Sony’s PlayStation Network provides PS3 and PSP gamers a social gaming network for free, but avid gamers gain extra benefits by subscribing to Sony’s new PlayStation Plus.
For a nominal fee of $49.99/year, (at the time of this writing, new subscribers get three extra bonus months) gamers get access to free PS3 and PSP games, discounted prices on PSN games, perpetually-free downloadable content, and other perks.
Free PS3 and PSP Games from PlayStation Plus
By far, the most attractive perk of PlayStation Plus is access to free downloadable games. The excellent futuristic PS3 racer, Wipeout HD, was available for free at launch, and the free titles change on a regular basis-currently bi-weekly. The free PSP games appear to be limited to Sony’s Minis and PSone classics.
The free games are only playable as long as the PlayStation Plus subscription is kept current, which is a nice mechanism for subscriber retention. Gamers with large libraries of free games will be less likely to let their subscription lapse.
The free add-ons and DLC are usable even if the PlayStation Plus subscription expires, provided the gamer purchased the original game. The amount of free DLC tends to outnumber the free games, but that’s understandable given that content is always usable.
The current issue of Sony’s Qore magazine is also included among the free downloadable content as well as PSN avatars, PS3 themes, and the occasional PSone classic. The avatars and themes remain usable even if the subscription expires.
Sony Offers Free PS3 Game Trials, Game Discounts
Some of the other features of PlayStation Plus include exclusive free game trials with 60 minutes of full gameplay, PSN game discounts of up to 50 percent, and exclusive avatars, themes, and other items.
Currently, the content seems to be weighted towards PS3 owners, as the PSP deals are limited to a few free Minis and other discounts. Hopefully that changes in the future. PSP owners are able to manage their PlayStation Plus content using Sony’s Media Go application.
PlayStation Plus is worth checking out for PS3 owners who are active on the PlayStation Network. While some gamers complain about the quality of the free games available on PS+, for others it gives an opportunity to try out new games, or get DLC for titles in their existing library.