For years I've been ignoring the PS3's premium service, PlayStation Plus. It promised games at significant discounts, but I just couldn't be bothered. Now it seems that PlayStation Plus' time has come, with the promise of a bunch of free full retail games as soon as you sign up for membership -- an offer that was launched in this year's E3. It sounded like a sweet deal, so I took the plunge. I am now a happy gamer.
I'm currently playing Little Big Planet 2, Renegade Ops and a cute little sidescroller called Sideway. On the download queue is Infamous 2, Ratchet and Clank All 4 One, and Saints Row. Plus I'm eyeing discounted versions of Rayman Origins, Catherine and God of War Collection. And I mean big discounts, like 30% off. So many good games!
The price is right
You can get PlayStation Plus for either 3 months ($18) or 12 months ($50). A little math will reveal that if you get it for 3 months, it comes out at $6 per month while a yearly membership will cost you around $4 per month.
For the 12 free games alone, this is a great deal. Of course, the downside is you have to keep paying every month. Your PlayStation Plus games will disappear if your membership comes to an end.
If you're a heavy gamer, this is a great way to explore the games that you missed at prices far below retail. More and more games are showing up in the PlaySation store. I'm not talking about those cutesy little PSN games either. I mean triple-A titles like Mass Effect 3.
Brand new games tend to be available only on disc. Mass Effect 3, which was available on PSN on launch day, is still the exception to the rule. This will probably change as more games become available on PSN from day one. Everyone knows that digital distribution is the future.
Oh, and one more thing. If you buy your US PSN cards from Datablitz, keep in mind that you will be paying slightly more than the listed price. A $50 card sells for PHP2,300++. This means that you're actually paying around $60 for the $50 card. Something to think about.
PSN vs Datablitz
Of course, the PSN experience is drastically different from a trip to Datablitz. Buying games on PSN is straightforward and easy, but full games tend to be really big. You better have a fast Internet connection at home. Little Big Planet 2 is a relatively light 4.7GB, and it took about a day for my 2Mbps connection to download. Infamous 2 is 15GB. That's 3 days!
Once the game is downloaded, expect a round of updates before actually playing the game. In short, expect a lot of waiting.
Despite the epic waiting times, I've found that I prefer to have my games living in my hard drive and the cloud. (You can delete a game from your HD and download it again later because what you own isn't a disc, it's a license that is tied to your PSN account.) And once the game is there on your HD, PlayStation Plus can update your games automatically, say, while you sleep.
I like Datablitz. They know me by name there. And they even know my kids. But I'm afraid that soon the only reason I'll be going there is to buy hardware, PSN cards, and the odd game that isn't on PSN.
The time of PlayStation Plus has finally come. Right now, it offers more quantity than quality, but the big blockbuster games are coming. The twelve initial free games alone are worth the price of entry. There's something there for everyone. For four to six dollars a month, it's a no-brainer. If you like games, and if you own a PS3, get PlayStation Plus. Not all the big blockbuster games are available yet, but more games for less money can only be a good thing.