Online gaming has been the most significant change for the game industry in the past decade. In the midst of this change has come the rise of various online services unique to each platform. While many have praised such things as Xbox Live for its established infrastructure, many have neglected to grasp the full picture that is gaming. Among all the different services provided by various companies, PlayStation Plus from Sony is the most misunderstood and rewarding of the bunch. While many out there would succumb to blind loyalty and dependency to justify avoiding becoming a Plus Member, those who take the dive into the service will discover a program that rewards the loyalty of gamers for simply doing what they do best, being gamers.
It is very easy to debate on the morals of paying for a service when comparing PS Plus to something like Xbox Live. A stable online experience from any sort of service is indeed important to any paying customer. Yet the stability for both Xbox Live and PS Plus is only one part of the pie, there are many more aspects to look at and consider when taking into account the value one gets from such online services. Rather than becoming something that is a mandatory addition to the total experience on a gaming console, PS Plus is more of an extra option. The core experience of the online play or services is not jeopardized because of the lack of being a Plus Member; anyone would still be able to fully experience their games with or without the service. There is no sense of penalization or punishment for deciding to opt out of utilizing the service.
What PlayStation Plus really is in its purest form is a loyalty program. Think of this like ordering a steak dinner with extra sauce, where you can still enjoy the food with or without the extra sauce added to the mix. Yet should you decide to go with the option, you are rewarded for doing so with even more flavor. And that is the beauty of PS Plus that too many people tend to overlook and undermine, the rewarding factor. Being a Plus Member allows one access to titles free of charge and early access to demos, in addition to various console dashboard themes and avatars. While it is annoying to some that the ownership of the free games is over should a Plus membership expire, they vastly overlook the amount of different content available over time, which when examined can exceed well over the $50 price tag for a full years membership.
The rewards and freedom of choice is still not the complete package offered to gamers for being a part of PlayStation Plus. There is an underlying feeling of exploration and exposure for most hardcore gamers that jump head first into the service. Many games that would have otherwise gone unnoticed have the opportunity to get more exposure through a service like PS Plus. Gamers would be more inclined to try out newer and unfamiliar titles being offered free before they pledge their hard earned dollars to it. And while paying $50 for the year is money out of their pockets, they are getting the access to more titles, both unfamiliar and well known, through the service that will make them more exposed to different titles they would have otherwise never turned an eye to. This could potentially help the developers of such games get more notoriety and possibly better sales numbers for future titles.
PlayStation Plus is a service that more gamers need to jump into. The rewards for being a part of the service are a huge positive incentive that very few other companies offer. And while other services rely on the dependency to never be locked out of the ability to play games online, PS Plus rather encourages gamers for their loyalty to the brand. Offering gamers more is a strong point to any situation, but outright giving gamers more for their continued support goes even further. PlayStation Plus is a service where the gamer is welcomed to be a gamer rather than a customer, and that is something that is gravely unappreciated.