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RANT: PSN + Update

A while back I signed up for PSN+. At the time it was still in a slightly fledgling state, and had only just introduced cloud saving (albeit in a pretty archaic fashion). Well, that was about half a year ago, and anyone who is familiar with the Playstation Network knows, Sony continually changes the damn thing, most time for the better. So consider this a recap, and a pros and cons breakdown of my first six or so months as a PSN+ subscriber.

For all the nay-sayers and skeptics, PSN + is really OH MY GOD WHAT'S WRONG WITH HER EYES!!!!!!!!

The main reason I bought into PSN+ was for the cloud saves. What started as a manual process of individually selecting saved games and copying them to the Sony cloud one at a time, has been streamlined significantly. Now I simply tell my PS3 at the start of a game if I want it to save to the cloud. It asks me if I want to enable cloud saving the first time I boot up a game, and never again (as far as I've seen). If I say "yeah, save for me" the PS3 will automatically update any future save data to the cloud at a time that I dictate. All I do is set an allocated "update" time, and the PS3 automatically boots up, saves to the cloud and shuts down without me having to worry. The next time I turn on the PS3, I am greeted by a message telling me which game saves were uploaded to the all powerful cloud.

But PSN+ goes further than just updating save games. It will also now patch any games you have played, EVER(I guess it checks to see what games have save data, or install data on your machine). So for example if an Uncharted 3 patch came out today, but I didn't turn on my PS3 til next week, I would be greeted by a message telling me that the UC3 patch was downloaded an installed. Time saver for sure! The flip side to this is that if you have old game data, or rented games and have saves, they are getting patched too. When my HDD is full of Duke Nukem Forever patches I will probably be cursing the auto patch feature, but until then I'll let it ride.

Along with patching, Playstation trophies are also synced. While not that spectacular of a feature, it can lead to some freak out moments. For example at a New Years eve party, Almasy's iPhone told him that my facebook status had updated, and that I had just received Batman trophies, while we were all in the same room, nowhere near the PS3, playing a life and death game of Cranium. Technological mind fuck.

True Story.

PSN+ also seems to auto download exclusive betas now. I came home one day to find StarHawk beta waiting for me. This is cool I suppose. Except I didn't care about the StarHawk beta. Delete. I'm not sure if I can opt to not get these things, hopefully there is a way. Then, not long after my amazing StarHawk Beta experience, I turned on my PS3 to find that I had downloaded season whatever, episode dick all, of "The Tester". Uh, no thanks.... Delete. I'm starting to see a downside to this auto download business...

Now apart from the cloud and the other automated download-and-install Skynetish overlordery that PSN+ offers, there are also the promised discounts that come each month. This is where I am heartily impressed. It's not just the garbage that gets discounted. Many totally money worthy games get anywhere from 5-15 bucks knocked right off the price. 3rd Strike I believe was only $10 for PSN+ users, and various other noteworthy titles enjoy a healthy discount.

Not only that, there are tons of completely free full games! Resident Evil 1-3 for PS1, Tomb Raider: Underworld, Farcry 2, Spyro, Sonic and Streets of Rage, all completely free! I gotta say, PSN+ is not too shabby in this regard. Now the caveat is that when I stop paying for PSN+ I lose all these games. But at $50 a year, I could essentially never need to buy another game, I could just live off of playing games of the past, and looking at poorly drawn dynamic themes! With PSN+, I feel like I pay for the cloud saving, and get the bonus of all the freebie games and discounts on stuff I'd be buying anyways. Oh yeah, Simpsons arcade game? 100% free!

So that about wraps it up. Consider me smitten. PSN+ has paid for itself already for me simply through the free games, and discounts. I'm not super into betas and whatnot, but it's a cool little "extra" and does make the service feel like I'm paying for the added perks of an online service, not the essential stuff (xbox...). So when time comes to re-up for PSN+ later this year, I will be taking the plunge again, and if you are serious about your PS3 gaming, I would highly recommend you join up as well!

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