Subscription service to raise by $12 tri-monthly
By Lauren Kelly, Editor-in-chief
The incoming price hike on yearly PlayStation Plus subscriptions from $50–70 and on three-month subscriptions from $18–30 goes into effect on September 22, so look into buying more months now to avoid being hit hard. With the recent announcement of a large price hike in Sony’s now-necessary subscription service, it’s worth looking at the evolution of PlayStation Plus when compared to Microsoft Gold, it’s direct competitor.
Although Nintendo’s Wii outsold its generation-mates, the 2000s have been marked by the competition between Sony’s PlayStation and Microsoft’s Xbox, which share much more in common with each other than with any Nintendo console. The seventh generation saw the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 go head-to-head, each trying to gain ground and beat the other in sales. In Japan, the PS3 completely eclipsed the 360, with 10.4 million sales to the 360’s 1.6 million. In North America, the story is the opposite, with the 360 eclipsing the PS3’s sales by nearly 10 million. The eight generation has switched in North America, with the Xbox One suffering from low sales.
PlayStation Plus, the service in question, began service on June 29, 2010. It is a subscription-based service that provides users with cloud storage for save files and multiple games every month, dubbed the “Instant Game Collection.” As long as a user is subscribed, they have access to all PlayStation Plus games that they downloaded. The first offering was Wipeout HD for PS3, as well as a Mini and a PS1 Classic.
Before the PS4, PlayStation Network, the online service, was free to use. As long as you had an internet connection, you could play online with anyone at no extra cost. The Xbox 360’s online was better, but it was subscription-based with the Gold membership, which cost about $60 a year. This should have put the 360 at a disadvantage; why would someone pay to play online when they could do it for free on an equivalent console? To even the playing field, Microsoft added Games with Gold in 2013, which provided Gold members with two free games each month. Unlike PlayStation Plus, Gold members were allowed to keep their games even when they ended their subscription. In this way, Microsoft kept up with Sony, and customers benefited from this rivalry.
With the release of the PS4, PlayStation Plus is now required for online play. Many have said that they’ve noticed a decline in game quality in the monthly offerings. Where before releases contained more games by big-name developers, now many Plus games are by indie developers, or are very old. While the recent release of NBA 2K16 may show otherwise, the majority of the monthly games do not hold much value.
With the upcoming large price-hike, it seems like Sony has become more complacent as leader of the pack. Now that the games aren’t the draw, just a bonus, Sony will have to come up with some new way to keep users happy. After all, if just being able to play online will cost so much more, the service may begin to drop users if no extra features are added. The Instant Game Collection should be a legitimate way to build a game library, not a side-bonus for paying an exorbitant amount of money just to play the games you’ve already bought, on the console you already paid for.