"Elevate your game" - that's how the slogan goes, and now that Sony has finally launched the new PlayStation Plus premium service, we can now see what all the hype has been about.
When a new service enters the scene, we can expect it to put its best foot forward to entice more patronage. Sony has provided some incentives, like the free downloadable copy of LittleBigPlanet for Europe for those who sign up early. But as far as the actual service goes, a lot came with the week's Store update.
So far, the larger chunk of the benefits you'll be getting would be from the downloadable PSN games. Games such as Fat Princess and the Tik-Creat creations have all been discounted for subscribers, with their downloadable content reduced to being freebies, while games such as WipEout HD and the PSOne classic, Rally Cross would be free to download.
Technically-speaking, you could save a lot of money if you buy and download everything. You could potentially equal the US$ 17.99 that you spend on a three-month subscription in the first week alone - minus the ones you already got before and the ones you're not even remotely interested in.
Then there's the benefit of being able to play full games as free demos. That's now possible for inFamous, but the game has unfortunately been in the market for a long time and a demo now isn't exactly the beckoning prize that would make you sign up. Perhaps Sony is looking to put a big-name up and comer to be tried out this way, but it's not there as of yet.
One good way to "Elevate your game" would be the inclusion of cross game chat, which unfortunately did not come with the program's launch. The good news is, Sony may still have plans of adding the service at a later date. Plus may help the elevation with free subscriptions to Qore, but that's pretty much in can-do-without territory.
Given the lineup of discounted titles and available freebies, it doesn't appear that even the three-month subscription would be worth your dollar. Yes you have discounts, but they're limited to games that: A) you've already purchased; B) you are not intending to buy; or C) have been - or likely to be - discounted anyway. Yes you have freebies,too, but it's a limited selection, and there are only so much themes and avatars that you'd actually categorize as worth the money you signed up with.
So far, PlayStation Plus only seems to be a glorified PSN discount card more than anything. It encourages you to purchase more from the Store to take advantage of the discounts that you paid for, but in the long run, that's a Plus for Sony, not for you. Perhaps it's too early in the day to be passing judgement on the new initiative, but from what I've seen, it's definitely not worth the cash.