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. to cheap to even be a issue for me for a whole year it is the cost of one game nothing in terms of how I buy games so will renew it every year.

  2. it would be nice to be able to choose the titles, but on the whole, they have picked some great titles, a few of which i already have, but still, there are some games i’ve wanted for a while, like Deus Ex, Infamous 2, Motorstorm Apocalypse and LBP 2, to name a few.
    then there are the psn titles that i’ve got free access to with my sub, like Hydrophobia, Stacking, and Machinarium, which i’ve been waiting for for ages.
    and for me, the minis are a good thing, i like minis, i already had a few dozen before i started my sub.

    the thing i like about plus though is, you don’t need to pay for it to be able to access most of the services on the PS3, and the services is does give you exclusive access to don’t have a separate fee on top.
    i pay for plus because paying for it gets me lots of content for that one price.

    i know i don’t get to keep it, but it’s like a long term rental, and i can get new content without giving back the old stuff, which other rental services don’t do, though you get more choice with those.

    but if it’s not for you then it’s not for you, i’m not gonna tell you your opinion about your own opinion is wrong.

    but that’s the beauty of the way sony have their sub service over something like live.
    with live, unless you pay it’s like you’re only getting half the console, with plus however, you get the whole package if you don’t pay, but plus gives you extra, like extra content, automatic downloads and cloud storage for your saves.

  3. I love my Plus. Have it since day 1. Nothing like the excitement for the reveal of the new game of the month/week. I like a lot of genres, so that’s not a problem. I do often already have games, but the value of Plus still is enormous.

    I can understand what you’re saying as I still have a lot of unplayed games waiting for me. Still I get a lot of value out of it and even if there’s only 10 games out of the 40 something games you’ll play, it’s still value for yer money (and I’m not even mentioning automatic updates, automatic trophy sync and online storage).

  4. My plus subscription runs out tomorrow morning. I have been a subscriber since day one. Like you I see the value but it doesn’t appeal to me anymore. I’ve been spammed with PSone Classics, Minis and PSN titles which I dont’ want to play. In just over two years not many titles given away with plus have stood out for me. Maybe Shatter and Costume Quest being the best two. It’s the discounts I like. Sound Shapes and I Am Alive I picked up due to the discount, and many other games on the sale.
    I own most of the games being offered now, as many are given free now after an initial discount on release, and most I have on disc. I would really love a Vita game to be apart of the instant game collection, a new one every month. The discounts are not enough to support the device.
    Another issue is my download speed is bad through the PS3. Downloading massive 10GB games takes me about 2 weeks. By then the excitement has gone and I dont play it.
    The service is great though in terms of value, but they could take the opportunity to support the vita, and they should realize people dont have the space or ability to download these games.

  5. I have a 1TB drive in my PS3 which helps to store everything I’ve brought on the PSN or from PS+. I’m definitely getting my moneys worth. Any games I’ve already got I sell which easily makes up the cost of PS+ alone.

  6. Playstation plus cost me a bit extra this year and I *needed* to buy a 1TB drive, but it is very much worth it. Early in the summer, pior to E3, I was wondering what games to get next and we looking at some of the cheap good games on Amazon. Games like Just Cause 2, Borderlands and Deus Ex. I now have them all thanks to Plus and a lot more besides. It has continued to give me games throughout the 2+ years and is now better than ever.

    I get the issue of playing games other people pick, but as long as what they pick interests me I can accept that. Do I play them all? Of course not, but enough of them to make it more than worthwhile.

  7. Interesting article and I can totally see the point, i’ve been pondering this for a while now. I’m literally playing catchup with plus games and cant keep up!

    The point about having games chosen for you i think can be taken both ways though as this is one of the main reasons I renewed.

    I’ve discovered so many great games that I never would have played before through + such as costume quest, crash commando, shatter, borderlands etc. In addition, theres all the games that I meant to play the first time round but never got around to like Deus Ex, Darksiders, Dead Space 2 and now Red Dead.

    Its the mystery that does it, I always look foward to a wednesday because i never know what gem in the rough (read crap) im going to find next!

  8. See I think of Plus differently.

    I’ve been a member since Day 1, and I’d say I’ve only played about 10% of the content given. However, I have had loads of discounts on things I’ve wanted, like Resident Evil HD Collection, Metal Gear Solid for PSone (£3.99 instead of £7.99 at the time).

    I’ve also had Beta access, all my saves stored on cloud storage – which for me has been a lifesaver as I’ve gone through 2 consoles in the past 18 months!

    Then you have auto updates – everything is always up to date.

    Now MY sums…

    I bought a 3 month sub code from eBay last week for £7.

    I bought a £16 PSN card from Zavvi when they were on offer and using a 10% Discount Code bringing it to £12.

    I bought another £16 PSN card using £10 Amazon voucher I got free from points earned on my Amazon Mastercard, meaning another £16 cost me £6.

    I then used the 2 x £16 cards for the 12 month £29.99 offer.

    So for £25, I got 15 months Playstation Plus, and £2 credit which I used to buy a PSone game!

    There are ways of bringing Plus down in price – buy cheap cards, do LoveFilm trials to get Amazon vouchers. You can easily get a 12 month sub for £20 at the mo.

    It’s well worth it.

  9. I’m on of those guys that, while not every game is up my alley and some i already own, the few that do interest me + the cloud storage (thank god for the future upgrade, i’m tired of juggling save files) still make it all worth it.

  10. For me PS+ is one of the greatest things ever, you get games for free… what is there more to say about this… Okay, somebody else is choosing the games you can get for free, but they’re still free… (minus the PS+ fee, of course..). Due to Ps+ I’ve played games I’d never have thought of buying and some of those games are true gems. All I read in your article is ‘Damn, too much content, too little time..’ but don’t we all have too little time…

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