PlayStation Plus Me Please – Initial Review and Comments

I decided to subscribe to the new PlayStation Plus service last Tuesday. I opted for a year subscription ($49.99) which includes three “free” bonus months, bringing the final price from $4.17 (12 months) to $3.33 (15 months) per month. One of the very first things I noticed was that the T&Cs committed me to an automatic renewal once my subscription expires – I did not see or notice an easy way to cancel the service.

This PCWorld article describes the new PlayStation Plus service as not worth the cost of entry. At least not yet.

What do you get for $50 a year? At this point, not much. I counted nine total PP options, including a trial version of inFAMOUS, free full versions of Rally Cross ($5.99), Age of Zombies ($4.99), a Warhawk Fallen Star content pack ($1.99), a Fat Princess: Fat Roles expansion pack ($4.99), and Wipeout HD (19.99), a lone sci-fi theme, and–wait for it–two Fat Princess avatars.

Additionally, Midway and TikGames-Creat Studios were offering a handful of specially priced items, including stuff like Midway’s Mortal Kombat II (regularly $4.99, discounted to $2.50) and TiKGames-Create Studios’ Wakeboarding HD (regularly $14.99, discounted to $11.99).

But that’s it. All told, it’s more like a sampler platter of what to expect–trial versions, freebies, and discounts–when the service finally ramps up. I though that’d be now, but alas, we’re left to hypotheticals and unofficial conjecture about a holiday content fulfillment period.

The writer also limited the fact that the PlayStation Store has some stupid, undefined, non intuitive errors. In one case, not being able to directly publish PSN purchases directly to his Facebook page. I do not do the Facebook thing; I know … maybe one of these days I will get with it … probably. I digress.

I am trying to think if Facebook integration is a cool feature or downright silly. No idea, but I doubt the vast majority of my friends would care that I just picked up two free premium bonus Plus Fat Princes avatars. Actually, they would probably say I was a wanker.

Free Games
I downloaded Wipeout HD, Rally Cross (PSOne Classic), Age of Zombies (minis), and the free avatars and theme. I am not really sure what to do with the “free” expansion content – over the weekend I am going to download it to see if there is any possibility of “keeping it around” for later in case Warhawk or Fat Princess become “free” Plus content or maybe discounted content.

Was the first month of Plus worth it to me? Probably not, although I did get Wipeout HD, which is a game I would have never purchased. Based on the reviews I can find, the Zombie minis is considered one of the better made minis. Too bad, because I thought it pretty much sucked.

Back in the day I loved Rally Cross, but I doubt it has aged well. I consider this bonus content for my PSP because I doubt I will play it on the PS3. I am going to look to see if I can find a game save on one of my old PSX memory cards, but even if I do, while I can transfer it to my PS3, I doubt there is a way to transfer saves between the PS3 and PSP.

The rest is well, not worth much to me. What am I going to do with a couple of avatars and a theme? I doubt that I will purchase any of the discounted games and content, although I will give them a look over the weekend; maybe I am missing out on a hidden gem.

Finally, inFamous was included in my PS3 Slim bundle purchase. Since I have not opened the game, I may give the free 60 minute trial a go. If do not like the game, maybe I get some eBay value out of an unopened copy of inFamous.

Automatic Downloads
This was one of the features that sold me on the Plus service. I love the concept of my PS3 pulling down patches and firmware updates in the middle of the night, so I can just install the next time I fire up my PS3 or patched game.

Right now I have no clue how this works. When I started Wipeout HD for the first time, I was greeted with a message that I needed to download the latest version. Strange since I downloaded and installed (but did not play) Wipeout HD Tuesday night, and played it for the first time Wednesday night. My PS3 is set to auto download between 4-6AM.

It is worth watching to see how this feature plays out, and what sort of message or info is provided when I turn on my PS3. It would be lovely if I was informed that a new firmware update, game patch, or demo was downloaded for my gaming pleasure. Or maybe that is too much to ask.

At one point I read that Qore would be part of the service. I was an initial subscriber, however I did not think it was worth the money and did not renew my subscription. The only reason I would like to see it is included is for more Plus content. Seems like it would be a nice perk for Plus subscribers, but no real loss if it remains a “paid for” download; I just will not pay for it again.

PSN Future Purchases?
This is where things could get interesting for Sony. Will the Plus service cannibalize other potential sales? Now that I have paid $50 for Plus, I am not sure that I will purchase minis and other PSN titles. At least not right away because sooner or later they could (hopefully will) end up as part of the Plus service, which in turn would devalue my subscription. Of course we are only talking $3.33/month, but in general I am cheap.

Let’s see what happens next month.


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