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. The way I see it the major problem with PS+ is simply this, it’s worthless to the most loyal or hardcore PS3 gamers. It’s a game renting service for the casual gamer. All the “big” games they offer in their instant collection have been played or bought by the people that never let their PS3 rest. Personally I’ve played all those games years ago or whenever they were released. The only decent addition for hardcore players are the game trails, but nobody should have to pay for a demo, sure it’s a hour long demo but after loading, cut scenes, and the tutorial level you’re left with a 15 minute demo. I was a day 1 subscriber and all I got from PS+ was the fear that if I bought a game this month it would be offered for free next month, so PS+ actually caused me to stop buying games. IMO for the hardcore gamer you’re better off paying extra for a online game renting service like GameFly or Blockbuster. Sure it’s 3X the price, but you get to pick your games and play new releases.

  2. The dilemma faced by many summed up very nicely. I particularly liked the points made about having too much of a good thing, which can become overwhelming at times, or spoilt for choice. Like the Ambassador spoiling us with Ferrero Rocher at his party……Too Many!! :P

  3. Having got a lovefilm subscription and PS+ I almost never have to buy a game. The minis/ps1 games have meant I also have something to play on the go when there’s nothing new on the psp/vita out. Lovefilm allows me to play the latest games without forking out £30 or £40. I’ve also benefited from having PS+ provide games I already had on disc as it allows extra in house multiplayer on games like Motorstorm

    As a result its the games I do buy that don’t actually get played much whether they are on disc or psn games.

  4. Now then, where do i start…. When PS+plus first arrived, yeah, that’ll do:

    When PS+ first arrived i was mightily underwhelmed by its offerings, some neat little features, some little discounts, maybe a beta or two a week early. I never really play smaller titles, its just not my thing so i stayed away and i kept staying away the more they brought to the table thinking ‘i’ll basically be paying for trinkets’.

    Then it happened, the one thing in the whole of gaming subsidies that could tempt me to dust off the old wallet. Full retail games, lots of em!
    Ive let so many games pass me by, 100s of no doubt marvelous adventures and now they are throwing them at me month after month for a paltry sum by comparison….and i get all the trinkets to boot!

    When that day happened the wallet was out so fast I swear i gave it friction burns! Fantastic move by the Sony dudes and now 3 months later im still very happy to continue buying.

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