Playstation Plus – Softening the Blow or Promises to Come?
Sony announced this month on their Playstation blog that as of March 8, 2019, PS3 and PSVita games would no longer be offered for free as part of the Playstation Plus membership. For those of you not familiar with the Playstation Plus membership program, it is a paid subscription service required for it’s users to access online multiplayer features for their gaming systems. According to Sony they use this subscription based system in order to offset the cost of running and maintaining their servers that support online play. As an additional incentive for this subscription service, Sony has offered five to six free games to their subscribers, for every month they are subscribed. However, these “free games” are only available if the subscriber does two things:
1. Remembers to “purchase” them before the first Tuesday of the next month.
2. Stays a member of Playstation Plus….forever.
If you stop being a member of the Playstation Plus subscription service you lose access to all the games that you “purchased” for free since you started your subscription. A monthly subscription to this service is $9.99, or you can buy an annual subscription for $59.99. If the consumer “purchases” all the games for the month, they normally recoup the value of the annual subscription price in the first month, plus get to play online with their friends. This buy it or lose it system helps Sony retain a lot of their Playstation Plus subscribers. Now with this month’s announcement will Sony lose subscribers, because the Playstation Plus membership has lost some value?
On average the Playstation Plus membership has offered 2-3 PS4 games, but this month five PS4 titles were available for free, including AAA titles Bloodborne and Ratchet and Clank. This could be a preview of what’s to come for the Playstation Plus membership. By focusing on only PS4 titles, will the consumer get more triple A titles, more PS4 titles in general (4-5 instead of 2-3 as in the past), or was this just Sony softening the blow of the announcement to discontinue offering PS3 and PSVita titles with the membership?
The case could also be made that this may be Sony softly whispering the timing of when consumer could expect the next generation of Sony consoles. The last time Sony had a March release of a console was the PS2 back in 2006. If Sony did release the PS5 next year, it would keep pace with previous systems release schedule of every 6 years. Hopefully Sony will provide at bit more information on their Playstation blog when it gets closer to the March 8 deadline. Until then, if you are interested in purchasing a Playstation Plus subscription you can get it here.