With the recent rumor surrounding an upcoming feature that will allow PlayStation Plus subscribers to vote on which title they would like to have added to the list of free games for that month, Daily Reaction is going to discuss what this could mean for gamers, as well as talk about what features we would like to see added to the service and our general thoughts on how it has performed over the last five years.
Dan: I have been a subscriber for PlayStation Plus since the very beginning, and I have always considered it to be a nice option for gamers to have if they are interested in playing a variety of games. Now that the service has become crucial for the majority of Sony’s online experiences, more gamers are going to exposed to content that they most likely wouldn’t have had a chanced to play. But as the service’s reach expands, there are going to be a number of users who are going to be disappointed from time to time as they may already own the offered titles, or simply aren’t interested in them.
This is where I think the voting concept, if true, has the potential to be great for some subscribers, and problematic for others. Much like anything that is designed to have a broad reach across a group with differing tastes, there are going to be people who simply want different things. Currently the status-quo just has the service offer a set of free titles, and that is what gamers get. But if we are given a set of titles to chose from, and only one of them can become free, the rest may become missed opportunities that others may have wanted.
Thankfully, I doubt that we will see a selection for any major additions, as the need for a service like this to have deals in-place long before release is almost a must, especially for bigger releases. But given that a number of people already become infuriated over the option of free games, I could only image the potential issues of them missing out on a title that they actually want. I am glad to see that Sony may be looking at alternative methods for PlayStation Plus, as I think there is a great deal of potential behind it, but I don’t think there is anything they can do to make their fans happy – At least not all of them.
I have been generally happy with Sony’s entry into a subscription service, especially considering that they had to move away from a model that had free online gaming to one that required users to pay for access. The free game offering is a great idea as I have already stated, but I would like to see some alternative options be put in place for some months.
As great as new games every month can be, I think the option to get a coupon code for use on the PSN Store in exchange for that month’s offering might be a interesting concept that would give users more versatility. Although, it would have to be said that I could not see them offering this every month, or even giving a substantial discount as they already have to cut deals with developers on the already offered software. Which could be the reason why we may be seeing a set list of optional titles, as they could all be competing for a future deal with Sony.
Chandler: You voiced one of my concerns with the voting system for plus with the fact that there will be one winner and two games that do not get put into the Instant Game Collection. There’s a fringe benefit to the voting feature that should help ease the blow if your selected game isn’t the inner however, and that is the Plus discounts that will be applied to those games. It remains to be seen how significant the discounts on these games will be, but at the very least it won’t leave subscribers high and dry if the majority votes on something else. Everybody wins, at least a little bit.
This is Sony trying to appease as many of their fans and subscribers as possible, and I think they are doing an admirable job at providing a series of options and even partial victories like the discounts. The Plus service is $50 per year. $10 less than the cost of the vast majority of brand new games these days. That money also pays for the online infrastructure, but let’s set that aside for a second and take a step back. We get six free games each month. Sure some of them are PS3 and Vita, and not everybody has every system, but a large majority of them end up being cross buy between platforms, so even if you only own a PS4, you end up with three or four free games each month.
Now let’s say you get two AAA titles in a given year and a handful of smaller games that you end up enjoying. That alone already exceeds the value of the yearly subscription, yet people demand these high caliber games every single month. Now if Sony were to start handing out games like inFAMOUS Second Son, Knack, Killzone, or other major releases, you’d have people begin to complain that they already own these games and that Sony should be giving them things they don’t own. See where there’s a fine balance that needs to be met? You can’t win with everybody, but that’s the beautiful thing about getting six free games a month for 12 months, for a meager $50 subscription over that period of time.
The way I look at it is analyzing from when I renew my subscription, which is every November when Plus subscriptions usually go on sale (that’s right, even less than the already comparatively low cost). I can guarantee there will be duds going to the next November. I can guarantee there will be games released on it that I already own. However, I can also guarantee that there will at least be a couple of things I’ll enjoy and a number of surprises that make that year’s subscription worth the price of entry. Considering this and now thinking we’ll have the opportunity to vote and the majority can be satiated? Sony is definitely moving in the right direction.
I really like your idea, Dan, of opting out of free games for a small credit to your wallet or something similar. It’s a cool idea that would further help everyone feel like they’ve “won,” but the logistics would be a nightmare. If the credit could exceed $50 over the course of the year, you’d have people gaming the system to get free Plus subscriptions, and many other problems with contracts with developers for their games in the IGC. Maybe opting out of a free game as a discount towards a select group of other games? Options are always good, and with this voting thing on the horizon, I’m sure Sony is always working to make sure they are doing what they can to appease as many of their fans as possible while not drastically losing money on what is already a great deal for gamers, whether they see it or not.
How many PlayStation Plus games have you played? What do you think they can do to improve the service? Let us know in the comments below, email us at [email protected] or check us out on Twitter @Foolsjoker and @Finchstrife.