The PS3's new online subscription service is available (gaming online remains free).
Check below for all of the details of how it works at launch; no doubt they will add a lot of content and features in the future to make it more attractive. For at least the first month, you get 15 months for $50.
With that, here are the basics of the new subscription service that lives on top of the current PlayStation Network:
* The current PSN features will remain free. We are still very committed to PSN as a free comprehensive entertainment service and are certainly not planning on reducing this service following the launch of PlayStation Plus.
* PlayStation Plus is an evolving service and the features included at launch will be:
o PS Store Discounts
o Exclusive offers on select demos, betas and early purchases
o Full Game Trial
o Automatic Downloads
* PlayStation Plus can be purchased through PlayStation Store on PS3 as a one-year package or a three-month package. The three-month package is available for $17.99 and the one-year package will be available for $49.99. We will also be offering three additional bonus months for free if you purchase the 1-year package — that’s 15 months total for $49.99.
* Payment is a one-time fee for either package and can be purchased with any of the current PSN Store payment methods – credit card or PSN Cards.
Here are more details on the features of PlayStation Plus:
Games & Special Offers: As a subscriber, you can expect to get your hands on free monthly PSN games, minis and PS One Classics from the PSN Store. You will be able to download these games during the month they are available until the new selection replaces them.
Once downloaded, the games are yours to keep and play as long as you are a member of PlayStation Plus. If your subscription lapses and then you re-subscribe, the games you have already downloaded will reactivate, so you still have access to them. Additionally, if you delete one of the titles from your PS3, but decide you want to get it back, then you can re-download from the PlayStation Plus section of the PSN Store if the game is still there, or, if the game has expired from the PlayStation Plus section of the PSN Store, you can simply search for it on PS Store and download it again at no extra cost.
Each month there will be dynamic themes, premium avatars and premium game elements/add-ons for you to download and many will be exclusive to PlayStation Plus members only. These are yours to keep forever once you have downloaded them.
PlayStation Plus subscribers will also be given exclusive PlayStation Store discounts each month that are above and beyond the current PSN Store discounts available to everyone. These discounts will range from 20% to 50%, and anything you buy with these is yours to keep and enjoy forever.
Finally, wherever possible we’ll be making sure that members are included in selected demos and beta trials before they go live to everyone else, so you can be the one to tell all your friends about the next big game they ‘must’ get.
Subscribers will get hundreds of dollars of value through the year and, in the first month alone, will receive more than $50 worth of content.
Full Game Trial: Each month we will be offering members the chance to download full games and try them out for a period of time (one hour, unless otherwise stated). After the game trial is complete, simply purchase the game to carry on where you left off. This is a unique way to trial the full game experience and means you don’t have to be restricted to certain levels/game modes when you test out a game.
The games in Full Game Trial will become available to all PS Store users to purchase, but only PlayStation Plus members will have the chance to ‘try before you buy’.
The other great thing about this feature is that you can continue from where you were at the end of the trial period if you decide to buy the game. All game saves and trophies earned during the trial will be unlocked and will show up on your trophy list and your trophy level when you purchase the game. You don’t even have to re-download the game, just purchase and go back to the XMB to access the game.
Automatic Download: Subscribers will be able to set their PS3 to wake up from standby at any time of the day or night, download and install any game updates for the games you have been playing so you don’t have to think about it. Also, select demos and videos will be pushed to your PS3 ready to go. System software updates will also download automatically (manual install still required) and then the PS3 will turn itself off again.
Game updates and demos will also automatically install and the next time you turn on your PS3 you will see a brief on-screen message letting you know what has been downloaded and updated.
Here are some more answers to frequently asked questions from the last blog post:
* Cross-game voice chat is a feature we know our passionate user base has asked for and we’ll continue to look at as a viable offering for the PlayStation Network.
* You need to be the master account holder on the PS3 and be over 18 to purchase PlayStation Plus, but other accounts on that PS3 will be able to play the games you download for as long as you are a subscriber.
* The “free” games you can download each month are yours to keep for as long as you are a subscriber.
* PlayStation Plus is for PS3 owners as subscribership can only be purchased on the PSN Store. However, some of the content – minis and PS One Classics – available each month will also be playable on your PSP if you have one. Download them on the PS3 and transfer to your PSP, or download directly from the PSP Store or Media Go for PSP.
PlayStation Plus is a continually evolving service and we are always working on identifying new partnerships, developing new features and providing new content that our users want. So thanks again for all your comments and questions and please continue to offer more ideas at PlayStation.Blog Share.
Here is the PS+ content available for the first month ($163 in total savings from normal prices):
inFamous game trial (60-minute trial)
WipEout HD (Full Game) FREE [normally $19.99]
Rally Cross (PSOne Classic) FREE [normally $5.99]
Age of Zombies (minis) FREE [normally $4.99]
Warhark Fallen Star (Add-On) FREE [normally $1.99]
Collision Theme FREE
Fat Princess Pink and Blue Princess Avatars FREE
Cuboid Booster Pack FREE [normally $2.99]
Cuboid Bundle Pack FREE [normally $4.99]
Cuboid Level Editor FREE [normally $3.99]
Magic Orbz Witches Pack FREE [normally $2.99]
Magic Orbz Jungle Pack FREE [normally $2.99]
Magic Orbz Winter Pack FREE [normally $2.99]
Mahjong Tales Ancient Wisdom Booster Pack FREE [normally $4.99]
Smash Cards Virus Run FREE [normally $2.99]
Fat Princess: Fat Roles DLC $3.99 [normally $4.99]
Gauntlet II $2.50 [normally $4.99]
Mortal Kombat II $2.50 [normally $4.99]
Rampage $2.50 [normally $4.99]
Rampart $2.50 [normally $4.99]
Cuboid $7.99 [normally $9.99]
Hamsterball $7.99 [normally $9.99]
Interpol $7.99 [normally $9.99]
Magic Orbz $7.99 [normally $9.99]
Mahjong Tales: Ancient Wisdom $7.99 [normally $9.99]
Smash Cars $11.99 [normally $14.99]
Wakeboarding HD $11.99 [normally $14.99]
Month 1 / Week 2 update:
Qore Ep. 26 (Free - normally $3)
Fieldrunners (Free - normally $7)
Super Stardust HD - ($5 - normally $10)
Super Stardust HD Team Addon - ($2.50 - normally $5)
Super Stardust HD Solo Addon - ($2.50 - normally $5)
Hamsterball ($4 - normally $10)
MAG 'Raven' Avatar (Free - normally $3)
MAG 'SVER' Avatar (Free - normally $3)
MAG 'Valor' Avatar (Free - normally $3)
King Zumo Theme (Free - normally $3)
Month 1 / Week 3 update:
Hulu+ Access (Exclusive to PlayStation Plus)
Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days Demo (Exclusive to PlayStation Plus)
echochrome ($5 - normally $10)
Resistance 2 Skin Bundle ($2 - normally $4)
Heavy Rain Origami Swan Avatar (Free - normally $.50)
Bloody Escape Theme (Free - normally $1.50)
Month 1 / Week 4 update:
Critter Crunch (Free - normally $7)
Syphon Filter (Free - normally $6)
Kahoots (Free - normally $5.50)
Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped ($3 - normally $6)
Super Street Fighter IV PSN Avatar Bundle - 35 Avatars ($4.99) (Exclusive to PlayStation Plus Subscribers)
ign.com reviews PS+ and they seem to love it:
It's too much goodness!
Now that we've had a chance to sit down and tinker with all the new bells and whistles on the PS3, we're ready to weigh in with some opinions. IGN PlayStation Executive Editor Greg Miller and IGN Guides Guru Colin Moriarty sat down to discuss the pros, cons and futures of Sony's new initiatives.
Come watch the PS3 Firmware meet Facebook.
Greg Miller: Colin, it's a big day -- PlayStation Plus and Firmware 3.40 are officially out. You and I made sure we downloaded both of them last night, so let's get into this. What are your initial thoughts on Firmware 3.40?
Colin Moriarty: I like what I see. The Trophy level of each of your friends being noted right from your friends list is a nice touch, as is the ability to rate games you've purchased on the PSN -- to try and influence other gamers to buy or not to buy certain products. What are your thoughts?
Greg Miller: I'm impressed. I don't own computer, so I store all my digital content on my PS3 like a portable hard drive. Having the ability to upload my photos straight to Facebook from the system has me very, very excited. Watching those Post-It notes pop up on the pics last night was cool. I love the Trophy level display.
Colin Moriarty: Right on. The Facebook connectivity is not really a key issue for me... in fact, I'm kind of turned off by it right off the bat because of how botched Sony's initial rollout of PS3-Facebook connectivity was. But I'll see if I can use these new features with an open mind.
Greg Miller: Geez, way to hate, Colin. At least they're doing it, but I do feel the same way about the video editing stuff. Anyway, lets get to the heart of the matter: PlayStation Plus. You plunked down your $50 last night. Has buyer's remorse set in yet?
Colin Moriarty: No buyer's remorse in the least. As you know, I've already received back in games and add-ons more than half of what I paid for a 15-month subscription in the first night of having PlayStation Plus. I'm still confused how anyone could argue that this isn't a great deal, especially for those of us, like you and I, who live and breathe PS3 and PSN.
How about yourself?
Greg Miller: Nah, I'm happy with it and excited to see what's coming next month and the month after that and the month after that. I don't see the need to hate on it like a lot of folks are. Yes, if I unsubscribe, they're taking back the games I got for free. Like you pointed out, isn't that how Netflix works? I could buy those movies, but I choose to pay a fee and get them for as long as I'm a member. Seems easy enough to me. Plus, even if I renew four more years, I'm going to get content out of those years that'll surpass the $200. My Xbox Live subscription expired two months ago, and that's the one I go back and forth about in my head.
Colin Moriarty: Exactly. It's not really hard to rationalize it in your head as being a good deal... it's more a matter of if you are willing to do it or not. I pay a monthly subscription to Netflix. That doesn't mean I get to keep every Blu-ray I rent, nor does it mean I get lifetime access to their streaming network. It means that as long as I subscribe, I can watch any of their movies, and when I stop subscribing, I don't have that access anymore. It's ludicrous that people attack this part of PlayStation Plus as being a negative. Let me give you an example.
I "bought" WipEout HD last night. It's usually $20, but for me, it was free, because I'm a PlayStation Plus member. Now, a lot of naysayers are quick to say that I'm simply renting the game, because I don't get to keep it if I stop subscribing. So let's say they're right. Let's say that I am renting the game. And let's say that, conservatively, I'd spend $5 a week on a rental from a brick and mortar store. So I get to "rent" Wipeout HD for 64 weeks. If I were to rent it at $5 a week, it'd cost me $320 over that span. Even at a dollar a week, it's still $64, or $14 more than the yearly subscription to PlayStation Plus.
Instead, I paid $50 to rent WipEout HD for 15 months, plus I get access to 14 other free games to "rent" over that period, plus I get discounts on games, DLC, and more that I actually get to keep. So... what was the negative again?
Greg Miller: We're starting to sound like an infomercial, but yeah, that's it in a nutshell. I think people have just had the free PSN for so long that any talk of a paid PSN pisses them off. The bigger issue -- for a lot of people -- is the fear that cross-game chat is going to come as a PlayStation Plus exclusive. If that happens, I expect riots in the streets.
Colin Moriarty: It's not a matter of sounding like an infomercial, it's a matter of coming with proper facts, and those are the facts. Sony couldn't have been clearer that the PSN will remain free, which puts it at an inherent advantage over its competition, Xbox Live. Microsoft essentially forces you to pay the same fee that PlayStation Plus charges just to get many basic online features that PS3 owners get for free. I'm not saying people need to embrace what Sony is doing here, but they do need to understand that for people who use PS3/PSN as much as you and I do, we are getting a fantastic deal, and certainly one a hell of a lot better than 360 gamers are currently getting.
Greg Miller: Oh, crap, you just ignited a Xbox/PS3 war on the comment thread below. As much as I love my PS3, Xbox Live has a few more bells and whistles that I think the PlayStation Network is trying to catch up with -- cross-game chat, Achievements auto-syncing, etc. Still, we have the better community and I do heart PlayStation Plus so far. My one concern is that all the free games are going to be old stuff. I've bought the PSN games I want off of the Store, I don't want to see them all get added to this free list. Does that worry you, Colin?
Colin Moriarty: Yeah. I was talking to another editor before and I told him: the proof is going to be in the pudding, but the pudding hasn't quite cooked all the way through yet. The free games, discounts, DLC, and all of that jazz that's released month by month is going to show, one way or the other, how much value is actually in PlayStation Plus. I have faith in this initiative because WipEout HD was their first choice for a free game -- a very popular $20 game. I guarantee you they'll have some duds for free games, but if they start rolling out stuff like Shatter, Super Stardust, Fat Princess or Flower for free in the coming months, then I think people's faith (and my own) will be sealed.
Do you think they'll give us what we want in terms of free games and discounts, or do you think their approach will be more tempered than you would have liked?
Greg Miller: I think it'll be tempered. I already own all of the games you just mentioned. It makes me worry that I'll never see a debut (like Journey) go free -- even the Fat Princess DLC this week was just marked down and not free, which seemed like it would've been a no brainer. Still, the discounts make me happy.
Colin Moriarty: We shall see. Rumor has it that Zen Pinball is going to be the next free game, and I don't own that one either. But yes -- the discounts have a lot of power with me as well. They already have me considering buying Cuboid (which I will get to keep even if I choose to stop subscribing to PlayStation Plus). But to me, what's really exciting about PlayStation Plus isn't what we've already seen and what we already know but everything that could potentially come to the service in the future. After all, as Jeff Rubenstein told us on Podcast Beyond last week, PlayStation Plus won't be a static service. It will evolve.
Greg Miller: So, on the evolution front, it was also announced today that the Hulu subscription plan is coming to the PS3 (eventually). Do you think that this fee could looped into PlayStation Plus? Could there me be some kind of discount?
Colin Moriarty: That would be nice, because I'm not going to pay a fee for something I could watch on my computer free of charge. I appreciate that it's coming to PSN and I'm glad for people who will get a lot of use out of it, but I'm not that person. What about you?
Greg Miller: Eh. Probably? I'm dumb; I want. I have Netflix, but I rarely use it. Still, I want it. I need to see what Hulu has nowadays. I don't watch all that much TV, so hopefully I can talk myself out of it, but we'll see.
Wrapping this up… I dig both Firmware 3.40 and PlayStation Plus. I think they're examples of Sony responding to the players, and that's always a good thing. Right now, I have all 100 friend slots filled on my PS3, and looking at the list, I see 11 PlayStation Plus icons. That's not bad considering a bunch of people at the end of my list haven't been on in three months -- I'M LOOKING AT YOU, WILL TUTTLE. I'm glad PlayStation Plus is here, and I can't wait to see what we get next month.
Colin Moriarty: I like the firmware update, too, and I think PlayStation Plus is a great deal for the PS3 hardcore audience. I also think it's great that PSN remains free for each and every person who owns a PS3, and I'm truly confused by the anger about the program. You should purge your friends list of inactives like I do so that you have a nice robust group of 100! But as I browse my list, I see... 12 PlayStation Plus users. Not bad indeed.
Thanks for the talk, Greg.
Greg Miller: Thank you, Colin.
Edited by joeblow - 9/2/13 at 10:19am