these numbers down further tells me that each game has cost a paltry 58 pence for the entire time I’ve owned it. With my subscription running for a total of 65 weeks, that’s less than a penny per week, per game (.089p). I’d say that’s a pretty cost effective way of renting some of the PlayStation’s big hitters. Wouldn’t you?

“Sure, but I’d never usually have bought a Minis title.” I hear you cry; Well that’s fair enough, they do take a significant chunk of the downloads, 30 games in fact. So let’s do those same sums again, this time, without including Minis.

£51.98 / 59 = £0.88. That’s still 455 days of gaming for just 88 pence per game. That’s batshit mental.

In this example each game has cost me less than a fifth of a penny per day. (£0.00193p). Five full, unrestricted, magnificent, games per day… for a penny! The value is undoubtedly there.

Whilst scribbling those figures down and writing this accompanying blog, I’ve come to realise that the subscription model of PlayStation Plus may be a model subscription for many and is undeniably amazing value. Its worth to me, however, still isn’t there. Yet.

The service is ever evolving and the latest “Instant Game Collection” push is a brilliant step in the right direction. If your system is home to a super-sized hard drive and a super-speed broadband connection, as long as you’re willing to download, play and then delete content, you can’t go wrong with the offering of titles like Dead Space or Red Dead Redemption at these prices.

Alas, bringing me full circle, I don’t have the time, the space or the network speed to enjoy PlayStation Plus as much as I should.

These factors combined ultimately mean that as I slink back into picking my own releases on my own time, I will miss out on some of the lesser promoted gems that the Playstation brand has to offer, alongside that initial buzz of excitement the gaming community has for new releases, and that’s a real shame. But like I said – I’m an idiot.

Unless the service changes significantly over the coming months, I don’t think I’ll be back. I’m very tempted by discounts on Vita titles but full games of somebody else’s choosing isn’t how I want to shop.

I don’t send my neighbours to ASDA for this very reason.

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38 Comments

  1. I’m exactly the same tbh – I see the value, but the value to me is non-existent. I would probably waste more time deleting the games than i would playing the damn things.

    Of course the cloud storage is nice, but i don’t think i want to pay a yearly sub just for that.

    • It’s exactly the same for me. Only really interested in the cloud storage in case my PS3 dies on me (*knocks on wood*) but most of the free games I either don’t care about or I already own. The few exceptions that I’m actually interested in I can afford to buy.

      • This is why I’ve never subbed. A great article explaining to the nay sayers on here and everywhere why people don’t want to sign up.

  2. Having had 3 PS3s fail on me, it’s worth it for the cloud saves alone not to mention the auto updating. As for + games taking up space on your HD, you do realise you don’t actually have to download them until you want to play them and can uninstall them later and put them back at a later time. There is 0 requirement to take up ridiculous amounts of space as you only need to install that which you wish to play.

    Whatever floats your boat though.

    • Cloud saves are great, but during my year I spent a good half of that time with my allotted space full. Sure this is changing now, but it’s too late for me. so I’ll just go back to the usb-drive I relied on previously.
      Also, the idea of downloading games when you want to play them is kind of the argument against I’m presenting here. I just can’t. My connection is far too slow.

  3. I’ve been in & out of PS+ since it launched, everything I download I tag PS+ so it goes in a folder in my XMB and I have to say I hardly ever venture into that folder to play anything, so whilst PS+ is amazing and undoubted value, it’s value to me is negligible I just don’t play the stuff they include, it’s not about forking out £30-£40, even if it was free, or they paid me to have it I just don’t have either the time or the inclination to play this sort of stuff, and that’s why regardless of price or benefits its actual value to me is limited.

    I still subscribe though because I like auto-updates, online storage and I do enjoy the odd game which I play a while after it has been filed in PS+ folder, but it’s rarely the blockbuster games, I think Ricochet HD as grabbed me far more than Deus Ex, InFamous2 and other AAA games I’d already chosen not to purchase when they originally launched.

    If Vita discounts come onboard & they start to detract from the PS3 side of things I’d cancel in a heartbeat.

    • Can save a further amount on PS+ by buying a cheap £35 PSN card, think the cheapest is currently £31.99 here. They have excellent feedback for emailing the codes quickly.

      also help for people who don’t want to enter their card details into the PSN because of… well, you know

      • Thanks for the link, I’ve just purchased one of these, now I can extend my free-ish gaming and still eat this month…. Hurrah.

      • Thanks for the link :D

  4. I love psn+ I think it’s a great value, I can’t afford to buy new games right now & I feel that the love plus gets access to betas, discounts etc

    The only downfall to plus is that am afraid to buy new games incase they appear on plus at some point

    • This is an excellent point. The biggest negative feeling I get from Plus is that most of the full games that appear for free are titles I’ve already bought and played. I mean, obviously I made my decision and I don’t regret that I bought it, but everytime a Saints Row 2, Deus Ex or RDR appear, I feel a bit disappointed.

  5. Great article. You’re basically me – the numbers add up to massive financial value, but actually little benefit. I have the time to play games for review, and precious little else. Constantly adding games to Plus is great, but it’s not always for me.

    That said, SCEE happily renewed automatically for me, which was nice. :/

    • Thanks.
      I have boxed titles which pre-date my PS+, itching to be played. Maybe now they’ll get some attention.

  6. I have long wrangled over this argument. As you say, adding up the cost of all the games and content you COULD get with Plus makes it a no brainer but the only way to really asses its value is to consider the content/discounts you gained for free on which you would otherwise have spent money.
    This is very hard to evaluate. I have many games I wouldn’t have even tried without Plus but now really enjoy and with hindsight I would have bought. There is also content that I bought at discount but wouldn’t have bought at all if it had been full price.

    Then there are additional services. I love the auto update feature and when my console died recently I couldn’t sing the praises of cloud saves highly enough! I’ve no idea how I’d price those.

    In the end, I think it comes down to a feeling. I feel like I get good value from Plus (and I haven’t consumed anywhere near as much content as you did) but you clearly don’t. As always though, it’s just good to have the choice.

  7. I only DL games that I want to play and make sure other games are in my downloadable list if I wish to play them on a later date.

    • This would be a good system if the list of previously downloaded content wasn’t so good damn awful to navigate. When I reinstalled to my replacement console recently, finding the stuff I wanted amongst all the demos, PSN games and Minis I didn’t was painful.
      Some simple filters like price (free and paid), title, type (game, demo, DLC, mini) would make a world of difference

      • you dont have to download it via the list, you can search for the game on the store, its marked as bought there as well and you can download it easy.

        at least that works when looking for a specific game, if you want to browse your owned games and during this choose which to download, i agree, the list is awful…

      • yeah, sony really need to do something about the download list.
        it may have been ok early on, but many of us have had our PS3s for years now and have hundreds, if not thousands of items on the list.
        and one long chronological list just isn’t practical anymore.

      • Yeh the DL list is horrible but I tend to know what I’m looking for so I just search for it in the PS Store and redownload it as it’ll have the pink PS bag icon on it.

      • It baffles me that they don’t have the option to ‘sort’.

        That’s pretty standard stuff for most lists of this type.

  8. I’m.. just going to look puzzled and wander off..

  9. Great article and agree with everything you say.
    If they offered newer games at reduced prices (which I doubt they ever will) it might be a consideration, but Dead Space is still gathering dust in it’s case and I finished with Red Dead ages ago

    • With JohnnyBoy on this one. Great article, Adam. Light-hearted, informative and a bloody good read. Top stuff.

      I, personally, am finding plenty of worth but I bought it for very specific reasons – namely Journey’s earlier release, LBP2 and inFamous 2. Anything else is just extra gravy.

  10. Interesting read. Personally, I’ve not bought a game since this instant game collection came out, because I’m alright to have someone else pick my games for me, so long as I don’t have to pay for it (ish). Obviously if there’s something I reeeeaaaally want to play then I’ll buy it, but for the most part, I just like gaming, and there’s plenty out there I’ve never played, which I’m now getting a chance to.

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