Sony is taking a page out of Microsoft’s book as it continues to do battle with the company’s Xbox One video game console and Xbox Live online service. This week the company announced PlayStation Plus Specials, deep discounts on games that it hopes will keep PS4 players subscribed and those who don’t have a new console yet interested.
Sony announced the new PlayStation Plus Specials in a blog post on its PlayStation Blog in the United States early this week. It’s the details included in this blog post that reveal ongoing details about PlayStation Plus Specials and the deals PlayStation Plus subscribers can take advantage of this week through the program.
PlayStation Plus Specials seems purpose-built to rival Microsoft’s own Xbox Live Deals with Gold. At least the raw details are the same. Each week Sony will discount different titles and pieces of content for said titles. In order to take advantage of the savings PS4 owners will need a PlayStation Plus subscription. Sony says that PlayStation Plus specials will include “top titles at a sweet discount,” a possible dig at how some games included in Microsoft’s Xbox Live Deals with Gold promotion are years old.
To their credit, Sony is delivering new PlayStation Plus specials to users of all its major consoles. Listed in this week’s deals include titles for the PS4, PS3 and PS Vita handheld.
PlayStation Plus costs $49.99 a year.
The slate of deals included in the promotion for this week is pretty extensive. Chivalry: Medieval Warfare, Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin, Dragon Ball Xenoverse, Dynasty Warriors 8 Empires, Helldivers Turn Up the Heat Edition, Bloodborne, The Order: 1886, Atelier Ayesha Plus: The Alchemist of Dusk, Hyperdevotion Noire: Goddess Black Heart and Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines are all on sale for the next week. The most notable discount in the group is Bloodborne, which is $59.99 normally and going for just $47.99. Bloodborne only recently arrived on store shelves. Again, these deals only last for a single week. As such, they’ll expire on Tuesday, June 1st.
PlayStation Plus Specials are tangible proof that so much more goes into making a console buying decision than just hardware. In theory, offering deep discounts through PlayStation Plus on games puts the PlayStation Network on a better competitive footing with Xbox Live, not the Xbox One console itself. Previously, Sony would post sales to the PlayStation Store, but they were spread out and could happen at any moment. Nailing down deals gives Sony something to point to when users are thinking about signing up for PlayStation Plus.
Though it’s clearly a move to compete on equal ground, there’s nothing shameful about it. Microsoft has borrowed from Sony’s PlayStation Plus notebook a few times. First, it began offering free digital downloads to anyone and everyone with an Xbox Live Gold subscription for the Xbox 360. Those games were for users to keep, but when it brought the program to the Xbox One it made them fully dependent on maintaining an Xbox Live Gold subscription — just like on PlayStation. Microsoft also removed Xbox apps from being a perk of Xbox Live Gold, something that Sony never charged users for to begin with.
Besides discounts, both Xbox Live and PlayStation Network offer subscribers access to online multiplayer. Subscribing is the only way to play with your friends online in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare for example.
How good a deal PlayStation Plus Specials are depends heavily on whether you’re already planning to buy new titles and how often you take advantage of them. That being said, if you’re already planning to play online with the PlayStation Network, they’re just an added perk to something you already enjoyed.