PlayStation Plus is one of the best deals in the history of gaming. For less than the price of one game a year, you get dozens and dozens of (pretty) new games, to be played as long as you continue to have a subscription. “$50 for games I already have?!” Yeah, some of ’em. But compare this to the Xbox 360’s $60/year just to play games online, with random weekly deals that – comparatively – are not even in the same league as those offered by Sony.
It’s funny… first they did Achievements better with their Trophy system, and now they one-up Microsoft in the paid subscription realm. Now if they could just keep their servers up more! Oh, and security. I guess. But PS+!
Is it too much of a good thing? The Vita is… lacking. Everywhere – hardware sold, the number of new game releases, sales of new game releases… even review scores. Did you know there is only ONE Vita game with a MetaCritic average over 90? Check it out. PlayStation Plus for those with a Vita, however? BAM. Uncharted. Wipeout. Retro City Rampage. Jet Set Radio. Plants Vs. Zombies. Gravity Rush. Ninja Gaiden. All free. And only for PS+ members.
So then you buy Persona 4, and what else is there? I guess Zero Escape. Maybe Escape Plan? Any other games with “Escape” in the title? And a bunch of other experiences you’ve already had on your PS3. Sony is trying to tantalize us into getting their (admittedly awesome) hardware by giving away the best software for free. I’ve bought ONE Vita game in the months since Christmas, and my $90 32 GB memory card (still way too expensive) is over half full of free stuff. (I say free, but it’s really because the $50/year gets so much on my PS3 that the Vita games are just extra gravy on my mashed potatoes.)
The problem: when all the good games are free, I don’t need or want to buy the bad games for money. I’m not supporting the Vita, I’m just subscribed to a free game service (which, incidentally, I received as a present) that gives me all the games I could ever need. Maybe if there were more options, things would be different. New games come out on the PS3 every week, even in this seventh year of the console’s life cycle, so giving one or two older ones away (sometimes not even that much older) for free is no big deal. But the Vita has less than… 90(?) games released in the U.S. And only 18 of those have review averages of 80 or above (the “Must Buy” cutoff for most). Not a lot of worthwhile options. And if you only like one or two genres? Good luck, buddy.
But who knows? I don’t have exact numbers on how many PS+ subscribers there are. I can’t imagine it makes more money than it costs Sony, however. No way. The deals are just too great and there’s too many of them. And what about the games’ developers? What’s their cut of the $4.17/month spread across 20 games? Here’s a hint. It’s 20 cents. And that’s if Sony keeps nothing for themselves.
So what’s the answer? Well, Sony can keep giving us awesome deals and letting us try games we wouldn’t otherwise normally try for next to nothing. Or they can stop. Or – what I hope and dream happens – they can keep up with the awesome PS+ offerings but also start cranking out a lot more new, full Vita games. So even though we’re getting the PS+ games, we’ll all still be paying full price for unique, interesting experiences that we can’t get anywhere else. Or at least, not on the go.
But Sony seems to have all but abandoned the Vita. They say the cupboard isn’t empty… but, come on, guys. Announce something. Anything. Give us even a glimmer of hope. And then give us more free games as long as we stay subscribed to your service, which, once the PS4 comes out at the end of this year, could morph into something completely unrecognizable and – possibly – useless.
But we’re here for now. Feed me more, and keep giving me a million reasons not to buy any Vita games. It doesn’t fare well, however, when you look at the release schedule: Dead or Alive 5+ this month, then Soul Sacrifice next month. That’s it. Meanwhile, Tekken 6 and Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention are free on Vita (okay okay, so technically Tekken is the PSP version). That’s pretty cool. Too bad they’re shooting themselves in the foot. Why pay $40 for DoA when Tekken is free?
… Why pay for ANY games when the good ones are free?