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When I bought this Product
I have been using PlayStation Plus since I had a free trial in December 2012 and I have been a paid subscriber since then having found I save a lot of money with the free games I can download each month.
Subscriptions are available in either 3 months (around £10 - £13) or 12 months (around £30 - £37), I usually buy the PSN money required from a local gaming store such as GAME or over the internet via Amazon or even through the Playstation Store, I mainly buy them through the GAME website though as the code is available to view almost straight away (a few months ago it would have taken a few hours, it now appears to be instant).
I first bought a PlayStation plus subscription from Amazon which I received through the post. The code came inside a PS3 style game case and contains the piece of card with the silver panel that needs to be scratched off to reveal the code.
Once the code has been revealed I then navigated to the PlayStation Network tab of the consoles XMB, I then clicked on the Account Management button and then finally clicked on the redeem code button where I could enter the 12 digit code I received.
Instant Game Collection
With PlayStation Plus you get an Instant Game Collection that allows you to choose from 10 free games to download per month, or 45 per year, the games available to choose from changes once a month to keep it fresh, as an example I have listed the content that is available to download this month, although Sine Mora isn't available to download until tomorrow (8th May) and Velocity Ultra HD isn't available to download until the 15th May.
Hitman Absolution, Catherine, Malicious, Sine Mora and Velocity Ultra HD are the current offerings available, there is also Zero Escape: Virtue's Last reward but this is only available until tomorrow (8th May), Thomas Was Alone is also still available but only until the 22nd May.
As a subscriber to PlayStation Plus this enables a feature known as Automatic Updates, this enables you to set a time (within a two hour period, I normally set it for 2-4 am as it doesn't usually wake me up) for the PS3 to switch itself on and check for updates, while it does this it also finishes any downloads you may have started (not downloads that are currently paused), it will also upload your saves to the cloud storage facility and synchronize any trophy information with the server.
It will also download updates for any games you have previously played, if you have recently acquired new games you can also insert the disk / launch the game and just cancel any updates it wants to install, the PS3 will then automatically update these games while auto updating which saves you time when you come to play them at a later time / date.
Included with a PlayStation Plus subscription is access to the Cloud Storage facility that allows you to backup your save files to the Cloud which could be a very useful if you're still using one of the original "phat" PS3s as they are known, as a plus point if you have automatic updates switched on the saves will be uploaded automatically so would give you one less thing to worry about if your console died.
Having a PS+ subscription also gives you additional discounts that aren't given to regular PSN members, for example Batman Arkham Asylum had a regular price of £15.99, it was discount to £7.99 and PS+ member received an extra 10% discount saving an extra 79p (£7.20).
There are certain games that will also allow you to download and try out the full game for up to one hour, this isn't great because it allows you to get more out of it than you would by playing a demo and not all games have demos available.
*Only 3 month and 12 month subscriptions available
*Games can be as large as 20GB
*PS3 can be noisy while doing Auto Updates
I have been a paid subscriber since January 2013 and have highly enjoyed my time as a PlayStation Plus subscriber. I have loads of games downloaded for free that are waiting for me to play when I get the chance and would highly recommend this to anyone as it can be an excellent way of saving money, I will be giving this a 5 star rating as I have highly enjoyed my experience.
I have to confess that whilst I was aware that Playstation Plus existing, I didn't really know exactly what it was until a fellow Dooyoo-er tipped me off recently. As soon as I looked at it in a bit more depth, I realised it was just the thing for me!
Playstation Plus is a subscription-based service for the PS3 and the Playstation Vita. In return for a payment of around £40 a year (or £12 for a three month subscription), it gives you access to a number of games which you can download for free, as well as a host of other things.
When I first heard about it, I have to confess that I thought it would be a dumping ground for the rubbish stuff that no-one really wants. In fact, that's not the case, and some really top quality titles have been made available to Playstation Plus subscribers.
The number of titles available at any one time varies, but generally speaking there are at least half a dozen games available to download. These are a mix of full priced commercial releases, as well as some titles from the standard PSN download service that would normally incur a cost, but which are free to subscribers.
With this in mind, it doesn't take long before you start to realise what great value for money Playstation Plus is. This month alone, for example, I've downloaded the excellent Limbo, the perfectly reasonable F1 All Stars, Little Big Planet 2 and Square Enix's Sleeping Dog... All for free. Limbo aside (which has only ever been available as a download), all of these are games which have seen commercial releases and in many cases are still retailing at around £20-30 in the shops. Even at a conservative estimate, I've already downloaded around £60 worth of games, so my £40 annual subscription has paid for itself.
Nor is it the case that only a limited number of titles are available. Whilst there might only be around half a dozen titles available at any one time, the list changes regularly, with new titles being added (and existing ones removed) on a monthly basis. It's definitely worth checking back on a regular basis to see what's been added since the last time you visited! It would be nice if there was some way of being alerted automatically when a new selection is added, but it's not too much of a hardship to log into the Playstation Store every so often to check for new content.
Even if there is the odd duffer, you don't mind too much. After all, you've not paid for it; and surely it's better to download a game for free and find you don't like it than to shell out £30 for something you're never going to play.
Membership of Playstation Plus brings other benefits, too. Exclusive demos of games are available as well as a whole host of online badges, icons and avatars that are not available to non-subscribers. You get an allocation of free online storage space for your save game files, too - a real benefit if your PS3 is getting a bit full. And finally, you can enable automatic updates for the PS3 system software so that this is downloaded and installed automatically. Personally, this last bit is not so much of a benefit for me. I don't like things being sneakily installed behind my back, so even though I now have the option to do this, I've got it turned off.
Of course, not everything is a bed of roses, and there are a few things you need to be aware of before you race off to sign up.
Perhaps the biggest consideration is the size of the game files you will need to download. Since they are all full games of the sort that would normally come packed onto a Blu-ray disk, they are massive - 7GB or more of data is not uncommon. This has two potential implications: time and bandwidth. Depending on the speed of your bandwidth, it's not uncommon for a game to take 4+ hours to download and install. Whilst you can download most titles in the background, it's still going to be slowing your overall internet speed down and possibly stopping you from doing other stuff online. To get around this, I tend to set downloads going just before I go to bed and then leave them to download and install overnight.
There's an even more important consideration. Unless you are on a genuinely unlimited broadband package, then you're going to have to watch how much you download or risk extra charges from your ISP. Many of the cheaper broadband packages, for example, limit your monthly download allowance to 1GB and if you go over that, you have to pay extra (or in extreme cases have your internet cut off). Other services claim to be unlimited, but actually restrict you to 100GB of data per month. Even though that's not too bad, if you download 6 games a month at 10GB a time, you've already used over half your allocation before you've even done any of your normal online activities, like watching catch-up TV or looking at hilarious videos of cats wearing clothes on YouTube. If you are on one of these limited packages, Playstation Plus may not be a viable option for you, unless you upgrade your internet.
A further frustration I have found is that if a download is interrupted partway through, it aborts the whole process and you have to start again from scratch (where a PC download generally carries on from the point at it was disrupted.) I found this out to my cost when, three and a half hours into a download, my internet connection dropped for a few minutes and I lost everything I'd done up to that point. Very frustrating; and definitely something to bear in mind if your internet connection can be patchy.
A final thing to be aware of is the fact that you are effectively "renting". You can keep them on your PS3/Vita and play them as much as you like... as long as you are a Playstation Plus subscriber. The minute your subscription lapses, all access to any titles downloaded via the scheme vanishes; it's not quite the same as having the physical product which you can install and uninstall as you wish.
Having finally subscribed, I have to say I feel a bit of a berk for not having investigated Playstation Plus before. It's a fantastic way to build up a collection of decent games without having to shell out loads of cash. Whilst there are still some titles that I would prefer to buy in physical format, there are plenty of games which I'm more than happy to download from Playstation Plus. £40 a year really is an absolute steal, providing your internet can cope with the strain of the big downloads.
(c) Copyright SWSt 2013
Anyone have a games console in their house? I'd guess most people have? I've had a Wii, Xbox 360 and now I'm onto a PS3 - apparently I'm never satisfied with my consoles. It seems as though console makers think the same thing, so they bring us treats for our games consoles, in your Xbox 360 you pay for Xbox Live Gold either £5.99 a month or £40 a year. I got bored of that, so when I got my PlayStation I figured it would be a bright idea to get PS+ for all the bonus' you get, and well I wasn't disappointed!
~*~ Playstation ~*~
Most houses have a games console of some sorts, whether it be an Xbox360, Wii, Playstation or maybe something hand held - or even something a lot older and retro. Playstation consoles have been around for a while now, introduced to the world back in 1994 - and since the original Playstations launch before they stopped producing it Sony Computer Entertainment company shipped 100 million units, which is quite a large amount of games consoles by anyone's standards. Recently they have stopped producing the PS2, and the PS3 has been in production for a number of years now, and they have just launched - a new red and blue coloured console, which is in a slightly new style as well. Some of you out there might be more of a fan of the handheld Playstations, such as the PSP and Vita, but they are all part of one big expanding brand of consoles that has been around for a long time.
~*~ What is PS+? ~*~
Playstation plus is a subscription based service that works alongside the current free playstation network. PS+ is a service that will give you automated way to download patches and updates for games without being on the playstation in the first place. It gives users access to Beta tests of games, and exclusives that non + members will not receive. Even better than that, is that PS+ has it's instant game collection which means that you can download yourself full games for entirely free and they are downloaded straight to your hard drive rather than having a disk running in your console. You can also get themes, avatars, and lots of added extras for games that would normally cost, but on PS+ they are free to download as and when you feel like it!
~*~ What kind of games are available? ~*~
Well it depends entirely on what Playstation have chosen to add to the instant game collection section in the Playstation Store. For example this month they have Sleeping Dogs for free, and F1 racestars. these are the full games for entirely free and downloaded to the hard drive of your playstation. There are also games available to be downloaded, to the memory or memory card in your PS Vita, I'm not so sure about the games that are available for Vita, but since this category is based around the PS3 I'm going to concentrate on those especially since that's what I've had a lot of experience with. PS seem to be putting in a selection of games during the month that are varying in genre, they seem to have something that has been big in stores every month, this month it's Sleeping Dogs, I've recently downloaded Infamous 2 in the range for nothing, and Little Big Planet 2. They have a variety of games in the monthly packages so everyone can get a game they like for free. It's worth going through some of the arcade games as well, because they have games like Pinball, that should be worth £7.99 for free. Just looking through the PS+ instant games collection today and there is a good £200 worth of games for your £40. The joy is that they change on a monthly basis so you aren't getting the same thing every month until they decide to change it.
It's not just games available though, through PS+ you can get exclusive items, such as Avatars, and dynamic themes, there isn't any say with how much they would cost initially either, but that's the point of them being exclusive I guess. I just wish the Exclusives were a little bit more worth the money, because at the minute they are a little bit naff and I can't say that I've downloaded any of them. Which is a shame, but lets roll on next month and see what new exclusives arrive on the page! PS+ also provides us with discounts on games and the added extras that go with the games, for example at the moment there are lots of added extras that go with Sleeping Dogs, that in theory would cost you a few pounds - that at the minute are costing less than a pound. It's all small items and small savings in the discounts, even on the big games - to be honest it only knocks £5 off the full price of the games, and the games before hand are closer to £50 - some of these games are better to buy in Game or Amazon used.
~*~ How do I get it? ~*~
To get this going on your playstation, you need to purchase PS+, depends if you want to buy the card from somewhere like amazon or a Game store. Or if you want to buy it through your Playstation - that is always possible through the Playstation Store, as there is an option that allows you to select Playstation Plus, and give you the option to pay for it through your Playstation account, which will only work providing you have a card linked to your account. Otherwise, you need to get it in a pack that is essentially the same as a case that would hold a normal Playstation game - it contains a card that you need to scratch off and go onto your Playstation and into your store, and select the redeem codes icon from the top of your store page - enter in your scratched off code from the piece of paper inside your packet and then follow the on screen instructions to activate. Once that is done, make yourself comfortable and start downloading all the games you fancy. You can have two different options for this, either a 90 day subscription or a 365 day subscription - the 90 option is £11.99 at the moment and the 365 varies in price from £29.99 upwards, it is meant to be £39.99 for the year but when I bought mine it was on offer in January for only £29.99 for the year.
~*~ Value for money or a Waste of time? ~*~
For me personally this is a great idea that I'm surprised Playstation didn't think of a long time ago, when the competition was out there and Xbox were leading the market with it's better service through Live I really did think they would have brought something similar out. Now they've got something much better, especially now the Playstation Network is much better quality, and don't let the problems the network has had with security put you off. Especially as now you can get a whole game collection on your console for less than the price of one game, that and you can personalise your console all included in the price. It is one of those items that all though it's the same price as Live, you don't seem to get as much with Live as you do with this, it's a great way to add to your game collection, save you running the games on your console - so that's less noise, especially in my house which gets me brownie points. Okay, so the games are a little on the large side - but for me with a 250Gb hard drive I don't feel like I'm going to run out of space any time soon!
So if you've got a Playstation or PS Vita, get yourself some PS+ and make your game collection much larger than it is, and earn yourself some almost free trophies for playing your almost free games. Especially if you can get it for £29.99 it's more than worth it for at least 2 games a month that are normally £40 each! You might not have the physical copy of the games - but you've still got the games. I wouldn't be without it now, means I've got the same games as my other half without buying them so we can play together!
Just for your information they don't offer a monthly option - but to be honest for £11.99 for 3 months, it's hardly expensive in comparison to Xbox Live Gold for £5.99 a month!
~*~ Price and Availability ~*~
£11.99 for 90 days...
£29.99/39.99 for 365 days depending on offers and time of the year!