The PlayStation Plus service was first released back in 2006, a premium subscription service for the PlayStation Network that gave subscribers access to exclusive content, discounts and access to as yet unreleased titles. Ten years on, how well does PlayStation Plus complement the PlayStation VR? Is it worth subscribing if you are a PlayStation VR user?
For most people, the biggest draw for PlayStation Plus is the monthly bounty of free videogames. Most of the titles that come available to subscribers are titles that have been out for a while, so dedicated collectors might not find too much of interest. However, it can tempt players to try titles they might not otherwise look at, since hey, its free, you have nothing to lose. Of course, if you drop your subscription, you lose access to those titles unless you re-subscribe.
In Septembers list of free titles for subscribers is PlayStation VR title RIGS Mechanised Combat. So PlayStation VR users can be assured of one full videogame to play if they have a PlayStation Plus subscription.
The other attraction of PlayStation Plus is access to online multiplayer. For PlayStation 4 users, and active PlayStation Plus subscription is needed to play online against other people, similar to how the Xbox Live Gold subscription works. PlayStation VR titles with multiplayer features such CCP Games Sparc really do need a PlayStation Plus subscription to get the most out of them.
A slightly lesser-know feature of PlayStation Plus is access to cloud storage for save games. For those who are concerned about a console breaking down, or who want to transfer to a new console, such as for those who want to upgrade to the PlayStation 4 Pro, saves can be uploaded to the cloud and safely downloaded onto another console – or the same console, if some circumstances require a system wipe and restore. This feature is located in the Settings menu, where it can be noted that the ‘Saved Data in Online Storage’ and ‘Auto-Upload’ have the PlayStation Plus yellow plus symbol next to them. Of course, you can buy a spare hard drive and do this yourself, but it can be an inconvenience for many people.
Discounts are also regularly available to PlayStation Plus users that are not open to other users. Even in the case of the regular sales, PlayStation Plus members often get access to larger discounts that their non-subscribing peers.
It also needs to be noted that PlayStation users in Europe have just seen the price for PlayStation Plus subscription increase by 25%, a price hike that sees a quarterly subscription go from £14.99 (GBP) to £19.99. Many users have been distressed by this increase, especially since no other region has been hit by an increase so far.
For PlayStation VR users, unless you do a lot of playing online it is difficult to see the direct benefit. Cloud storage is a nice feature, certainly, as it access to PlayStation Store discounts. Until the PlayStation VR has a larger install base, its difficult to imagine Sony catering directly to PlayStation VR users directly, particularly since VR titles are mostly relatively new, and PlayStation Plus free titles tend to be slightly older.
Only time will tell if the deal changes as VR moves further into the mainstream.