What Is PlayStation Plus, and Why Should You Care?

Source: Sony

Old folks will always have a fondness for the old days, and it’s undeniable that video gaming used to be simpler than it is now. Back then all you needed was a console and a game, and you were good to go. Then the Internet came around, and the whole thing got a lot more complicated.

Part of that complexity is the subscription services offered by Microsoft and Sony. We’ll cover Microsoft’s Xbox Live Gold service in another article, but if you have a PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, or PS Vita and are curious about PlayStation Plus, read on.

What is PlayStation Plus?

PlayStation Plus is a subscription service that allows you access to certain features for your PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and PS Vita. The most important features are these:

  • Online multiplayer on PS4
  • Free games each month
  • Game discounts
  • Online game save storage

And here’s a handy chart showing which PlayStation platforms receive which benefits:

Source: Sony

How much does a PlayStation Plus subscription cost?

If you subscribe digitally through your PlayStation device, the pricing structure breaks down like this: $9.99 for one month, $17.99 for three months, or $49.99 for a year.

What is online multiplayer?

Online multiplayer is the main reason most people subscribe to PlayStation Plus. Anytime a game lets you play with other people who aren’t sitting in the room with you, that’s online multiplayer.

Online multiplayer is a key feature in many of the biggest games these days, including The Crew, Destiny, Call of Duty, The Last of Us, and many more. If you don’t want to play online, there’s nothing wrong with that, of course. But if you want to fully experience many modern games, you’ll have to go online to do so.

You should also note that online multiplayer is always free on PS3 and PS Vita. A PlayStation Plus membership is only required to play online on the PS4.

Source: Thinkstock

What’s this about free games?

Aside from online multiplayer, the most obvious reason to subscribe to PlayStation Plus is to get free games. The selection of games available differs from month to month, but they always offer at least one game for all three systems — and usually more than one. The free titles are sometimes older games, but they’re often very good games that you might have overlooked.

In 2014, for instance, Sony offered 72 free games to PlayStation Plus subscribers in the U.S. These games included Batman: Arkham Asylum, Dragon’s Crown, Dead Space 3, and Metro: Last Light.

The one caveat here is that you lose access to your free game collection if you let your PlayStation Plus subscription lapse. But keep it up, and you can play these games indefinitely.

How do the game discounts work?

Each week, Sony selects a handful of games to offer at a discounted rate to PlayStation Plus subscribers. Sometimes the deals are very good, offering subscribers up to 75% off the regular price.

The only catch here is that you have to buy these games digitally, which isn’t ideal for people who prefer having their games on disks. You can check out which games are on sale for PlayStation Plus members anytime right here.

Is a PlayStation Plus subscription worth it?

As with any purchase, it depends on your needs. If you like playing PS4 games online, it’s definitely worth it, because that’s the only way you’ll be able to play online.

Even if you don’t play online, however, it’s still probably worth doing just for the free games. In 2014, Push Square reports, Sony gave PlayStation Plus members $1,300 worth of free games. If you paid $50, the standard retail price for a year’s subscription, that’s quite a bargain.

Granted, you probably don’t have all of Sony’s systems, and you won’t care to play all of the games you get for free. But between the free and discounted games, chances are you’ll play enough to make it a worthwhile investment, no matter what hardware you have.

Follow Chris on Twitter @_chrislreed

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