It appears that Microsoft’s decision to improve its own free games program for the Xbox One might have pushed arch-rival Sony to do the same. Starting next month, Sony says it will give users who have a PlayStation Plus subscription to free titles each month per console.
Sony announced the sweeping changes to its PlayStation Plus subscription service early this afternoon, with Vice President of Platforms Marketing, John Koller calling the excitement Sony is seeing for its PS4 gaming console “tremendous” and noting that PlayStation Plus is essential to the PS4 experience.
Though the PS4 will benefit from this the most, Koller also confirmed that PS3 and PS Vita users can also expect two free titles for those platforms as well. Effectively Sony is giving users who own all three, six free games a month, every month. Though the change is certainly good for users – more games are more games any way you look at it – it’s particularly interesting that Sony chose now to announce the change in PlayStation Plus benefits.
Roughly three weeks ago Microsoft stunned the gaming community when it made landmark changes to its own subscription services for the Xbox One and Xbox 360.
Starting in June, Xbox One and Xbox 360 users with a subscription to Microsoft’s Xbox Live service get two free games a month. Up until now, Microsoft had confirmed that Xbox One users would get free games as a part of Xbox Live Gold, however the company hadn’t shared details about how the entire system would work.
Xbox 360 users will continue to get two free games that they can keep forever, meanwhile Microsoft has shifted the Xbox One version of the promotion to be more like what Sony offers. Going forward Xbox One users will get two free games, but those games will stop working once they cancel their Xbox Live Gold subscription, just like they would if users had a PS4 and PlayStation Plus. Microsoft announced that it would stop requiring users to have an Xbox Live Gold subscription before watching videos or listening to music through the console’s assortment of apps too. Again, that’s something that Sony’s PS4 already does.
In addition to adding titles, Sony is also adjusting the window each game will be available to make it easier for users to remember. Starting in July, all free PlayStation Plus titles will be available for users to download the first Tuesday of each month. Sony hopes that the change will take some of the guesswork out of knowing when free title disappears from the PlayStation Network. PS Vita handheld users will get Terraria and Mutant Mudds Deluxe in June while PS3 users will get Sly Copper: Thieves of Time and NBA 2k14. Finally, PS4 users will get Trine 2 and Pixeljunk Shooter Ultimate.
All told, Sony is making a very decent deceision. The free games that users get with PlayStation Plus is why many users have their eye on a PS4 instead of an Xbox One. Until Microsoft announced its own set of sweeping changes, Sony’s subscription service was a much better deal for users who had their eye on the most up-to-date games. Microsoft never admitted to it, but when it announced those recent changes to Xbox Live it also said that requiring users to have an Xbox Live gold subscription to play the free games would allow them to giveaway more recent titles.
Now, there’s just really one big difference separating the PS4 and the Xbox One’s online services. Despite these changes, a PlayStation Plus subscription still costs $49.99 for an entire year. That’s $10 less than Xbox Live Gold does. The services are required for multiplayer gaming on Microsoft’s and Sony’s latest console.