Sony’s PlayStation Plus is undeniably, unquestionably fantastic value for gamers. For the paltry sum of $50 a year (or less, if you shop smart), you can supercharge your PlayStation devices by getting a wealth of relatively new games for free.
Recent additions to the service, such as the excellent Sleeping Dogs and Square-Enix stable mate Hitman Absolution are just months old – and now they’re available to gamers for the cost of nothing. Ron Gilbert’s adventure game The Cave was released at the end of January this year – and that’s already fee on the service’s “Instant Game Collection”
If you own a PlayStation Vita, things get even better. Four out of the five games I consider essential on the platform; Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Gravity Rush, Wipeout 2048 and Lumines Electronic Symphony are available for download (for the record, the other one is LittleBigPlanet Vita) – negating the need for anybody to actually buy those games at retail price.
And that’s the problem. I’ve been noticing a great number of comments from people along the lines of “Why should I buy games, when I could just wait for them to hit PlayStation Plus?” and equally, a number of people lamenting the fact that they had bought said games, only for them to be offered for free just months later.
Gamers, traditionally, are the sort who have to play things on day one – but in the current economic climate, more and more gamers are willing to wait. And with PlayStation Plus, if they wait long enough they don’t have to pay a thing.
In an industry that’s driven by release window sales (take a look at Tomb Raider being considered unsuccessful because it only managed 3.4 million units in sales in its launch month), it could be reasonably argued that PS+ is doing real harm to the industry. It’s fantastic for consumers, make no mistake, but possibly damaging for video games as a business.
What do you think? Is PS+ doing more harm to the industry than good?