The PS Plus Price Raise And The Threat of Sony Possibly Derailing From Its Vision

Why Sony may be headed for a relapse.

Posted By | On 14th, Aug. 2015 Under Article, Editorials | Follow This Author @Pramath1605

It was something that managed to slip under the radar of most, but it was still a portend of things to come- last week, Sony announced that they were increasing the price of PS+ in European territories. To be clear, the price of only the month and three month long subscriptions was hiked (the annual subscription still costs the same), and it’s only in European territories, but it was yet another small development added to a long list of similar small developments that is indicative of a larger, troubling trend- slowly, Sony may be starting to relapse into its older ways, the same ways that made the PS3 such a disaster at launch.

Sony’s success this generation has been predicated on their gamer friendly vision- their mantra to deliver a no nonsense, powerful console to developers and players, that puts games at the front and center. Contrast this with the gimmickry of Nintendo’s Wii U, or the media aspirations of Microsoft’s Xbox One, and it becomes clear to see why gamers flocked to the PS4. But, nearly two years into the life of the system, the PS4 has not yet lived up to its original promise, and Sony seems to be losing focus.

PSPlus Logo

"It may have been a very limited price raise, but what if it was indicative of a larger trend?"

Just consider the following- within the last year, Sony has made it very clear that there will not be any future AAA support for the handheld. This comes just 2-3 years after the launch of the system, and after selling people on a $250 premium handheld on the promise of the console experience on the go, and then relegating it to being just an indie machine. Sony’s own first party output for the PS4 thus far has been mediocre – internally developed AAA games that have come out for the system so far are Killzone Shadow Fall, Knack, inFamous: Second Son, LittleBigPlanet 3, and DriveClub. The best thing that can be said about those games is that some were inoffensive (inFamous, LittleBigPlanet), while others were downright appalling at the very worst (Knack, Killzone). In addition to these five games, Sony has also released two games with external partners (Bloodborne with From Software, and The Order 1886 with Ready at Dawn), and a couple of PS3 remasters.

The long and short of this is that, nearly two years into the PS4’s lifespan, there are not a lot of Sony published exclusive retail games available on the system- and only one can have a compelling case made for it being a system seller. Yes, Sony has partnered with a lot of companies on smaller indie games released digitally, but none of them have been made by Sony’s major in house development teams (and you don’t sell a $400 console on the back of indie games). This does beg the question- if Sony’s teams are not developing games for the PS Vita, and if they are not developing them for the PS3, and if they are not developing them for the PS4, then just what are they doing?

sad PS Vita

"Where are the AAA games on the PS Vita?"

The answer to this is a bit revealing, and comes to us straight from Sony themselves- around E3 this year, Sony made a statement, that their first party lineup will be sparse for the rest of the year, and that they will be focusing more on procuring third party deals instead. This exclusive third party content is usually either extra content or timed exclusive DLC for multiplatform games (such as Destiny, Call of Duty, Batman, Assassin’s Creed), or ‘console exclusive’ games, that are also available on PC (such as Street Fighter V).

This strategy may be very familiar to a lot of you- it’s the strategy that Microsoft employed last generation to great effect with the Xbox 360, and the exact strategy that got them a lot of flack from everyone. It is also something that Sony seems to be getting away with so far, simply because most people are not realizing that they are doing it in the first place.

It’s not just about games, either- for instance, Microsoft has made it a point to address long standing criticisms about missing or lacking features on the Xbox One, with monthly feature rich updates that also make a whole lot of quality of life improvements to the Xbox One experience. Sony, meanwhile, has made a grand total of three major feature updates for the PS4 ever since it launched. Two of these were disasters at launch (the major PS4 2.00 update, and the PS4 media player that launched at E3, that still doesn’t work); not only are a lot of issues from the launch of the PS4 still standing (we don’t have folders, or any way to organize our library yet, nor do we have friend notifications), but future issues that were introduced by updates also still remain. Meanwhile, Sony is still not communicating with users regarding future updates.

destiny ps4 exclusive content

"Sony thinks securing timed or console exclusive third party content is a suitable replacement for actual first party games."

Through all of this, Sony has been making other comments that have started to reveal a very Microsoft like mentality- for instance, rather than allowing external USB support for storage on the PS4, Sony expects you to buy a new PS4 altogether if you run out of space on your current system; when Microsoft introduced backwards compatibility on the Xbox One, Sony made it clear that they had no such plan in mind, and that PS Now would be what they would rely on to deliver PS3 content to users instead. Of course, there is the slight issue of PS Now making you pay again for games you already on (which is something Nintendo has received a lot of flack for), while also always keeping you always online, because of its reliance on the cloud (something Microsoft received a lot of flack for). Their other solution to the problem was to just re-release PS3 games on the PS4, and charge you full price for those.

And now, in just one territory, and just for the smaller subscription periods, Sony has gone ahead and raised the price of PS Plus in the one territory where they have always had a stranglehold on the market (even during the PS3 days), the one territory that they are taking so much for granted that they felt it fit to miss even its most premier games show.

Is this all pointing towards a trend of complacency for Sony? A Sony that doesn’t develop exclusive content for its console, relying on timed and console exclusive content from third parties instead, a Sony that won’t communicate with users regarding future updates, a Sony that wants to charge users for basic features, a Sony that is surreptitiously raising prices… it’s almost as though Sony is becoming the new Microsoft, even as Microsoft itself tries to become the new Sony.

If that is the case, I can only hope Sony receives the kind of humbling at Microsoft’s hands, that Microsoft received at Sony’s hands. But more than that, I hope that that will not be necessary, and that all of this is just a series of isolated incidents, rather than being indicative of a larger, sinister pattern.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, GamingBolt as an organization.

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  • Rodney Patrick

    Where is xbotMK1? You seem to have so much to say when it comes to the Xbox.i noticed you never have anything to say when it comes to your daddy Sony.just saying

    • Triton

      He’s laying in a corner somewhere, all curled up & crying.

    • Poor PS Poor people

      Like the poor little brainwashed Sony SHILL b*tch that he is.

    • Agent_Blade

      That coming from a guy with a user name like yours? Hmmm…tsk tsk.

  • One The One

    Oh, Pramath, NOW you see it? Well, like people say, better late than never.

  • kee1haul

    Didn’t they mean ‘Pay more, play less’?

  • Elliot

    It is like politics they can say any lie they want for people to vote for them but when they have the votes they do exactly the opposite of what was planned.

    • Landsharkk

      I’m glad you said it, that’s what I’ve been saying about Sony for years. Over promise, under-deliver, and always bashing on the competition rather than supporting their own.

    • dra6o0n

      Microsoft isn’t any different once it realizes there isn’t any serious competitors in the scene. All and any giants will fall asleep and become lazy once there aren’t any reasonable threats to them.

      Besides, Microsoft monopolizes PC, especially more so with their Win10 and dx12 and Xbox streaming.

    • Mark

      Yeah, they’re all the same or similar. Lets just grab the system we attract to, and leave worshipping brands alone. Thats my thought exactly. Next thing u know, Microsoft is doin something shady, they’re all for profit.

  • Swan Lee

    Good article
    You could also throw in Sony declining EA access because they did not want it to compete with PS+ even though giving user a choice is the consumer friendly thing to do.

    I hope Sony fans actually stand up and complain about the way Sony is operating. Glossing over these issues and giving Sony a pass in no way will improve PS4 owners gaming experience.

    • Pete

      Agreed, good to see an unbiased article that points out a lot of things those of us who own both consoles have noticed.
      Sony’s attitude to EA Access was ridiculous, as if consumers couldn’t figure out if it was value or not. Would have been better if they just admitted this might detract from PS Now!

    • Mark

      Agree Pete. But no way that kind of honesty makes it thru those PR meetings.

    • Mr Xrat

      You can keep that EA Access cancer, Shitlas Lang. Go back to waiting for games. 🙂

  • Whoopi Goldberg’s Lips

    The Xbox One is looking more and more appealing everyday. I already bought the ps4, but if I hadn’t and I had to choose now, I’d choose Xbox One. Backwards compatibility really is nice. There are plenty of 360 games I aways wanted to play but never did because I had a ps3 last gen.

    I certainly feel Sony may be getting a bit complacent.

    • dra6o0n

      You can easily afford both. Its only a matter of time and saving for them. Not buying console games and relying on the subscription for free games for instance.

  • jakdripr

    I’m glad I’m not the only one slowly losing my patience with Sony. They hiked the Ps4 price in Canada, to the point that it’s currently 100 dollars more expensive than an xbone(so literally a 200 dollar turn around), they still haven’t delivered on those top notch AAA experiences we’ve come to expect, and even their 2016 is looking somewhat barren at the moment(although there’s still a lot of time to change this).

    All in all I’m probably just gonna shell out on an xbone come christmas and flip flop between consoles depending on whose messing up at the time.

    • Agent_Blade

      Xbox isn’t really doing much better to be honest.

    • Mark

      Lol. Wise choice bud

    • In Canada, I never see people in the PS4 game section of stores like EBGames or Bestbuy etc. Only in the Xbox 360 and Xbox One section. PS4 is far too expensive in Canada comparatively to the Xbox One. And bottom line is, it’s just not worth it.

  • LeveledUpGamer

    Very well written and enlightening. It’s such a breath of fresh air from the rest of the major media outlets who refuse to point out the obvious, which this is.

    Well done don’t let the loud Sony faithful discourage you. This is the EXACT type of unbias media that this hobby deserves.

  • Troy Eklund

    Saying “Killzone” is apalling is the most ridiculous statement ever made. Obviously you never really played the game. It is STILL the class of all multiplayer shooters and there was nothing wrong with the very beautiful campain either. Lack of aim assist and easy kills must really hurt people’s feelings. Just because it isn’t COD doesn’t mean it is not good.

    • Reclaimer13

      Saying that Killzone is the class of multiplayer shooters is even more ridiculous. They campaign was beautiful.. it just wasn’t very good.

    • Landsharkk

      Killzone is also a pockmark on Sony’s history when they lied about the resolution on the PS4. I’ve never played it myself, but most reviews I’ve read deem it a mediocre game. Solid shooter, but not inspiring.

    • Troy Eklund

      The resolution was more of a technical grey area. Also thrown out of court. Here is a review for you for final patched versions. Campaign 7/10. Good looking but some tedious sections. Excellent AI. Multiple paths and ways to go about playing various levels. Intercept Co-op. I really enjoyed it but player base was small due to release so long after Killzone came out. Initially too easy but then they increased the difficulty. Still fun to play with friends. Multiplayer – very balanced weapons and abilities, somewhat confusing user interface, all DLC maps were FREE, all paid DLC can now be aquired by spending Valour (currency earned in game) with the exception of actual Insurgent class and Intercept Co-op. Maps are very good, intricate, some with interactive features and destructible parts. All weapons and abilities are available from the start. Just need to unlock attachments and level up abilties. All in all 9/10. I still play this religiously. Everyone should give this game a 3 hour trial on a warzone (not TDM) with a mic on to have people help you out and see for themselves how great this game is.

    • Rodney Patrick

      Yeah okay says a sonyfanboy.still don’t change the fact that they lied about it being 1080p

    • Troy Eklund

      I just like Killzone and think it has gotten an undeserved bad rep. People that have never played it are always bashing it. I’m just trying to stand up for a great game. This probably isn’t the right place to do it but too late, already done.

    • legacy

      The single player was 1080 60fps multiplayer was 1080 30fps get the facts straight

  • Poor PS Poor people

    LIES, OVERHYPE, UNDERDELIVER, The Sony Modus Operandi.

  • Tim Dog

    Its already gotten this bad, its going to be a long holiday

  • XbotMK1

    LOL You can tell Gamingbolt and Xbox fanboys are very salty over the Xbone losing July NPD, so now they’re lying and applying double standards towards Sony.

    Gamingbolt: “But nearly two years into the life of the system, the PS4 has not yet lived up to it’s original promise, and Sony seems to be losing focus”

    What promises? Where is your proof of this highly opinionated claim? The PS4 has delivered what Sony promised after it’s reveal, and Microsoft backtracked to mimic Sony’s playbook. Sony promised indie support and Microsoft backtracked on their ban of self-publishing. Sony promised a better network for PlayStation Plus which they delivered but you keep lying and saying they haven’t. Xbox Live had no messaging system at launch and a total lack of social features. Microsoft mimiced PlayStation Plus so has Microsoft been delivering their promises or have they just been desperately fixing their mess and just backtracking?

    Gamingbolt: “Sony has made it very clear that there will be no more AAA exclusives for the PS Vita”

    So you criticise Sony for not wanting to pour first party resources into a handheld that even the consumer doesn’t support? And then you proceed to trash every Sony first party game? And lets not forget that Sony did release a ton of critically acclaimed first party games for the PS Vita over the first two years, games that seemed to sell poorly or failled to move units. And you act as if first party games are the only reason to buy a Vita when Sony supports it with PlayStation Plus games.

    Gamingbolt: “Nearly two years into the PS4’s lifespan, there are not a lot of Sony published exclusive retail games on the system”

    List of Sony first party exclusives on the PS4 and coming to the PS4(not available on PC):
    Killzone Shadowfall
    Infamous Second Son
    The Last of Us
    MLB14 The Show
    MLB15 The Show
    MLB16 The Show
    Little Big Planet 3
    The Order 1886
    Until Dawn
    God of War 3 Remastered
    The Nathan Drake Collection
    Uncharted 4
    Tear Away Unfolded
    Ratchet and Clank Reboot
    Horizon Zero Dawn
    The Last Guardian
    Gran Turismo 7
    RIGS: Mechanized Combat League
    Drawn To Death

    List of Microsoft published exclusives on the Xbox One and coming to the Xbox One (not available on PC)

    Forza 5
    Forza 6
    Forza Horizon 2
    The Master Chief Collection
    Gears of War Remastered
    Sea of Thieves
    Crackdown (3rd party could come to PC)
    Scalebound (3rd party could come to PC)
    Quantum Break (3rd party could come to PC)
    Sunset Overdrive (3rd party could come to PC)
    Recore (3rd party exclusivity details unknown)

    I’ve never really seen you criticize Microsoft for relying on timed 3rd party exclusives. In fact, Gamingbolt has spent the last few years praising Titanfall, Ryse, Dead Rising 3, Crackdown, Scalebound, and Sunset Overdrive as Xbox One first party exclusives when they are in fact not first party exclusives.

    Gamingbolt: “Microsoft releases monthly feature rich updates that also make a whole lot of quality of life improvements to the Xbox One” “Meanwhile, Sony has only released three major updates and two are still broken”

    Completely false. None of the updates are broken and/or have been adressed. Many of Microsoft’s updates have also caused bugs(party chat and snapfor example) and system crashes that Microsoft has still been fixing. Sony has done more than three major updates that added features. They released a major update in Spring 2014. They added 3d Blu Ray support Summer 2014. They released a major update Fall 2014. They released a major update Spring 2015. PlayStation Vue was added Spring 2015. DLNA and a media app was added after E3. And the next major update is in testing right now. Sony’s updates are also usually much larger than Microsoft’s and add new features while Microsoft’s updates are smaller and add features the PS4 had at launch.

    Over the last four months, Microsoft has only released stability updates. So you think adding screenshots, faster methods of recording, activity feeds, and game hubs are feature rich updates, all of which were on the PS4 at launch? But when Sony releases YouTube broadcasting, PlayStation Vue, Live From PlayStation UI overhaul, accessibility settings for people with disabilities, among other things Microsoft still hasn’t added, you think those aren’t feature rich updates?

    So Microsoft releases so many feature rich updates yet they still can’t include a rechargeable battery with their conrroller?

    Gamingbolt: “Sony expects you to buy a new PS4 if you run out of storage space”

    Is that why Sony allows you to swap the PS4 HDD for a Hybrid or SSD and Microsoft doesn’t?

    Your article is just a false narrative full of double standards and missinformation.

  • archfiendx

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a worse article from Gamingbolt that is so devoid of unbias facts and logic than this article. lol

  • Mark

    1000% agree Pramath. Sony has a stellar line-up next yr, but ur points are legitimate concern..

  • Mr Xrat

    Understandable concerns, but considering the price of Plus decreased in Switzerland, it really is mostly likely down to market conditions.

    But hey, Xbox scum have been desperate for something about the PS4 to cry about so here it is. Their tears taste so salty. 🙂

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