The PS Plus price increase is quite a gut punch. Spiking annual subscriptions at least 33% for all three tiers is a big ask. It’s hard to justify, but not impossible, so here’s what Sony can do to help ease the sticker shock and make every tier more valuable.
PS Plus Essential
Give players more choice
It’s strange because the democratic approach is a great way to give players more of a say in what they get. While this has the opportunity to only spotlight less interesting blockbusters in favor of more unknown gems, bringing back Vote to Play might result in games that more people would enjoy. This is even more prescient given Essential’s September 2023 lineup full of poorly received games.
PS Plus Extra
Add DLC to the library
Extra has a solid selection of games, many of which have DLC most subscribers won’t ever get to play. Paying for DLC for a game you don’t own is a hard sell, so offering some expansions on Extra is a worthy compromise. It’ll give players a more complete experience and be a more efficient way to stretch Extra’s existing library.
Launch more games on PS Plus
Getting Sea of Stars and Moving Out 2 at launch was fantastic, but something that’s way too rare on Extra. Getting a new game once every few months just isn’t the most alluring proposition, especially when compared to Game Pass’ many day-one games. Checking out at least a new title or two a month would be one of the best ways to boost Extra’s value.
Launching old ports on Extra would also significantly increase its appeal. Extra subscribers are likely more invested in PlayStation, and paying full price for an old game on your preferred system is not a worthy proposition. And while Somerville and High on Life are fitting candidates that missed their chances, Scorn and Immortality are two examples of ports that should launch on Extra. Coincidentally, all four launched on Game Pass, further showing how much Xbox understands the value of getting day-one releases.
Support PS Stars more thoroughly
It’s possible to sustain a Game Pass subscription by using Microsoft Rewards, a points system that mainly revolves around casually using the Bing search engine and doing simple tasks on the Rewards website (or app). Game Pass subscribers can even complete extra quests for more Microsoft Reward points. PlayStation Stars is lacking in general but doubly so when compared to Microsoft’s comprehensive system.
Stars has some quests involving games on PlayStation Plus, but it needs a bigger selection with deeper objectives. It should have more overall quests and ones that give players coins that can be redeemed for PSN cards; those useless digital collectibles just don’t cut it. Players should get coins for unlocking Platinums during specific time frames or finishing a certain amount of games a month. It’s only natural to make this system more gamey and doing so would help flesh out PlayStation Plus as a whole.
Introduce consistent VR games
PSVR2 is going to need all the help it can get, so it would be worth it for Sony to tie it to PlayStation Plus in some way. A consistent offering of PSVR2 games would benefit existing owners and possibly encourage those without a headset to pick one up. Having instant access to an array of VR games would soften the blow of the expensive hardware and further widen Extra’s offerings.
PS Plus Premium
Implement trophies for all PS1 and PSP games
Earning trophies in PS1 and PSP games is a treat that gives new life to old games and makes them more than a temporary distraction. But trophies are so inequitably doled out among Premium’s selection of classics. Most first-party games support trophies, but third-party games don’t and, as a result, seem less valuable. Resident Evil and Tekken 2 deserve trophies just as much as Ape Escape and Wild Arms and Sony should realize that.
Make PS3 games playable locally
Streaming PS3 games might have been the best way to make them playable on modern systems, yet it was never ideal and is an even more unattractive proposal considering Premium’s new price. Being able to play PS3 games natively should just be part of the PS5’s base functionality without a subscription, but it would benefit Premium members more since at least some of those PS3 titles would be part of that tier. There are many fantastic and historically relevant PS3 games that deserve more than a shaky 720p stream that’s wholly dependent on your internet connection.
Add new PS2 games
The PS2 games on Premium are just the games that were part of the PS2 on PS4 program, and Sony has refused to expand beyond that. This is unacceptable and a shortcut that highlights Premium’s general haphazardness.
There are so many PS2 games that Sony hasn’t put on the service, ones that are decaying in the ether and deserve to be accessible on modern systems. It shouldn’t be too much to ask for Sony to actually put different PS2 games on the service since that should be a given. While many of the standouts have been ported or remastered, the PS2’s library is still legendary, and there are so many classics to re-release.
Embrace the Vita
Every other major Sony platform and handheld is represented on PlayStation Plus except the Vita. Granted, it has the smallest library once the PS4 and PS3 ports are taken out, but the Vita still deserves to have a spot on Premium.
The underrated handheld has a decent selection of exclusive games like Killzone: Mercenary and Freedom Wars that deserve life on another system. Sony may have to come up with workarounds for the rear touchpad and camera — games like Uncharted: Golden Abyss would pose a challenge — but that shouldn’t be a reason to keep PlayStation Plus from having a more complete history of Sony’s hardware.
Give subscribers priority access
Disney gave Disney+ subscribers special access to its shop before everyone else in November 2022. Sony could do something similar with Premium and give subscribers access to certain deals or items on PlayStation Direct. It could make sure a certain number of Premium subscribers get pre-orders on the latest PS5 cover or give them access to the first wave of new merch. These shouldn’t be totally exclusive clubs, as everyone deserves a spot in line, but giving priority to those in the highest tier makes Premium more valuable to the most hardcore players.