In the most expected reveal of Sony’s E3 conference, the company announced the arrival of a premium service for the PSN, appropriately titled PlayStation Plus.
Don’t panic, the new service will not hinder online play for PS3 owners who wish not to pay, and all existing features will remain free.
Members will be able to get at least four games a month at no extra charge. Each month there will be a selection of one PSN game, two minis and one PS one classic available on PlayStation Store for you to download. You also get premium avatars and dynamic themes each month, many of which are exclusive to members.
There will also be discounts available on PlayStation Store content, just for the members, and, you will be giving selected demos and beta trials before they go live to the public. Allegedly, the games, avatars and themes alone are worth at least £200 per year, but that will not be the only benefit of the service.
This premium feature gives you the chance to try PSN and Blu-ray disc titles before you buy them in a revolutionary new way. ‘Full Game Trial’ allows you to download the full game and play it as if you owned it for approximately one hour, depending on the game, before you decide if you want to buy it or not. This includes online modes, and all other features you’d expect in a game. Additionally, your progress and trophies from the trial will all be unlocked if you buy the game so no need to go back and start again.
Another feature exclusive to the Plus service is the ability to set your PS3 to automatically receive the latest game updates for all the games you play, PS3 system software updates and game demos for your PS3, all automatically. After setting the time, your PS3 will automatically wake up and download everything, ready for when you next want to game, thus stopping you from having to wait for patches each time you want to play a game.
The price is $49.99/ €49.99 / £39.99 a year. In addition, you have the option of purchasing three months for $18/ €14.99 / £11.99.