PlayStation Plus is an unusual service. Free downloadable games; free PlayStation 1 and 2 classics; access to PlayStation 3 retail game demos that are actually the full games with time-limited access; deep discounts on certain titles; early demo access. It’s a tempting package, but hardly an essential one. Sony is committed to changing PlayStation Plus into something that many people want to pay for rather than a niche crowd. To find out what that is, the company has gone to the source, issuing surveys that hint at what PlayStation Plus may offer in the future. The package may be a whole lot more tempting in the future.
A PlayStation Plus survey sent to customers last week and reprinted at IGN detailed significant new perks that could be coming to the service in the near future. Rather than the current PlayStation Plus which is identical for all users and costs $49.99 per year or $17.99 for three months, the survey suggests that Sony will offer tiered subscription plans of varying costs. These tiers include new monthly payment plans, or even an annual commitment plan that has you pay in monthly installments rather than a single lump sum for the whole year you’re contracted for.
What about those sweet new perks though? The first is access to free full PlayStation 3 games, which is to say digital releases of games also released on Blu-ray discs at retail. PlayStation Plus subscriptions give access to free classic titles and Playstation Network games as well as the aforementioned PlayStation 3 full game demos, but not full PS3 games.
The second new perk is free access to Call of Duty Elite, Activision Blizzard’s own premium subscription service for the popular shooter series. This would be a powerful lure for Sony, pulling in both PlayStation 3 users reticent to spend on PlayStation Plus as well as Call of Duty players interested in getting more perks for their dollar.
Microsoft has more than 25 million Xbox Live Gold subscribers, which breaks down to an estimated $1.5 billion in revenue every year. That’s a rough number, given that so many Gold subscribers pay promotional rates rather than the $60 per year standard, but rest assured, Microsoft pulls in enough cold hard cash from its premium online service that Sony would have been crazy to not offer a somewhat similar product. Since Sony couldn’t rightly start asking people to pay for online multiplayer after offering it for free for years, they had to come up with something and so the oddity that is PlayStation Plus was born. The company’s struggled to make PlayStation Plus a must have to date, but this survey suggests Sony’s taking strides to change that for good without having to charge for online play.
Both Sony and Activision Blizzard have declined to comment on the survey, saying only that they have no specific announcements at this time.