What is PlayStation Plus?

What is PlayStation Plus
What is PlayStation Plus?
What is PlayStation Plus
What is PlayStation Plus exactly?

Since its launch on 29 June 2010, PlayStation Plus has provided its members with over 350 games to date. To add to the facts, the 29th of June 2015 marked the 5th anniversary of the PlayStation Plus service.

According to Sony PlayStation, the service has also provided members with unforgettable PlayStation 4 online multiplayer experiences, with more than 270 million hours being spent playing FIFA 15 online – the same as playing 181.2 million 90-minute football matches.

Over the past few months, IT News Africa has covered the PlayStation Plus Free Game Lineup; however, we have received feedback and questions regarding what the PlayStation Plus Service is all about. In order to clear things up, we have come up with a guide, below, which will explain how the service works and what the benefits are.

If you have a PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, or PlayStation Vita and are indeed interested in learning more about PlayStation Plus, then read on.

What is PlayStation Plus?
The PlayStation Plus Service is a subscription service that allows consumers who own a PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, or PlayStation Vita to access services that are not readily available to those who don’t utilise the service. By activating a PlayStation Plus Membership, you will gain access to the following services and benefits:

Online multiplayer on the PlayStation 4 console
Access to the PlayStation Plus Free Game Lineup each month
Discounted games
1GB of Cloud Storage in order to save your saved game files
Early access to demos and access to exclusive betas
Share Play

PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita multiplayer facts:
Without a PlayStation Plus Membership, the services mentioned above will not be available to you. However, you will still be able to access Online Multiplayer functions on the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita without having an active PlayStation Plus Membership. Unfortunately, you still won’t be able to gain access to exclusive discounts as well as the PlayStation Plus Free Game Lineup each month.

PlayStation 4 multiplayer facts:
For PlayStation 4 owners, you will need a PlayStation Plus account to play online. Apart from the PlayStation Plus Free Game Lineup, online multiplayer is one of the main reason most people subscribe to PlayStation Plus. Without it, you will essentially only be able to play the single-player or the campaign option of titles such as Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. Online only titles such as The Crew will not be playable. Additionally, titles such as Destiny and The Last of Us will have there multiplayer options locked, unless a PlayStation Plus Membership is activated.

The PlayStation 4 has a range of social features. Among these features is Share Play. Whilst connected to an Internet Connection you can use Share Play to play with a friend as if you were in the same room. It allows you to invite a visitor, who has a PlayStation 4 and is connected to the Internet, to view your screen for up to 60 minutes a session.

If you are stuck in a game or want the visitor to try a game, Share Play allows you to “hand over your controller” to a visitor so they can play instead. You can also invite your visitor to play a local multiplayer session over the internet even if the game does not support online multiplayer. The visitor does not need to own the game to use Share Play. In order to access Share Play, both participants will need a PlayStation Plus Membership.

While a PlayStation Plus Membership is not mandatory, especially if you don’t want to play online, it does still offer an array of free games and services that are essentially beneficially to the owner, much like the Share Play service.

Benefits of Cloud Storage:
Backing up your saved game data is essentially. While most PlayStation consoles remain operational for a number of years, they are still prone to damage caused by power spikes or lightning strikes. In the event of a lightning strike, there is a likely chance that your PlayStation console may suffer damage. However, all is not lost. If you are indeed a PlayStation Plus Member, you can upload your saved files to Sony’s Cloud Storage facility. This will allow you to download your saved games on a replacement console, which means that you won’t lose any progress on games that your are already playing.

What does the service cost?
As PlayStation Plus is essentially a subscription service, there are fees involved. According to PlayStation, the service is charged at R99 ($9.99 USD) for a 1-month subscription or R219 ($17.99 USD) for a 3-month subscription; however, there is an option to purchase a 12-month subscription for R749 ($49.99 USD). To some this may comes across as costly; however, the service gives subscribers a host of free games each month. For June 2015, the PlayStation Plus Free Game Lineup offered up the likes of Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes on the PlayStation 4 as well as Call of Juarez: Gunslinger on the PlayStation 3 – among others.

Does the service run on multiple PlayStation consoles?
Yes it does. For example, if you own a PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation Vita your subscription will be activated, on your profile, across all of your console’s. You will not need to purchase a subscription for each console individually.

As a PlayStation Plus Member you gain access to discounted digital titles. When running through the South African PlayStation Store, we found 24 games that were discounted for PlayStation Plus Members. These titles included Battlefield Hardline, Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin, Resident Evil Revelations 2, and Bladestorm: Nightmare. Each game has received a discount of up to 50 percent off. At times Sony offers 75 percent off selected titles, which ultimately makes the services something that everyone should own.

Is a PlayStation Plus Membership really worth it?
A PlayStation Plus Membership is definitely worth it, whether you own a PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, or PlayStation Vita. Not many subscription services offer good value for money; however, it seems as though PlayStation has gone out of its way to not only offer free games each month, but also Cloud Storage, online multiplayer, and discounted games. To add to the mix you also gain early access to game demos and betas, which is most definitely a plus.

As Sony is celebrating the 5th anniversary of the PlayStation Plus service, the PlayStation Blog revealed that: “To celebrate those of you that have been with us from the very beginning, a limited edition gift will be provided to those of you that have been part of the journey since the very start. Think you may be one of them? Then keep a close eye on your emails as we’ll be getting in touch today.”

Darryl Linington