I have long been a multi-console owner. I own and enjoy both a XBox 360 and a PlayStation 3. However, one thing that I’ve always enjoyed much more on my xbox is their xbox live system. Sony fanboys like to rave about PlayStation Network (PSN) being free, but I would much rather pay a nominal fee like Xbox Live has to get a significantly better system.
So, when Sony announced PSN+, a paid upgrade to the PlayStation Network, I was very excited. Right away the rumors, and in many cases these were direct from Sony themselves, started to swarm about what PSN+ would include. At 2010’s electronic gaming expo, Sony seemed to confirm many of these rumors. In addition to discounts on downloadable items, we heard of two other big features. The first was four person cross-game voice chat, and the second was one hour trials of every game on the PS3.
Now, here we are, several months into the life of PSN+, and cross game voice chat is nowhere to be found. No one knows if it is in the pipeline or not. On the xbox, it’s so easy to get online and get a game with friends together by jumping into a cross-game voice chat together and going from there. This is something that would be a huge boon to the community feeling of PSN, and is something that both Sony and its consumers would continue to benefit from going forward. This is the biggest potential improvement to PSN+, and it feels like we’re so close to getting it.
The other big rumor was the one hour full game trials. Originally it sounded like these were going to be available for all PS3 games, which sounded great. Instead, what we actually get is a one hour full game trial for one rotating game every month. The first month gave us inFamous, an almost two year old game that already has a long demo out on the PlayStation Network. To make this feature a selling point, we need more of these games available, and we need them to be more recent games. Bringing along a one hour full game trial of Gran Turismo 5 (which has already been released in digital form before with Prologue) would be a huge step in the right direction.
The PSN+ is worth the $50 per year it will cost you. It offers some cool downloadable content at discounted prices, and the ability to have your PS3 download updates automatically while in standby mode is worth the price of admission in and of itself. However, these relatively simple additions are things that would really push the service over the top, and make it the PlayStation Network’s version of a killer app, to the point where it becomes a standard that no PlayStation owner can be without.
Whether you prefer Xbox Live or PSN, either will work great for the upcoming hit, Batman Arkham City [http://batmanarkhamcity.org]. Check out our news blog about the game or join our Batman Arkham City Forum [http://batmanarkhamcity.org/forum/] today!