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Topic: PlayStation Plus | OT |

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Th3solution

@Octane @themcnoisy @Kidfried @kyleforrester87 @Fight_Teza_Fight @Ralizah
I couldn’t help but get interested in the discussion going on over in the Labo thread about PS plus and similar services and I wanted to jump in but not further derail from important cardboard talk, so I’ll post on the lonely thread @get2sammyb started that no one ever used.
So to sum up .... there was a lot of chatter about changing PS plus services, creating a tiered system of options with varying costs. Also debates about whether PS plus was worth it given some people only want it for online play, or maybe just for cloud storage, or some who want the games. And so if Sony offered just sections of the service, would it be better, would it be too confusing, etc, etc. (Sorry, if I misrepresented the discussion, but there was a lot covered there)
My take: I almost never play online, but want to have the option to just in case. The $60 price would seem steep for online that I very seldom utilize, but I feel like I get a good deal. I’ll explain.
The cloud saves are a nicety that is hard to put value on, which I think F_ T_ F can attest to after the friends bricking his PS4 incident. I also hear that people complain that the games that are free are just fluff you wouldn’t buy otherwise. I kind of agree, in that of the dozens and dozens of free games I’ve received over recent years, I don’t play the vast majority of them, HOWEVER.... I just counted by looking at my trophy list how many of the games I played in the last year that were PS+ freebies and for me it was 9 games (9 of potential 72 games — that’s a 12% play rate for me) And when I say “play” them I mean I actually completed and/or enjoyed them. (3 platinums in that group of 9 and a couple other 100%’ed that don’t have platinums). And as far as PSN purchases, I count that I bought 5 games this year that had some kind of PS plus discount (usually it’s a 10% discount)
A little quick math ... 9 games we’ll say an average of $20 each and 5 discounts just guess a conservative average of $5 each....
That’s $205. It adds up quick. And that’s being conservative. And I don’t even use the MP online much. And I am pretty selective in what I play. I still have several of the freebies in my backlog I want to try to play this year (Valiant Hearts, Abzu, Transistor, ...to name a few)
So, personally, I feel comfortable with being a plus subscriber. The numbers bear it out. Now, I do feel the service can be improved, but I’ve rambled long enough, so I’ll refrain from further comment about my opinions.

Edited on by Th3solution

The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

Rudy_Manchego

I don't like paying for online to be honest, since this is a service I only occasionally use. However, I don't want to sign up and cancel whenever I do venture online so they kind of have me over a barrel on that one. I do check my subscription spending since all these subscriptions do add up but in the end I think that PS Plus for, at least, does add up for me personally.

In the last year, I have fully played (from start to finish) 5 PS Plus games and tried several others. I've also got a few in my to play list from the same 12 month period that I will get to. So if you even assume that I would pay an average of £8-10 for these games (as many are smaller or now budget titles), I am still getting value from the service. I also use the discounts in sales - most titles I buy except for the large day one purchases are bought in sales and I would guess I have saved £10-20 over the year with the extra few pounds on each PS Plus discount. If I am honest, there is a psychological impact as well. I quite enjoy finding out what games are coming out each month or if there is a new sale.

Of course though, you could argue whether I would have bothered buying the PS Plus games or even those in the sale if they werent free or discounted. That is harder for me to quantify. There were two games that were on my wishlist that came out last year on PS Plus that I would have paid for at some point but would I have bought the rest? Maybe not. That said, some of the games I tried I really liked that I would never have bothered to buy so swings and roundabouts.

Now I may be an idiot, but there's one thing I am not sir, and that sir, is an idiot

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crippyd

@Th3solution @Rudy_Machego I'll be upfront, I don't have a PS4 as I play Xbox but I feel that my experiences with Live are very similar to yours with Plus and I would like to join in.

I also don't play much online but I do reap the benefits of my Live subscription by getting the games and discounts of which I've discovered quite a few games I would never have considered buying and I have bought many discounted games with my membership and saved quite a bit of money.

Even though I rarely play online, I feel that I'm getting value for my money, especially if, as I do, I buy it discounted from the internet rather than from MS directly.

crippyd

themcnoisy

Psplus is great value. As an owner of PS4, PSVR and Vita I could have snagged 52 games last year if you include the playlink game. Thats 1 a week. Needless to say I didnt libarise them all as there isnt enough time in the day but its insane value really.

Right now Im running Psycho pass, thats £20 at least prior to this month. So all I need to make up is another £30 in the next 11 months and Im clear.

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johncalmc

PS Plus could be twice as expensive and it'd still be great value. And I never play online.

All the other stuff makes it worthwhile. Cloud saves are golden. Free games - even though I don't play half of them - are a winner. I can go online if I want to which is pretty rare but could happen. And it's less than a tenner a month. That's less than I spend on crisps in a month.

johncalmc

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Octane

That fact that everyone is talking about the monthly games and not the online says enough I think. That's why I wish they exclude the online from PS+, especially since most of it is P2P anyway.

Octane

Th3solution

@Rudy_Manchego That’s an interesting thought about the ‘psychological impact’ of having this sort of anticipation or surprise factor. There is some appeal there.

I also have experienced the disappointment of getting the announcement that a PS+ game is being added that I just recently bought. Happened with Life is Strange.
Maybe it would be a good idea to be able to choose, say 4 games from a larger list of 8. This might mitigate the possibility that you already own the titles. They tried that one month having the community vote on one game they wanted amongst like 3 candidates but I’m not sure why they haven’t done that again. They must have received a backlash from that.

The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

Th3solution

@Octane You propose they just make the online free and keep a separate service for just getting the games each month? I’d be up for that. The only thing is that all those people who only play COD and FIFA would drop their subs. COD WWII has basically outsold every other PS4 game by miles last year. That’s a lot of players.

The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

Octane

@Th3solution And that's why I don't like it. There's plenty of people who are subscribed for the online only, and don't care about the games at all. So they're essentially forcing you to subscribe to PS+ if you want to play online. They may as well make it a mandatory sub for every PS4 owner if they want everyone to subscribe. It's an easy and dirty way of garnering as many subscribers as possible, because they know people will buy it anyway. But given the choice, I think many people would drop the PS+ games. And that's why I'd like to see some system where it is possible to exclude the online from the PS+ games. Either by making it free, like it used to be, and like how it still is on PC; or by allowing subscribers to pick between online play and PS+ games (and cloud saves). Because I don't think the online play should be any more than €10 a year (most of the money you pay go to the PS+ games and the discounts). And seeing how they don't even use dedicated servers for any of their games, it should be free in theory.

Octane

BAMozzy

Personally, I only subscribed to PS+ because it was necessary for me to access all content from the games I buy/play. I never bothered during the PS3 era - even though the 'games' were better, most of the games I really wanted, I already owned by the time they were offered and saw no 'value' in the cost to me. Even some games I spend most of my time playing Solo - like Destiny - requires a PS+ subscription. You cannot play Destiny at all without it so PS+ limits the games you can buy and the 'value' of games. Whether that's CoD, Fifa, GTSport, Battlefront etc - all of these would have very little value if the majority is locked away behind a PS+ paywall.

In the last year, I have not actually played a single PS+ game at all. Not because they are necessarily 'bad' but because I have games in my backlog ot on my current play list that I want to play more. I have probably added around 6-10 games to my 'library' though that I could play if I so desire. I certainly wouldn't miss them though if I were able to cancel my PS+ and still play online. I do have a PS3 but its been years since I turned it on and certainly haven't bothered with any of the free games at all.

As for digital sales, I have only bought 1 game digitally and that was around £13 and saved me an additional £1.30ish. Of course if I had got 'value' from the games I added by playing them, I would have more than broken even on the cost BUT overall, If online was Free, I wouldn't hesitate on cancelling PS+. I don't think I take advantage of the extra cloud storage at all - whether the console backs up to that or not, I couldn't tell you - its not something I have ever looked at, used consciously or required so its of no consequence to me.

I am also a 'Gold' subscriber for exactly the same reason. I have no option but to buy Gold but it is cheaper - especially now that Sony have increased their Price. The Free games though have been played and I almost always add any XB360 games to my library - only those I have NO interest in whatsoever I don't bother with. The difference with these as opposed to PS3 games is that they are playable on my current console AND totally free - no conditions like having to be online or keep my Gold subscription up to keep playing. The discounts in store are not appealing as I tend to buy physical copies although I have bought some DLC in the last year that was offered in a sale. Overall, I have had much more value from Gold.

If push came to shove and I had to drop one subscription, PS+ would go. Sony's Firts Party games are predominently single player and I buy them purely for that purpose. I didn'y buy Uncharted for example for its MP so I could happily drop PS+, keep my Playstation 4 for 'offline' games and play any online games on Xbox. I am in that position but I understand not everyone has another device that offers them the same online experiences (whether Xbox or PC) and so have to buy on PS4.

However, I would rather have PS+ rather than 'not' in its current state just so I know that any game, new or old, I can fully access and play. Cancelling it would leave half (if not more) of my library with very limited content and quite a few, with a LOT of DLC content I have purchased, as money 'wasted' as I couldn't play the content or even the game in the case of Destiny as well as all the expansions.

I think a tiered system would be complicated. You have 3 consoles of games that could be options, online, discounts etc. People with PS3's only (if there are still some) would need to pay to keep playing but may not want PS4, Vita, online, store discounts and cloud storage. PS4 owners may just want online with some adding the games, a few adding PS3 and/or Vita but all in all it gets complicated - what price for someone that wants online, PS4 games, PS3 games but doesn't want/need Vita, discounts and extra cloud storage? The more variables, the more combinations and the more complex it could become.

A pessimist is just an optimist with experience!

Why can't life be like gaming? Why can't I restart from an earlier checkpoint??

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Kidfried

@Octane I actually don't think much of the money is going into discounts. Discounts don't really work like that, either.

I don't have a VITA, so I miss out on a lot of games. And of course, often I don't really care about the games that release for the IGC. So, I'm not getting my "full money's worth" either. So some will profit from the system more than others.

And I honestly must say that I think that's fine. I also pay taxes for the maintenance of roads, even though I don't know how to drive a car. That's how systems often work.

When you buy a video game, you also pay for all the marketing and PR. Because that's the only way the system can work. Just like that, Sony needs PSN subscribers to keep the PlayStation ecosystem afloat. I've just accepted them as a necessary expense.

And comparisons with PC are not really working. Consoles and PC are just not the same thing.

Kidfried

Octane

@Kidfried I don't know how much they pay for each game on PS+. First party stuff is obviously easier than third party content. Whatever is left goes straight to their bank account, and this fiscal numbers also show that.

How are consoles and PC not the same? We're talking about accessing online play only. Companies run dedicated servers for free on PC. The only reason it's monetised on consoles is because it's easier. But the problem is that most of the PS4 games don't even have dedicated servers, and they're all running on P2P servers, a service which you are already paying for.

Octane

Kidfried

@Octane I don't think you can look at these things fully separate from each other. And I try not to. The console business is really complex, there's so many stuff at play. I look at it this way:

  • Since 2002 we have the euro over here. So, I'll take that as a starting point.
  • Since then the price of games has not increased over here. Games used to be 60 and they're still 60. That's 16 years. Deals nowadays are a lot better, and thanks to indies, I often pay a lot less for my games than I used to.
  • Consoles haven't become more expensive either.
  • Games have become more expensive to make. And Sony invests a lot of money in unique games, which often don't make a profit.
  • Charging more for games is pretty difficult, because consumers are hesitant.
  • They have to make money through PSN, et cetera.

I have more games now then I used to back in the early 00's and I'm not really spending more. Even though inflation has happened. I gladly pay the price to keep the whole thing afloat.

Kidfried

Rudy_Manchego

@Th3solution Yeah - I had the same with Life is Strange and also MGSV. That is probably going to happen more and more if Sony put more popular titles on there.

Now I may be an idiot, but there's one thing I am not sir, and that sir, is an idiot

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BAMozzy

@Octane I totally agree - ie Online cost with Consoles vs PC's. The online charge is now nothing but a 'blackmail' charge but sweetened by the prospect of getting something back - like games and discounts.

On PC, they don't get some 'big-ish' free games every month. Discounts are not really hurting Sony either. Buy buying on PSN. you are giving all the profit that would be going to manufacturer (of the physical media), distributors, retailers and any other parties that may take a cut. Assuming of course the dev/publishers get the same cut regardless. If Sony can reduce the price to £20 for example, and offer £2 extra offer for PS+, all that means is that Sony get £2 less profit but still get profit and have encouraged you to buy a game you may not of necessarily bought from the PSN. If the Profit mark up is say £5 for a PS+ game compared to £7 for a non-PS+ buyer, its still a Profit and actually may end selling quite a few more because it appears its now £2 cheaper because of PS+ - Point is, its encouraging people to buy more games from the PSN store and give Sony bigger profits than buying from Amazon or Game and giving them some of your money instead. Sony won't be out of pocket for offering a bit more of a discount. Maybe they even account for that and Discount the 'non-PS+' games down less than they could - instead of selling it at £18, they mark it up a bit to £20 just to get a bit more profit from those non subscribers and make PS+ subscribers feel like they are getting a better deal. In other words, artificially creating that PS+ price by not discounting the games as much as they should/could - either way though its ALL profitable for Sony.

As for the Free games, they all come with a conditional licence. Fair enough that to buy outright it may cost 'X' amount if you bought via their Store. Take Deus Ex for example, they claim its a $60 value game, yet you can buy it from Amazon for a fraction of that price and have a permanent licence to play as you want, when you want, offline and indefinitely. Granted it may mean a 'loss' in sale to Square Enix but it could also mean an increase in sales for the 'next' Deus Ex because people enjoyed the free game. Its also more publicity, more talk and may actually end up having a few more sales on PC/Xbox. Some games may also generate sales of DLC - like Rocket League for example. That game may well of not taken off ad certainly wouldn't have the user base and potential market for DLC sales. You can bet that the games though are the biggest outlay for Sony but compared to the guaranteed income they are getting from Subscribers, its probably a small drop in the ocean.

At the end of the day though, I can't see Sony or MS dropping their subscription charges. both have over 20m subscibers and at £40-50 (not counting variations in the currency conversion or extra some may pay because they buy monthly or quarterly), that's a massive continuous income per annum. In essence its not that different from games adding Micro-transactions and seasons - keep people paying after the release of the Product (whether thats a console or game) and give 'little' in return to sweeten the deal.

A pessimist is just an optimist with experience!

Why can't life be like gaming? Why can't I restart from an earlier checkpoint??

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Octane

@Kidfried I remember when games where around ƒ80, which is less than €40 today. Starting with the sixth generation, they became €50. The Wii continued that trend while PS3 and Xbox 360 games were €60. Nintendo followed with the Wii U. And I've checked the prices of online AAA games, and most of them were €70 this year, including Breath of the Wild, Call of Duty and Battlefront II. For comparison; €50 in 2002 is €65 today. Inflation is very much a thing.

Meanwhile digital is becoming more prevalent, which is another big revenue stream for publishers, since there's no retailer that takes a cut on top of the cut the platform holder takes. So the rising costs of game development is cancelled out by the increasing revenue from the growing digital market.

On top of that, you don't have to look far to see that most publishers spend less on game development each year, but their profits don't take a hit. If the rising costs of video game development was as big of a problem as some make it out to be, we would've noticed it already. Companies would go bankrupt at a much faster rate, or they would report losses on their fiscal reports. We don't see any of that, we see the opposite instead, so I can only assume that I don't have to worry about their increasing budgets.

Video game consoles doesn't have be more expensive, because the price of technology decreases over time as well.

To be fair, I'd rather pay more per game*, than have all these hidden costs. That includes micro-transactions and various subscriptions. But that's just me. Still, that doesn't explain why online gaming is free on PC. Apart from the fact that 'Sony needs the money'. Which is in itself a fair statement, but I wish they told us upfront if they really needed it. And I also wish they were more transparent about why they need it. If they did that, then I'd consider donating to Sony's charity programme to keep them afloat.

EDIT: * just wanted to add that, and I've already said this before, I'm willing to spend more per game, provided the industry changes too. The reason why I'm hesitant about spending any more than €60 right now is because I know there's a good change they pull some micro-transactions shenanigans on me. Or they lock the game behind a DRM always-online wall. Or a bunch of content is cut from the game to be sold as DLC. I'm willing to pay more, provided I get the whole deal, without all the invisible paywalls. Twenty years ago you could buy a game and it's still playable today, and those games are a lot more valuable to me than a game that needs a day-one patch to be playable, but which will in turn render the entire game unplayable ten years from now when the patch isn't available anymore. So yes, in a way I can understand why other people are hesitant about another price hike, because I feel the same way.

Edited on by Octane

Octane

BAMozzy

@Kidfried Games are maybe as cheap as they were but also so has manufacturing costs dropped. If you go back to the 80's with commodore C64 era, you could buy games as cheap as £2 which were often as good, if not better than the so called AAA games of that era that were £10-£12. Of course these were tapes compared to the expensive cartridges of the consoles but Codemasters started with the £2 market and it wasn't until they made a Rockstar ate my Hamster that they entered into the AAA market. On Xbox 360 (can't recall if PS3 had these too), there was an abundance of 'indie' games costing no more than £2 - some only 80p or so. There 'Arcade' games, were around £8-10 but as these are now bundled together in one combined 'indie' category, these are now quite a bit more expensive on average. Arguably the quality has improved as some of those 'indie' games were terrible.

As for game development charges, some of that is down to paying for well known actors to do voices, paying for multiple actors to do mo-cap work, hiring studios to do mo-cap (in some cases - although some now have their own), etc but they still don't always cost as much as big blockbuster movies to make and can still make more money in one week than these movies take at the box-office. New engines also help make games too and can procedually generate some massive sprawling forest in seconds compared to older games where every tree, bush etc had to be positioned individually - saving both time and money. Of course there are rising costs - such as pay rises for developers, studio overheads (electricity, rent etc) but even still, games generally aren't overly 'expensive' when compared to movies and often turn profitable very quickly. If you look at the likes of EA and Activision, their nett profit is in terms of billions so whilst £100m to make a game seems incredibly costly to us gamers, that's less often than EA/Activision make in a month.

Consoles haven't become 'more' expensive because the hardware isn't that 'expensive' either. My first HD TV cost as much as my 4k HDR TV yet didn't have smart, 3D, 4k, HDR and was only 46" compared to my 55" TV I have now etc. My bedroom TV cost less than a quarter of my first HD TV yet also has Smart, 3D and is a 48" screen. Taking inflation into account, My first HD TV would probably be stupid money today for a 46" HD TV with NO extra features many take for granted now. Its clear that both the PS4 and XB1 were made to a limited budget - maybe because of the recession we were in and maybe because the analysts were predicting that consoles were 'dead' and certainly wouldn't sell in the current economic climate - leisure is often the hardest hit when money is tight. Its probably why, even at release, they struggled to deliver the games at a 'certain' performance metric (ie 1080/60) - obviously the XB1 more so but throughout, we have seen games struggle with CPU bottlenecks, visuals not necessarily 'bad' but not as good as they could have been (and I don't mean just resolution) inc downgrades from E3 reveals, and with 4k months away from releasing to a commercial sector, struggling to even hit full HD whilst the PC's were already at 1440/60+. Its not surprising that both Sony and MS didn't push the hardware to deliver a higher level as that would also have pushed the prices up in an unstable and financially difficult time.

Most of Sony's games may not always be profitable but Sony are still prepared to cover the 'niche' sector. Japanese games (and I don't mean all games made by Japanese studios - just the ones thare 'uniquely Japanese' - so not RE7) do tend to struggle to match the games with a more western or 'global' appeal as far as sales go. However Sony are still happy to continue to bring their 'niche' games to the world. That being said, Naughty Dog dominate the 'exclusive' sales chart with H:ZD, Infamous and Killzone (as well as Bloodborne but that was a third party developed game) all around 3m+ and, as far as I recall, all 'profitable'. Sony also now has a massive income from PS+ every year as well as profit from the increase in digital sales) so all in all, it can easily offset some of the losses of niche games with all the profits elsewhere. Its not as if these games don't sell at all and it doesn't seem as though many games need to sell more than a few million to be profitable anyway.

Also, whilst games may have become more expensive, the loss of money from the 2nd hand market has also dropped. Not saying its completely gone but with digital purchases on the rise, there are less people trading in their games and less people buying 2nd hand. More games also offer DLC (not all 'cash-ins' either) so there is often an incentive to keep hold of games longer too. These DLC's, as well as the micro-transactions - even those that people feel are handled 'well' like Overwatch for example, bring in more revenue.

Games in general though from big Publishers like EA/Activision have reduced in number. This means that they are putting more emphasis and 'faith' in fewer games to maintain and increase their annual profit. Activision seem to rely purely on CoD and Destiny to deliver their profits. EA's big money spinner is Fifa of course and their sports side in general. If their 'big' gambles don't pay off though. they are more vulnerable - still they keep making Billions each year and then complain about games costing more to justify 'micro-transaction' to subsidise those rising costs. Funny though that the majority of 'big' games with Micro-transacctions are usually the games that are profitable within the first day or at most week.

A pessimist is just an optimist with experience!

Why can't life be like gaming? Why can't I restart from an earlier checkpoint??

Feel free to add me but please send a message so I know where you know me from...

PSN: TaimeDowne

Kidfried

@Octane @BAMozzy That's like three pages of arguments to cover. I'm sorry to say that I won't take the time to cover all the stuff in there.

What I will say is that I disagree with @Octane on video game prices. Game retail prices were already 60+ euro back in the GameCube era. They hardly increased. The Zelda's on the N64 were even ƒ170.

I agree I'd rather pay more per game than have all the side stuff.

About the "if it was that much of a problem, you would've noticed already". Well, it's no secret that Sony made major losses on their PlayStation division until around the PS+ period. And I'm not saying PS+ is the only reason they're making a profit, but it just shows you that they were making losses.

And I don't think getting EA and the other money making publishers into this is that helpful. The fact that they're making a lot of money and still implement MTX is indeed a terrible practice. But in general Sony stuff isn't that kind of predator.

Kidfried

Octane

@Kidfried Where are you getting that from? Retail prices were €50 for a looong time. My first €60 game was a Wii U game, and that's because I never owned a PS3 or 360.

Games for Nintendo's new system will cost $59.99, the Mario creators have confirmed to us.

This is an increase from last generation: the standard retail price for Wii games was $49.99.

https://kotaku.com/5943092/wii-u-games-will-cost-5999

Gamecube to sell for $199 ... Games for the system will retail for a more standard $49.90 each.

http://money.cnn.com/2001/05/21/companies/gamecube/

Last Christmas Argos stores drew attention by cutting the price of all Playstation 2 games to £29.99 (usual price £40 - £45).

http://www.nintendoworldreport.com/news/8434/more-gamecube-pr...

The Big N confirmed that it would charge $49.99 for its new Wii games,

http://www.ign.com/articles/2006/09/14/us-wii-price-launch-da...

Apparently it's impossible to find anything about the price history in euros, but I can assure you they were €50 during the GameCube and Wii era. It was a big deal when MS announced their games would retail for €60 on the 360, Sony followed the following year. But Nintendo kept the price at €50 until the Wii U.

PS1 games were even cheaper.

You can't really compare them with N64 games, the cartridges themselves were up to $30 to manufacture. The console was notorious for having ridiculously expensive software. But that was due to the manufacturing costs of the cartridges, not game development itself.

Octane

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