In the first part of this article, we took a detailed look at what PlayStation Plus is and the basic aspects of it, like what PlayStation consoles it covers (and how many of each), how much it costs and some of the benefits it offers.
In this last part of the entry, we’ll delve into the specifics of the most important aspect of PlayStation Plus: The actual games that it provides subscribers free of charge and how good (or bad) they are. Then we’ll take a look at some aspects you should know about PlayStation Plus if you want to make the most out of it depending on your region and on your gaming preferences.
Ready? Let’s get started.
The Instant Game Collection (IGC)
Easily the best reason to join PlayStation Plus, the Instant Game Collection (IGC) is a constantly updated selection of PS4, PS3, PS Vita and PSP games that are available for users completely free of charge every month.
The IGC is updated monthly and has at least 12 free games at any one time, although it usually has a bit more than that. For example, these are the games available for free at this moment.
In fact, during 2013, PlayStation Plus subscribers in both the U.S. and Europe had more than 60 free games via this service across all platforms. You can find a complete list of all the free games that have been available via PlayStation Plus so far here (U.S. list).
Now, whether you consider the retail value of these games or even their lowest price at some point due to discounts and such, it is not hard to see that the annual collection of games that a user can gather can reach the hundreds of dollars with ease.
Cool Tip: To have one of the free games from the IGC always available for you, you don’t need to actually download it. Just head to the PSN store website and purchase it. After that it will always remain on your Download List (accessible from all your devices) ready for you to download and enjoy at any time.
But, Are the Games Any Good?
Overall, the games on the IGC are very good in quality. However, it is more complex than that.
You see, the IGC varies from region to region depending on where you subscribed to PlayStation Plus.
Historically, the offerings of the IGC in Europe have always been a bit better than the games offered to U.S. subscribers, with European subscribers getting more titles with a Metacritic score (a website that aggregates media and game reviews) of 80 or above when compared to their U.S. counterparts.
That aside though, the vast majority of the games offered by PlayStation Plus are above a Metacritic score of 70, which is considered good. Take a look at the image below to get a better picture of the quality of the games offered by the IGC. You can check out the full size image here.
Note: If you plan to subscribe to PS Plus on a region other than the U.S. or Europe, you might want to check the offerings of the IGC in your particular country.
I personally know many gamers that live across the globe but have PSN accounts from the U.S. due to its excellent offerings. Same for Europe accounts.
You can take it even further by having a PSN account on both the U.S. and Europe, and choosing to subscribe to the European PlayStation Plus service.
The reason some gamers do this is because several new games are available first on the U.S. PSN store and can take up to months to reach the European one. But at the same time, these gamers prefer the game selection of the European IGC, so they subscribe to PlayStation Plus there, and the fact that you can change accounts on your consoles (PlayStation consoles are all region-free) makes this perfectly viable.
Are There Any Downsides to PlayStation Plus ?
While not entirely deal breakers, there are a couple of aspects about PlayStation Plus that might put off some gamers.
The first is that, while the games on the IGC are available at no cost, they are only yours as long as you remain a subscriber. If for some reason you unsubscribe, the free games you ‘purchased’ (games you placed on your Download List) will remain there and become active again as soon as you re-subscribe. So you never actually lose them.
The second drawback to PlayStation Plus is that it is mandatory if you own a PlayStation 4 and want to access online multiplayer modes in your games. Not all games offer this feature though, but if you like to play online with your friends on your PS4, you will have to subscribe.
Do I Need To Subscribe to PlayStation Plus To Access Media Apps Like Hulu or Netflix?
No. Contrary to other services, all media apps on PlayStation consoles are not blocked by a PlayStation Plus subscription. In fact, I’ve had no issues using Netflix, Crunchyroll or any other media app without being subscribed in the past.
And that’s about it. We hope that after reading this, you will be able to make the best choice possible if you are a PlayStation gamer considering PlayStation Plus. It really is an awesome service and more people should know about it. Enjoy!