When PlayStation Plus was first released back in 2010, the concept was fresh. An annual subscription cost about the same as the price of a new game. You got an assorted mix of back catalog and indie games on PS3, PlayStation Vita, and even PSP each month. It was a good deal.
Fast forward nine years later. The shine has worn off on the service as Sony instituted a scheme where if you don’t pay for PlayStation Plus, you lose access to multiplayer on PS4. To add insult to injury, PS3, Vita, and PSP titles have been dropped, and the company hasn’t replaced the four lost titles with either more PS4 games or PSVR games. Sony has also dropped the Vote to Play program, which democratized the choice for next month’s title.
To be sure, the lineup in recent months has seen an improvement. They’ve offered The Last of Us Remastered, Detroit: Become Human, Batman: Arkham Knight, and Darksiders 3. But, again, the value proposition is not the same as it was in the program’s early years.
The upcoming release of PS5 in 2020 is a good opportunity for Sony to improve the service and make it something that people actually want to have instead of feeling forced to subscribe just to play multiplayer. I have two suggestions: add PSVR titles to replace the loss of PS3/Vita games and add the ability to share games with friends and family without needing to log in to your account on their console.
Adding new PSVR titles each month would serve dual purposes. It would both act as a token of goodwill to fans, and it would cement PlayStation VR’s status as the leading virtual reality platform. That would instantly give PS5 a competitive edge.
As for game sharing, it’s a feature that would add value to a service that has markedly lost value over time. Steam has Family Library Sharing. It doesn’t even require a paid subscription. The least Sony can do is allow people who buy their games digitally to share those games with friends and family.
While game sharing alone would be a major selling point for PS5, packaging it with PlayStation Plus would give fans a feature that they want while preserving a stream of revenue. It would be a marketing coup.
Now, to be clear, I am not suggesting that the games on PlayStation Plus should be available to you and all of your friends. What I am suggesting is Sony put a system in place where games that you purchased digitally are available to friends and family for free to play when they want, so long as you maintain an active PlayStation Plus account and authorize them to borrow a game from you.
That seems like a fair deal to me. It’d make me want to actually renew my PlayStation Plus subscription instead of groan every time it lapses and I have to buy it again just to play multiplayer.