Sourced from Connect magazine
Since the PlayStation 3 launched in 2006, gamers have had access to the PlayStation Network (PSN) service, allowing them to play games online with their friends. The service had all the essentials, including messaging and friend lists, and was completely free to use – unlike the Xbox Live system, which required a Gold subscription (around R400 a year) to play online. Xbox Live Silver accounts could only access certain online features. In 2010, Sony unveiled PlayStation Plus, and many feared that it would adopt the Xbox model: pay to play, or stick with free and have limited functionality. Fortunately, this proved not to be the case. Gamers would still be able to pay as before, but getting a Plus subscription, for about the same money as an Xbox Live Gold subscription, meant they gained features – and a few other extras. Plus subscribers have access to full game trials, where they can download a complete game on the PSN marketplace and play it for an hour, without needing to purchase it. Think of them as demo versions, but better. There’s also an automatic update feature. Usually, you’d only have your game updates downloaded when you insert the disk, but Plus subscribers will have this happen automatically, in the background. When you next play a game, it will already have been updated. Another online feature is cloud storage for your saved games. All your game data is stored online and becomes available to you regardless of where you are. For instance, visiting a friend’s house and signing in with your PlayStation Network ID will make your game data available to you from their console.
Arguably the biggest, err, plus, is the free content. Every month, Sony offers Plus subscribers free games that they can download from the PSN market. The free content is rotated, and there are at least 45 free games made
available throughout the year. If you miss out on a free game, you can always purchase it for less than retail – PSN Plus subscribers are privy to a discount for certain premium content. And if your bandwidth allows, you can even watch free high-definition films available online, as long as they’re available in your region.