Thursday, June 17, 2010

Playstation Plus

Sneaking in at E3 this week was the announcement of a new subscription service for the currently free Playstation Network. The official announcement is here but much more information can be found here.

What's getting some people excited is the news that this relies on system version 3.40 when we're currently at 3.30 and that this might finally mean the Playstation 3 gets cross-game chat as the XBox360 already has. At the moment you can only talk to anyone on your friends list if you're in the same 'space' as them, which is annoying. Imagine you want to fire up Borderlands, but your friend is running a single-player game of Call of Duty; as it stands you can't talk to them. With 3.40 this may no longer be the case.

But what about the features of PSN+ itself, what do you get for the £39.99 a year?

First up you get access to some free games. except said free games are one PSN games, four "minis" and one PSOne "classic" and you're presented with their choice each month. Don't like any of them or perhaps even have them already and tough. Oh and they'll only work while you're a member so they aren't free; you are, in effect, renting them.

Next free premium avatars and dynamic themes. So that's things to prettify your PS3 with, yeah sorry not interested.

It also provides discounts on PSN content. It seems that PSN+ subscribers will see different prices on the store, so it's not a case of '£1 off your purchase' it's 'This is £4.99 instead of £5.99'. Great if the discounts apply to content for games you own.

One interesting feature appears to be full game demo downloads. Rather than the level the designers pick to showcase off the game in a demo, subscribers will be able to download the entire game and then play it however they want to for an hour. As a bonus it keeps you save file and trophy progress which will 'unlock' if you buy the full game. The snag is one similar to the one with the 'free' games, that is they offer you a choice of 2 different titles each month. Don't like either - tough.

And finally something that should have existed in some form or another since version 3 of the software - automatic updating. Yep rather than have to start a game and then curse as it states it needs an update to work online you can now have the PS3 wake-up when you want it to check all the games you've installed and patch them automatically. This sounds great trouble is it seems connected to having an automatic system update too. As that seems to have fouled up many a PS3 that's been cut-off mid-download due to the strain put on the system I can imagine the outcry when subscribers awake to discover their PS3 in a state of 'brickness' due to these flaws.

Oh and in the US if you sign up for a whole year you get 3 months free, here in the EU if you sign up for a year you get a free downloadable copy of Little Big Planet, yay... wait I already own LBP.

So nothing here interests me unless they can iron out the potential flaws.