Sony to launch premium online service; is it worth it?

Posted by Mike Luttrell

One of the less inspiring parts of Sony's E3 presentation today was the introduction of a $50/year subscription service that gives gamers access to a handful of special and exclusive content, but there's nothing super exciting about it.

Called "Playstation Plus," it brings back memories of the PS3's Qore, a "digital magazine" on the console that promised gamers almost exactly the same kind of content: early access to betas, exclusive game demos, and even the occasional free downloadable game. After gamers plopped down $25 a year for that service, many of them were disappointed with a growing lack of enticing content. Thus the idea of Playstation Plus is, first of all, questionable. These features were supposed to be offered to those Qore subscribers.

The Plus service will hopefully have a bit more selection of content. For example, users will be able to have complete access to certain games for a period of time, after which they'll be asked to purchase it. Plus users will also get special discounts on the PS3 and PSP digital download platforms.

To make this service have any value, Sony will need to either add some other sort of incentive, or make the selection of content very huge. The $50/year price tag is the same as Xbox Live Gold's cost, and the difference between free Xbox Live and XBL Gold is very substantial.