Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Vita's Playstation Plus is Fantastic

When Playstation Plus was rumored to be heading to the Vita, and even after it was announced, everyone seemed to sort of tentatively wait to see in just what context it would, in fact, emerge in.  When it became obvious that it would be in a similar fashion as the PS3 iteration, with free games, discounts, Cloud Storage and automatic updates/synching, hopes were kindled, but cynicism even moreso.  It was mere moments following the breaking of the news, the outlining of the preliminary features that speculation was abound in terms of the 'free games' aspect, all wondering at the varied ways with which Sony could pull value away from Playstation Plus by splitting it across both platforms.  People were already imagining a world where the Instant Game Collection was still 12 games large, split across PS3 and Vita with the lion's share of the titles being for the former.

As you can see above, this is not the case.

It's almost with a certain level of smug satisfaction that I look on the titles offered, and their number, and consider just how many people just don't know what to do at this point.  That there is real and tangible value with enough meat to it that you can sink your teeth into it generously.  Not only do you get access to the same amount of games on the PS3, but an additional six games on the Vita now that, much like its console counterpart, will be shuffled out with other titles overtime to create a rather robust library for those who stick around and keep subscribed.  Being that, after being attached to your account, you can download a game for the PS Plus price of free even after it rotates out of being free there's a really hard argument to make against it beyond actually worrying about what you buy, in the case of not wanting to spend money only to get the same game for free later on.  It's an understandable fear, for sure, but one that I find is mitigated by the other upsides the program has to offer.

Personally, on the Vita side of the games, I already own half of them, and really, -really- came close to biting on two of the ones I don't own.  Combined, the games that I own set me back a cool $100 ($50 for Uncharted, $40 for Gravity Rush and $10 for FFT) so that does kind of sting, but being that I buy physically, I still have the cushion of getting a free digital version which, as we all know from other forms of media, not just games, you are not automatically entitled to simply because you bought the physical version of it at some vague point previous.  It's a method of 'future-proofing' so to speak, since everyone has been very lenient on allowing you to 'own' the games you purchase digitally, even if the company that sold it eventually loses the rights to actually sell it.  It hasn't happened a lot, but it has happened - developers and publishers letting selling rights to a game expire, meaning that it has to thusly be removed from a digital storefront in terms of purchasing.  If you -have- purchased it, it remains still in your download list for an undetermined amount of time that may truly be 'forever', and as we move further and further into the Digital Distribution future, all we can do is amass titles in a digital way and hope that the future has a place to play them.

For the games that I don't own, however, this is a straight-up double-tap of awesome since not only do we have a release date for Jet Set Radio HD Vita, but it's next week and it's free.  As if I didn't have enough to play as it is, now I get a game that was already prepped for purchase (I literally have left $10+ in my wallet specifically for the purchase of JSR) thrust into my lap for the price of nothing, meaning that money can then be put towards something else should I desire.  And I do, but one thing at a time.  I slowly realized with a growing horror that I have no less than half a dozen PS3 games alone that I want to play before years-end (though, I'll settle for Final Fantasy XII-2 and finishing Yakuza:  Dead Souls) and I have the bulk of Ragnarok Odyssey yet to conquer as well as the entirety of Assassin's Creed:  Liberation.  And then I have Persona 4 Golden awaiting my money next week as well as Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale because I have very poor impulse control when it comes to Cross-Buy, I've learned.  I think what I'm saying, as I've said all year (no seriously, it's a running gag) is that I just don't have enough time for all this gaming, goddamnit and that depresses me.

Mutant Blobs Attack!! and Wipeout have also had my interest for a while, but I've simply never figured on having time for the former, and I just....really don't like racing games.  For the price of 'free', however, I think I'm willing to give Wipeout a shot because I just might like it.  Maybe not, and I doubt very much that I'll sink a lot of time into it in any case, but this is pretty much a brand new world to explore.  Being that things are a bit more flexible in terms of downloading when it comes to my Vita, I feel completely comfortable in letting it go to pull down a gig or two over the course of the ten hours it inevitably takes, so whereas I haven't really experienced any free PS3 games, I will be experiencing the shit out of the Vita ones.  Doubly so because of the cloud storage that Plus offers, though I suspect I'll end up crumbling and purchasing myself a 32 Gig memory stick at some point in the future.  I almost need to, I think, as I believe my 16 gig is a little off, corrupting things with little warning.  That is why, by the way, I haven't mentioned LittleBigPlanet Vita in a while - my save is corrupted, and I really am not going to replay the entire game right now.

The moral of the story in any case is that Playstation Plus continues to be one of the better, if not one of the best, member services out there by sheer bang:buck ratio.  Even if you're a stalwart and claiming that the games are not, themselves free because the exist behind a paywall, the basic math just throws everything off.  For $50 that I paid a few months ago, I will, next week, be able to play Jet Set Radio HD, Mutant Blobs Attack!! and Wipeout 2048 without paying a cent for either game.  I don't know what Wipeout retails for now and I'm not going to bother looking it up, but I assume, all told, those three games come in around or under $50.  I have thusly made up my investment.  Next month when a game or two moves out of the rotation and is replaced with another, that is another game where my money is safely unspent on it, able to be put towards something else.  And that's just on the games part - the cloud storage is going to be a goddamn invaluable tool, especially for those out there who really, really truly don't want to spring for a 32 Gig memory stick.  Need space?  Throw your data on the Cloud, delete the bubble, bam free space.  And you can come back to it at any point in the future after a redownload.

Well played.  Well played all around.

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