Is Playstation Plus Worth it? Continued Point by Point Breakdown!

I see that many people are still curious about this service and would like to learn more about it so here is my point by point breakdown.

Features available at launch:

  1. Exclusive offers
  2. PS Store Discounts
  3. Early access to beta’s and select demos
  4. Full game trials
  5. Automatic Downloads

Exclusive Offers:
First of all, I haven’t seen any exclusive offers even worth noting, and as far as the some of the free content is concerned, that’s just nonsense, because nothing in the subscription is free, that’s why you’re paying for it. Also, both the games & DLC you acquire “for free” become inactive (meaning “can’t be used”) after your subscription period ends, should you choose not to renew. This means you don’t actually get to keep any of your “free” content except for avatars & themes. Not being able to choose my games was a real disappointment because the games you get “for free” are mainly one or two PSP Minis a week  and one monthly full-fledged PSN game which are dated.

PlayStation Store Discounts:

The averaged out savings in the PS + section of the store came out to be about $2.93. Keep in mind these aren’t discounts on everything, only select items. To be fair, a lot of the discounted games and DLC are fun to experience but a few are quite old; having released either early this year or years’ past. If you are a super shopper inside the playstation store and are buying everything from arcade titles to PS Minis to themes and avatars, then it might be a worthy investment because you’ll save a ton of money. But is it really worth it for the average gamer like myself, who doesn’t spend much money in the PS store? At $50 per year with an average savings of $2.93 I would have to purchase roughly 17 pieces of downloadable content to break-even.

Early access to beta’s and select demos:

So far, I haven’t seen to many people who are plus subscribers getting much priority over the free users. When I got the Medal of Honor Closed Beta invite, I may have received it a day or two ahead of one of the free users on my friends list. It really bothers me when I’m paying $50 for a service that only gets me a day or two ahead of everyone else in terms of priority status, I mean, what’s up with that Sony!? This is not how it should be at all. But again, I understand that this is a new service and I am trying to be patient.

As far as the early select demos are concerned, there’s been only one early Plus member demo available so far, which is “Kane & Lynch 2,” and I am totally excited about that game. So I’m thinking this section may end up getting better as time progresses.  PSN Store discounts? Might be worth enough in the long-run, but that’s only if I manage to get that $50 back through discounts over the course of a year, which is very possible. If you view the PlayStation Store and the savings you receive as a Plus Member, they’re not huge savings but they can add up. Here are a few ideas I’ve cooked up that I feel would warrant an investment in Plus:

Full Game Trials:

In my opinion, Full Game Trials are inferior to Game Demos for two reasons.

  • Full Game Trials cost as a part of your subscription while game demos are FREE.
  • Full Game Trials last for only one hour. I need to expand upon this second point.
    • First, lets address the issue of Re-playability. Say you’re considering a purchase of a cool new game. You try out the Full Game Trial for the hour offered but still aren’t sure if you want to buy the game. If you haven’t made your mind up within that hour, you either have to take a chance with a purchase or go the rental route. On the other hand, with a demo you usually have unlimited play-time. The demo itself may be an hour or even only half an hour, but once you’ve finished you can go back and replay the demo over and over again to your heart’s content.
    • In the demo version of inFamous, you get to play through three distinct missions that can easily take you no more than an hour to finish, but because of  the variety it, it provides you with enough content to really wet your taste and help you decide better on whether you want to buy the game or not. Now wouldn’t you say the latter varied gameplay experience is worth more than the tutorial & a taste?

Automatic Downloads:

This feature “Downloads content such as game patches, system software update data, and video items we recommend to you, automatically. This system will start automatically at the scheduled time, and will begin the download.” I do think that this is a cool feature, however, I believe this service should be free to everyone not just subscribers.

Now that Sony is turning a profit on their systems, I believe as time goes by Sony will continue to sweeten their offers. As of now, it has none of those options and so I believe it’s just not worth my purchase. That’s my take.

What do you think?”

Medal of Honor’s Gunfighter Mission

Medal of Honor Executive Producer Greg Goodrich was at Sony’s press conference during the 2010 German Games Convention. While he was on stage, he unveiled a new mission from the single player campaign from Medal of Honor, but he wasn’t the one playing the game for the on-stage demo — he brought a special guest with him. What do you think of it?

Sony Takes On iOS Gaming!

Sony has now gone on the offensive by bashing, quite hilariously in fact, the iPhone’s gaming platform. Sure Apple’s iOS gaming platform might have tens of thousands of titles a finger tap away but Sony as possibly found a major weak spot in its competition: quantity versus quality.

I’ll be honest and admit that even though I’ve owned the original generation of the Sony PSP, I never had many games and never used it as much simply because I’ve never had a good reason to carry it around with me. However, I can see more reasons to use iPhone gaming if your just trying to kill time while waiting in line.  In the three years of owning an iPhone, I’ll admit there isn’t nearly as much depth to the iOS titles as Sony’s PSP titles.  Its games like: Super Monkey Ball, Fieldrunners, Doom, Tap Tap Revenge, Plants vs. Zombies, and Band of Brothers that I can completely say are worthy of competing against the titles that are available on a dedicated gaming platform like the PSP.  If you’re looking for a closer to console gaming experience, then you should totally go with the PSP.

However, the main concern you should have when deciding whether to get a PSP or an iPhone is that most PSP titles cost much more than the average app on the app store. One PSP game can easily run you double that of an iPhone game.

In the end it really just comes down to a matter of preference.  You’d be crazy to recommend the iPhone over the PSP to any hardcore gamer and just as nuts to recommend a PSP for the average guy looking to kill a few minutes in line at Starbucks.  I believe that there is much room for both platforms in the mobile gaming world. It’s all about who can innovate and connect more with gamers.

Do you think the PSP has what it takes to beat an app based platform? Let me know what you think by leaving a comment.

Gaming News Update August 16, 2010

Can Toshiba Innovate More Than Apple?

Toshiba’s concept-turned-commercial Libretto W100 is now on sale in the US. I believe that this is not going to be revolutionary by any means, but it puts a real dent in Apple’s desire to be the top innovator.

This laptop sports a dual screen and a touch screen for either a full keyboard or a split keyboard design, which is really freakin awesome! $1,099.99 buys you a Pentium U5400 processor, Windows 7 Home Premium (32-bit), integrated Intel HD graphics, a memory card reader, 2GB of DDR3 memory, a 62GB solid state drive, 802.11b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, an inbuilt webcam and an 8-cell battery. Check out the video above and let me know what you think in the comments section below!

Is Playstation Plus Worth Your Money?

Since the release of the recent PlayStation Plus service, most people don’t know what to make of it, you have to pay the same price as Xbox Live ($50) and I feel, you don’t get near as many features on PS+ as you do with Xbox Live, those features are either already on PSN for free or not even on the system at all. Many users are just wondering why PS+ is even worth their money.

So, lets start with the price point. Many people are wondering, including myself, why Sony would price this service at $50. I personally think that is way too much for what the store currently offers and for one software feature outside the store. So Why this price? I believe it could be mainly because Sony needed to start profiting off of their current PlayStation. As of very recent quarterly profits show, they’ve just started making money off the system itself with the release of the PS3 Slim, and now they are scrambling to recover most of what they lost. That’s not including what it takes to run PSN as a service. I doubt that Sony realized the epic amounts of money it would take to run PSN.

But why $50?  That’s a good question, due to the ever growing competition with their rival Xbox, and the community demands for more features, I believe sony was put into an extremely uncomfortable spot. So, what if they started from a lower cost, and gradually go up from as features start rolling in? People like you and me would probably have no problem if they started lower and eventually went to $50 because we understand the situation, but there are probably millions of people who would not and the service would probably have some trouble if they started at a low price and gradually raised it.

PlayStation Plus, which isn’t very well named and I think most people can agree, currently gives you many PlayStation Store discounts and offers like 1 hour game trails, content discounts, early betas and other exclusive offers in the store. So shouldn’t this be called something like PlayStation Store Plus? The only features you’re currently given is auto-downloads and a yellow logo next to your name.

However, it is true that there’s not much Plus in PlayStation right now. You pay $50 for the year and even though most of the store offers are pretty good with content like game trials, you don’t get as many features as you’d expect with Xbox Live for the same price. However, Xbox Live doesn’t have some of the marketplace features like PS+ but it’s still not enough and leaves the user questioning whether they made the right choice in purchasing the service.

So here’s my thing, the PS+ service is somewhat feasible but there are already many problems with the PlayStation Store features (over 90% of the PS+ experience right now). For example, the price cuts and deals you get are very good but how many of you would be willing to buy them in the first place?Not many of you, I can imagine. In this case you will pay more for the service than you would if you just bought the one or two arcade titles or premium theme content you like. Unless you are a heavy Playstation Store buyer, this service is definitely not for you as it stands right now. Since this service is $50 this year, and because of the lack of content and features that it brings, this is yet another huge problem. I realize that after a year has passed there will hopefully be much more content and features, but it still bothers me that more wasn’t available at launch for the price they are asking for.

So where are the features then? Well, I say the features are well on there way. Since the money is now starting to roll in from those users that are subscribed to PS+, there’s also PlayStation Blog Share. This was launched a few months prior PS+ was announced. This was officially set up by Sony to get an easy view of what the bulk of their PSN users really want and I believe that in the next few years Sony will really look at this and take many of the ideas in action, especially since they now have the money to fuel what people want PSN to be.

Most of these ideas, especially the top ones on PlayStation Blog Share, will probably be added and exclusive to PS+, this is when the service will be more attractive and worth more to everyone. Then PS+ will be something that connected PSN gamers will die for, especially if they make something like cross game chat and voice messages exclusively part of the PS+ experience.

I think that many of the constant requested features are coming to this service, but Sony will have to do this right, they can’t just throw in features or make things half exclusive, Sony will have to go the extra mile, and they will have to charge headfirst at Microsoft’s Xbox Live with PSN+. There will a need for pure innovation, great thinking and great features, as well as things that people are asking for and things people haven’t even come up with.

It is my hope that Sony will be able to deliver on those countless community requests soon. It may not be a complete package at the moment but when it does start to possess those things PSN users have been waiting for it will be well worth the money. That being said, I can’t fully recommend purchasing the subscription service mainly because I’m not a heavy shopper in the store and the lack of some of the key software features that were already available at launch on Xbox Live. I am advising everyone who’s on the fence to wait a year and give Sony the time to really beef up the service to better meet the community demands.

So what do you think? Let me know by leaving a comment.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Multiplayer Teaser

The newest Multiplayer Teaser Trailer for the upcoming Call of Duty: Black Ops can be seen above, and it shows some freaking awesome new gadgets that you’ll be able to use along with some really cool new hand to hand combat moves. The end of the trailer promises a full multiplayer reveal on September 1st.