Since 2010, PlayStation Plus has been an optional yearly subscription on PlayStation consoles that gives gamers a slew of benefits including discounts on games and movies, 10GB of free cloud storage for game saves, and access to the ever-growing Instant Game Collection. For many PlayStation 4 users, Plus is more than a simple luxury considering that online play for nearly every title on the PS4 requires an active PlayStation Plus subscription to work at all. It's because of all of these reasons that, as of June 2016, there were over 20.8 million active PlayStation Plus subscribers across all three PlayStation platforms.
Until now, a year of PlayStation Plus has been reasonably priced at $49.99 USD for 12 months, $17.99 USD for 3 months, and $9.99 USD for one month. That being said, the time has come to cough up a little bit more dough for those "free" perks. Starting September 22, PlayStation will match the current price of Xbox Live Gold by raising the prices to $59.99 USD for 12 months and $24.99 USD for three months, while the one month subscription cost will remain at $9.99 USD.
While many are upset over the idea of a price increase, the fact of the matter is that $59.99 USD is still going to give access to 72 games per year if Sony continues supporting the Instant Game Collection for the PlayStation 3 and the PlayStation Vita alongside the PlayStation 4 as they have to date. Although no specific reason was given for the price hike, the official statement from the PlayStation Blog seemed to pin "current market conditions" as the culprit.
As with most gaming-related announcements, the price increase has led to speculation in the community regarding potential changes to the service going forward. Can we expect some bigger-name titles to be free for Plus subscribers the coming months? Is access to the PlayStation Now collection going to be included with a subscription to Plus? Only time will tell, but it seems that this price hike is too close to the release date of PlayStation VR to be a coincidence. If Sony were to include one free virtual reality title per month, even if it were a smaller indie title, consumers would likely be more willing to invest in PS VR technology earlier on to take advantage of their free titles.
Only time will tell if Plus subscribers are going to be getting more bang for their buck with some new goodies or if this is nothing more than a simple price hike. However, the value in the PlayStation Plus program is clearly evident - especially for those that play across the PS3, PS4, and PlayStation Vita. Online play on the PlayStation 4 is obviously the major selling point for the service, but included access to new hand-picked games every month from a variety of genres gives players the chance to find a new favorite they very well may have overlooked otherwise.
What do you think? Do the guys over at PlayStation have something new up their sleeve that justifies forcing long-time fans to cough up a few more bucks? Share your own thoughts or theories down below!