News Article

Feature: Did PlayStation Plus Represent Value for Money in 2014?

Posted by Sammy Barker

Play more, pay less

In hindsight, we suppose that Sony’s strategy with PlayStation Plus was a little cunning. When the platform holder rolled out its subscription service several years ago, it was billed as an optional extra for PlayStation 3 owners – a mere means for members to secure a pocketful of freebies for a nominal fee. As the years passed, the quality of said giveaways improved, eventually representing such ridiculous value that no one batted an eyelid when Jack Tretton quietly confirmed that you’ll need to pay to play online with the PlayStation 4.

Now that it’s got consumers where it wants them, though, has the quality of the premium platform taken a nosedive? With the manufacturer running a multiplayer competition to round out the year – as well as plenty of European and North American offers that take advantage of the membership – we figured that we’d take a look at PlayStation Plus as a whole in 2014, and determine how well the service has fared over the past 12 months. Has the Japanese giant taken its foot off the gas – or is the service still leading the way as far as added value is concerned?

January

It was business as usual for PlayStation Plus in January, with the PS3 titles representing the Instant Game Collection’s highlights. BioShock Infinite headlined in North America, while DmC: Devil May Cry was the chief attraction in Europe. Don’t Starve was the primary PS4 game in both regions.

North America

  • Don’t Starve
  • BioShock Infinite
  • DmC: Devil May Cry
  • Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
  • Smart As
  • Worms: Battle Islands

Total Value: $123.45
Metacritic Average: 81

Europe

  • Don’t Starve
  • DmC: Devil May Cry
  • Borderlands 2
  • Soul Sacrifice
  • BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend

Total Value: £86.45
Metacritic Average: 83

February

February was another rip-roaring month for PlayStation Plus, with Outlast being one of the best received PS4 indie titles of the year. The roster of retail PS3 and Vita titles were merely the icing on the cake.

North America

  • Outlast
  • Metro: Last Light
  • Payday 2
  • Remember Me
  • ModNation Racers: Road Trip
  • Street Fighter X Tekken

Total Value: $183.44
Metacritic Average: 74

Europe

  • Outlast
  • BioShock Infinite
  • Metro: Last Light
  • Dynasty Warriors Next
  • ModNation Racers: Road Trip

Total Value: £137.45
Metacritic Average: 76

March

Perhaps one of the weaker months in 2014: March’s free Dead Nation: Apocalypse Edition wasn’t exactly outstanding, and Tomb Raider came after the release of the Definitive Edition for the PS4. Still, you can’t go wrong with Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons.

North America

  • Dead Nation: Apocalypse Edition
  • Tomb Raider
  • Thomas Was Alone
  • Lone Survivor: The Director’s Cut
  • Unit 13
  • Monster Hunter: Freedom Unite

Total Value: $102.94
Metacritic Average: 80

Europe

  • Dead Nation: Apocalypse Edition
  • Tomb Raider
  • Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
  • PixelJunk Monsters Ultimate HD
  • Smart As

Total Value: £48.95
Metacritic Average: 80

April

Mercenary Kings was another divisive PS4 indie, but it was offset in North America by the brilliant Batman: Arkham City at least. It was a mixed Easter for Europe, however, with PES 2014: Pro Evolution Soccer being the pick from a somewhat poor list.

North America

  • Mercenary Kings
  • Batman: Arkham City
  • Stealth Inc: A Clone in the Dark
  • Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse
  • Velocity Ultra
  • PixelJunk Monsters Ultimate HD

Total Value: $87.44
Metacritic Average: 82

Europe

  • Mercenary Kings
  • PES 2014: Pro Evolution Soccer
  • Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time
  • Hotline Miami
  • MotoGP 13

Total Value: £79.95
Metacritic Average: 77

May

May was a much better month than April, with Stick It to the Man surprising a fair few, and the brilliant Puppeteer adding a layer of underrated class to proceedings. Muramasa Rebirth was also a nice addition to Europe’s lineup.

North America

  • Stick It to the Man
  • Puppeteer
  • PES 2014: Pro Evolution Soccer
  • Skullgirls Encore
  • Surge Deluxe
  • Limbo

Total Value: $109.94
Metacritic Average: 80

Europe

  • Stick It to the Man
  • Puppeteer
  • Payday 2
  • Muramasa Rebirth
  • Everybody’s Golf

Total Value: £76.45
Metacritic Average: 77

June

This is the month where Sony switched things up: PS4 received two titles in June, with Trine 2 and PixelJunk Shooter Ultimate among the noteworthy freebies. This was also the start of Europe and North America’s lineups starting to match.

North America

  • Trine 2
  • PixelJunk Shooter Ultimate
  • NBA 2K14
  • Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time
  • Terraria
  • Mutant Mudds Deluxe

Total Value: $139.94
Metacritic Average: 82

Europe

  • Trine 2
  • PixelJunk Shooter Ultimate
  • NBA 2K14
  • Lone Survivor: The Director’s Cup
  • Dragon’s Crown
  • Surge Deluxe

Total Value: £81.45
Metacritic Average: 82

July

With the industry on holiday, July didn’t provide a particularly scorching lineup, but Strider and TowerFall Ascension were both solid additions on the PS4. Dead Space 3 was a nice bonus for survival horror fans, while Doki Doki Universe offered something a little out of the ordinary.

North America

  • TowerFall Ascension
  • Strider
  • Dead Space 3
  • Vessel
  • Muramasa Rebirth
  • Doki Doki Universe

Total Value: $93.94
Metacritic Average: 78

Europe

  • TowerFall Ascension
  • Strider
  • Dead Space 3
  • Vessel
  • LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes
  • Doki Doki Universe

Total Value: £77.64
Metacritic Average: 74

August

It was in August when a few complaints regarding the quality of PlayStation Plus started to raise their head. Road Not Taken was yet another divisive indie, though Fez had already secured rave reviews earlier in the year.

North America

  • Road Not Taken
  • Fez
  • Crysis 3
  • Proteus
  • Metrico
  • Dragon’s Crown

Total Value: $115.94
Metacritic Average: 76

Europe

  • Road Not Taken
  • Fez
  • Crysis 3
  • Proteus
  • Metrico
  • LEGO Harry Potter Years 5-7

Total Value: £79.94
Metacritic Average: 73

September

September started to put things back on track, with the sensational Velocity 2X scoring a 10/10 in these hallowed halls. PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale was also a nice addition, considering the title sold very poorly during its retail run.

North America

  • Velocity 2X
  • Sportsfriends
  • PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale
  • Hoard
  • Joe Danger
  • TXK

Total Value: $85.94
Metacritic Average: 80

Europe

  • Velocity 2X
  • Sportsfriends
  • PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale
  • Hoard
  • Joe Danger
  • TXK

Total Value: £60.74
Metacritic Average: 80

October

It was mainly more indies in October, but Dust: An Elysian Tail, Spelunky, and Pix the Cat all attained some high scores. Batman: Arkham Asylum was an unusual giveaway considering sequel Arkham City had been offered in North America earlier in the year – but, hey, it’s still one of the PS3’s best games.

North America

  • Dust: An Elysian Tail
  • Spelunky
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara
  • Pix the Cat
  • Rainbow Moon

Total Value: $96.44
Metacritic Average: 79

Europe

  • Dust: An Elysian Tail
  • Spelunky
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara
  • Pix the Cat
  • Rainbow Moon

Total Value: £69.94
Metacritic Average: 79

November

Sony actually announced December’s PlayStation Plus lineup immediately after November’s, perhaps sensing some unrest at the selection of The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth. Vocal criticism aside, the title still attained rave reviews.

North America

  • The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth
  • Steamworld Dig
  • Frozen Synapse Prime
  • Luftrausers
  • The Hungry Horde
  • Escape Plan

Total Value: $79.94
Metacritic Average: 80

Europe

  • The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth
  • Steamworld Dig
  • Frozen Synapse Prime
  • Luftrausers
  • The Hungry Horde
  • Escape Plan

Total Value: £57.24
Metacritic Average: 80

December

The next step for PlayStation Plus on the PS4 was to offer retail games, and Injustice: Gods Among Us became the first boxed freebie in December. It was joined by spaghetti western Secret Ponchos, as well as a strong selection of PS3 and Vita titles – a sublime end to the year.

North America

  • Injustice: Gods Among Us
  • Secret Ponchos
  • Hitman HD Trilogy
  • Deadly Premonition: The Director’s Cut
  • Final Horizon
  • Titan Attacks

Total Value: $129.94
Metacritic Average: 73

Europe

  • Injustice: Gods Among Us
  • Secret Ponchos
  • Hitman HD Trilogy
  • Deadly Premonition: The Director’s Cut
  • Final Horizon
  • Titan Attacks

Total Value: £124.44
Metacritic Average: 73

Conclusion

With all of the data painstakingly collated, we can finally attempt to answer the initial question: did PlayStation Plus represent value for money in 2014? Well, according to our research, Sony gave away $1,349.29 worth of software in North America this year, and £960.64 in Europe. That’s an average of $112.44/£81.72 per month – a number which makes the service’s $49.99/£39.99 annual asking fee look like a bargain.

There are some caveats to contend with here, however. Any software given away with Sony’s subscription will expire should you opt to let your membership lapse, though you will regain access should you pod up for another term within a timely manner. In addition, it’s worth mentioning that not every title was a blockbuster, but the average monthly Metacritic rating according to our research was 79 in North America and 78 in Europe. Not to be sniffed at, then.

And, of course, the giveaways aren’t the only things worthy of note. In addition to enabling you to play online, the Japanese giant’s subscription service also offers regular discounts, as well as cloud storage, competitions, and perks such as Tune In radio. There’s also the implementation of Share Play on the PS4 to take into account as well, which allows you to create a virtual couch co-op experience with your pals – even if your mates don’t own the same games.

We reckon that the numbers and features speak for themselves – even if there has been some dissatisfaction with the types of titles offered over the past twelve months. Much of the PS4’s library this year, for example, has centred on indie games, while the PS3 and Vita offerings also sagged a little during the slow summer months. With the December update boasting some of the best value all year, though, the service is ending 2014 on a real high note – and inFAMOUS: First Light is still to follow in January.

[ Note: Value determined by PlayStation Store prices, accurate as of 12th December, 2014 ]


What did you make of Sony’s PlayStation Plus offering in 2014? Are you staggered by these statistics, or do they seem more or less on par with your expectations? Save your cash in the comments section below.

How would you rate PlayStation Plus in 2014? (100 votes)

Very good

43%

Good

33%

Meh

18%

Poor

  3%

Very poor

  3%

Please login to vote in this poll.

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User Comments (40)

Punished_Boss_84

#1

Punished_Boss_84 said:

I think I would value that at 'nearly £1000', but who knows? How else can it been valued in terms of monetary value?

get2sammybAdmin

#2

get2sammyb said:

@Punished_Boss_84 The big downside is obviously that you don't get to keep the games in perpetuity, I guess. Looking back at that list is quite staggering, though - and the fact that it doesn't even take into account discounts is amazing.

That said, I do understand why people started to get a little fed up with the PS4 indie games after a while - even though I personally enjoyed most of them.

RaymanFan2

#3

RaymanFan2 said:

The only three on there that really interested me were BioShock Infinite, DmC, and Tomb Raider.

More because I have enough games to play already without 'burdening' my backlog with stuff that could be good but could be not good.

Cyrso

#4

Cyrso said:

They're definitely providing way too much value.

I barely played 5 games among all those PS+ games.

The overkill in value could kind of devalue purchased games. I mean for the price of one new AAA game purchase €50 you can get €1100 worth of games for 1 year PS+. (and the most confusing thing is that despite the obvious overkill value, some people still complain about PS+ games lol)

Cowboysfan-22

#5

Cowboysfan-22 said:

Europe got a BlazBlue game and we Americans didn't?! What?! In all seriousness though, it's impressive how many good games they gave away. I didn't download everything, but I'm happy with what I got. And it allowed me to play stuff I normally wouldn't. Gotta love broadening your horizons

ShogunRokAdmin

#6

ShogunRok said:

Personally I find it hard to complain. Sure, we're not getting blockbusters every month, but a few solid games can work wonders when you're looking for things to play in between bigger releases.

adf86

#7

adf86 said:

For me it has been very much value, though I do own all Playstation systems so I'm getting the most out of it. But I would like to see Sony actually offer more perks for Plus then just the games, some more original things to add more value to the subscription.

get2sammybAdmin

#8

get2sammyb said:

@adf86 I'm always up for more, just curious what you have in mind. Share Play was a neat addition I thought, but I haven't really used it. I wonder what else they could add?

Sonicfan11589

#9

Sonicfan11589 said:

When i first got a PS3, i didn't officially subscribe to PS Plus other than a trial just to take advantage of a game that was on sale on PSN. I am such a believer now. I got so many free games for my PS4, Even games I thought i would never try but ended up really liking them (Outlast for example).

Carl-G

#10

Carl-G said:

I was counting my Games on my PS4 the other day (well in my folder) I don't keep all of these PS PLUS games on my PS4 just the ones i have liked & completed & i think it's been well worth it The only thing i still don't like the idea of is paying extra to play online(so you have to get PS PLUS(even tho it's worth it for all the games you get) then to play online games) :-/ It's a 'Microsoft' 'disease' that i wish never came to the PS brand

Sonicfan11589

#11

Sonicfan11589 said:

Here's a tip for people planning on buying a PS system they don't have but want the Free games while they are available.
-Use the PSN store via the internet, and just add the games to your download list.

-And even if you end your subscription, you should still get your games back after re-subscribing.

Boerewors

#12

Boerewors said:

For me this service might as well be handheld only. I actually play a lot of Vita freebies and I am very content with the offering so far, although 2014 wasn't that good, but I hardly ever play a Plus game for more than 20 minutes on the homeconsoles. I own my vita to play the games I get for free with Plus, I own my PS4 to play completely different games than the ones we're getting and I believe this goes for lots of people. I'd seriously rather see them drop 3 free games a month and invest the money in their online infrastructure or use it to keep the cost of PSnow down.

ShoryukenKid

#13

ShoryukenKid said:

There was pretty much something every month that I enjoyed. I don't mind the indie games but I'm from the NES era so I don't have to have a 3d open world blockbuster everytime I buy a game . The only kicker is that we don't get to access them without psplus . I feel if you buy DLC for some of those, they should let you play even without plus. I'll probably have plus the entire time so I guess it's no biggie. I voted good overall

Edit: I was counting PS3 games as well.

DrClayman

#14

DrClayman said:

@get2sammyb I wouldn't mind a couple movies/tv shows, even if they're only accessible for the month. Just an idea though, I'm more than happy for it to stay as it is, insane value.

Gamer83

#17

Gamer83 said:

It offered a pretty decent value for 2014. I mean, expecting AAA games on offer every month on PS4 is a bit ridiculous this early in the gen and that seems to be where most complaints come from. We probably don't start seeing that until sometime in 2016.

ToOGoodOfAPlaya

#19

ToOGoodOfAPlaya said:

The extra 20% off has made the difference for me.
The majority of the games have been sub par, in my opinion, including Outlast, but going into the PSN store and getting a discounted game that has a further 20 or so % off has been great!
I only have a PS4 so severely limited in the content offered on IGC.

Kohaku

#20

Kohaku said:

Easy to say that you get over $100 free games each month but when you only have 1 console the other games are useless and you don't have the $100+ value.
For me it was a bit disappointing this year with PS+, only a few games I have liked. I am not a big fan of all those indiestuff but maybe Sony will start giving toptitles away in the second half of 2015. I still hope for that but I am not sure because you are now in some way forced to have PS+ for the online games.

Downside of PS+ is that I got some games for free that I bought just some months before and since than I only buy games I really want to play at release or I wait till I get them "for free" in PS+.

Morrowbie

#21

Morrowbie said:

Obviously it still hasn't actually happened yet, but the PS+ version of Driveclub could be a good model for other freebies going forward - a portion of a AAA game for free with an 'upgrade' fee that allows you to keep the full game forever. It obviously wouldn't work for all games but some could give away the online, single-player or co-op component say - as long as it felt like you were getting a 'full' if shorter experience. Be interesting to see how that DC plus version works.

Faruko

#22

Faruko said:

Its hard to complain, its a great deal for sure, the quality of the games could be a bit better but again its hard to complain.

I havent use much of the "free" games, because the PS4 ones has been freaking terrible so far (except this few months), but again... Its hard to complain.

Steam sales are better, but in the console market theres nothing like it

On a side note, shouldnt you add the price of the consoles to the sum ??? , i mean... Dont you need to have (pay) for the consoles to use the full benefit of ps+ ?? thats about $700-800 if you dont own any of them

rastamadeus

#23

rastamadeus said:

All well and good saying how much money it saved people but it all depends on your taste of games and if you already have the games. For me it was either crap or already owned it every single month. Personally it offered me absolutely no value whatsoever this year. As I've said before only four games I've enjoyed and they would have cost me less than half the subscription price for a year. Having to also pay for online while it becomes more unreliable, the same sales happening again and again (with pathetic PS+ discounts compared to America, which needs addressing) and the whole mess of Sony Europe lying to everyone for a good few months about the service leaves a sour taste in the mouth as the year ends.

rjejr

#25

rjejr said:

@get2sammyb - A lot obviously went into this, so thanks for all the work, but somehow you managed to leave out the most important caveat - what systems do you own and what systems the games came out on?

Id say PS3 owners got almost all of that $1000 value, PS4 and Vita owners very little. Not that PS4 owners really had any choice, and Vita owners get what they get, but it seems to be an important part of the equation that you complely ignored.

As a PS3 owner only - and I may even buy a 2nd today for my bedroom - the year started off so great w/ Tomb Raider, Bioshock Infinite, DmC reboot, Batman, then slowly went downhill and crashed and burned at the end. I let my PS+ lapse and see no reason to renew. Mirrors Edge for free will keep me busy until Christmas, and Wii U actually has a solid line-up to me for 2015.

Too bad PS TV never got Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon or I would have bought that and renewed Prime.

DilMan33

#26

DilMan33 said:

@stalepie2

They fund it through the collective cash pile that the subscriptions add up to.

It's not a give-away, the publishers do a deal with Sony for a pot of the cash collected through subscriptions. You have to renew your subscription every set time in order for continual access for the acquired content.

I don't know how the model works, but roughly I say the more new subscribers they get, the likelihood of better content. Worth remembering if a large number of subscribers decide not to renew and lose that content for a lengthy time period and then re-subscribe again: the newer pot of money goes to acquire the newer content! It all depends on the cycle of subscriptions as well as Sony's management skills.

Personally, it's not for me, as Sony has enough sales throughout the year!

adf86

#27

adf86 said:

@get2sammyb Offering a couple of movies would be a neat edition, automatic Beta access to upcoming games. Indie games are always going to be on Plus cos it gives them massive exposure. If like I expect that the likes of Ubisoft & Activision follow EA and run their own service then there's less need for them to put their games on Plus. I also think if Sony want PS Now to take off then putting in some kind of perk to Plus subscribers cos the pricing modal isn't there for now.

Gmork___

#28

Gmork___ said:

i love ps+. i will never understand the complaints against it. as for what sony could add to it.....hmmmm well.... the only thing that really makes sense is making sony brand 5TB HDs and being able to order them from the ps store at an insane ps+ discount of course. the only problem i have is the fact that my 1tb hd is too smal for my ps3 backlog, dont get me started on my ps4s puny memory lol, im already juggling games around on it.

Ewflex

#30

Ewflex said:

I complained alot but at the end of the day I payed only $30 for my first yr with psn plus. I do think PS3 had better freebies but a few good games came ps4 way to justify the psn plus. Second son light in January is a good value and some of the indies this yr were ok like outlast, dead nation, strider, pixel junk and velocity 2x but i do want more AAA Games next yr.
I've been looking for a discount on psn + before renewing and hope PSN gives a discount of its service before my 12/16 renew deadline. Looks like GameStop want be offering the psn+ $20 off like it did with ps4 launch. I'm sure Sony is preventing anyone giving major discounts on its service. They just wanted to entice us to get it at launch to get us hooked.

mitcHELLspawn

#32

mitcHELLspawn said:

@DrClayman that actually sounds awesome. Especially with the huge amount of movies/shows song owns the rights to. That being said though they already have crackle which is pretty cool for a free service.

bepcsngsf

#33

bepcsngsf said:

Got it for PS4 only, and it really didn't do anything except tide me over until mid-year when games of interest started coming out.

charlesnarles

#34

charlesnarles said:

In all fairness, I bought the Arkham trilogy on disc before it was free, so they do offer games I'd buy otherwise. Tomb Raider and Metro too, I bought it on PS4, but still... to me personally, in NA, it's a good deal (frustratingly, I just happened to buy those games foolishly early, apparently)
Ps. Ps4 multiplayer!!!!

Peterdavid123

#35

Peterdavid123 said:

Best investment YET for me. Especially if you have both PS4, PS3 and Vita Since it gives away free games AND big sales on all 3 systems for each month. Honestly, compare to the competitor, Sony killed it! Str8up!

However, I do believe Sony can make the better out of it (even tho it's already Excellent imho ). Like instead of given people 6-7 games per month AND big sales. Why not just focused on 2-3 games but ALL critical acclaims or just one of the must-have titles like GTA V, Skyrim, TLOU, Uncharted, God of War. etc.
OR forget about free games and give us SUPER HUGE SALES like Steam sales or even better. I mean, it's the main reason why so many people love Steam . So yeah, why not ?

Rogue76

#36

Rogue76 said:

@adf86 the show "Powers" is going to be available for PS + members. For free. The entire first season. I'm really excited about this show too!

adf86

#38

adf86 said:

@Rogue76 Powers looks interesting, although Sony to my knowledge haven't announced it will available for Plus subscribers in the UK.

Hetsumani

#39

Hetsumani said:

Of course it's a good service, I've been a member for so long that when I finally get a Vita I won't have to buy games for a long time.

rastamadeus

#40

rastamadeus said:

Have to say having tried Injustice last night that it's probably the worst game ever given away with PS+. For such a hyped-up fighting game it's so slow, boring and clunky. Netheralm deserve some massive credit for taking some of the best characters ever and wrecking them. A truly special skill that.

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