Formerly rumored to be 'PSN Plus', Playstation Plus subscriptions became available on the Playstation Store on June 29, alongside firmware update 3.4.
PS+ is available in North America at $17.99 USD for a three-month subscription and a one-year subscription is priced at $49.99 USD and offers three additional months with purchase. In Europe they are offering a free hard copy of Little Big Planet with a one year subscription.
Fanboys we may be, but we will not deny a rudimentary truth about our beloved free PSN service- you get what you pay for. We can never rise up and demand more of our service because we aren't paying anything to use it. It is functional, yes, but it is true that a dedicated revenue stream for PSN development should only make it better.
Introduced at the 2010 E3, Sony revealed a plan for a subscription service for premium content. All the PSN features that are free right now will STAY free, mind you- this subscription will offer early access to demos and betas, and free downloads of PSN Store content.
Every month Playstation Plus will be offering free games that you can download and play. These games will remain on your system and playable as long as you maintain your PS + subscription and you don't delete them. Even if you delete a game and you later decide you want to play it again, provided you still have your subscription, all you have to do is redownload the game to play it.
Another good feature of this service is that if you let your subscription lapse and, you later pick it up again, you will be able to play any of the games that you had originally downloaded, or if needed you can download those games again and play them.
According to Sony, each month, you should be getting 1 full downloadable game, 1-2 mini's and 1-2 PS One classic's.
New avatars, themes and game add-ons every month that you can keep even if you let your subscription expire. These will include some dynamic themes and premium content that is only available to PS+ subscribers.
Monthly individual episodes of Qore, potentially justifies one-half of the PS+ subscription, as a subscription runs $25 USD anually. Qore generally comes with free downloads and beta invites, so PS+ will probably, largely absorb and replace Qore.
Some generally invitation-only offers like multiplayer betas will be guaranteed to PS+ subscribers.
Sony teased us outright at E3 with promises of access to an InFamous 2 demo before the end of summer, and has implied that other demos and DLC add-ons will come to PS+ first.
This aspect has great potential, though its initial offerings so far are a bit simple. Essentially, different batches of downloadable titles and add-ons, currently arranged by developer, are offered at discounted prices to PS+ subscribers.
This is a unique concept, but also with great potential. The Playstation Plus automatic download service asks you to set a weekly interval (likely early morning or mid-day, whenever you are unlikely to be using the console) during which it activates itself and connects to PSN. During this weekly session, it checks for system updates or title updates for games you regularly play. It also seeks out video and demo content for titles it presumes you would be interested in. How it determines this information isn't yet fully explained, but we intend to test it ourselves and note the results.
Just like the free to use Playstation Store, PS + will update every week on Tuesday. These updates will include further free items and discounts to all subscribers, adding additional value to PS Plus over and above the monthly updates.