PS Plus Disaster, and what PS Now Needs

PS Plus May 2020
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Playstation Plus has really done it this time. The PS Plus free games for May are Farming Simulator 19 and Cities: Skylines. Fans everywhere are so horrified, they’ve begun a petition to get Sony to change the games. And I don’t blame them. The petition is here. Go on, you know you want to.

It seems that Sony really don’t know exactly how to handle PS Plus and especially PS Now. Why is that, and what can they learn from Microsoft?

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Let’s Take A Look At the Games

Simulators are not the most popular games out there, especially not for Playstation. Farming Simulator 19 is popular enough to keep making an updated game every year, and it’s apparently getting its own esport league too. Is it what Playstation gamers want, though? In my opinion, simulators are designed for PC and mobile gaming and don’t translate well to console. Since both games this month are simulators, it does beg the question, what is Sony doing? The games might have been accepted if they were in separate months, and the other game that month wasn’t a simulator. For whatever reason though, Sony has offloaded two simulators on us at once.

Fans discussing the news on Reddit (warning for language), have said that Sony is trying to tempt people to purchase DLC with addictive games. Others say that Sony wants the kind of attention things like Animal Crossing get. Animal Crossing is one sim game I actually like, but I’m fairly sure I’d hate it on Playstation. On the positive side, some players speculate that Sony was after games people could spend a lot of time. If that’s the case, they could have given us a meaty game like Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey or an addictive esport like Overwatch. Those games are definitely wishful thinking, much like the recent rumour, but the point still stands!

Before anyone goes correcting, yes the deal to get games on PS Plus isn’t exactly straightforward. Sony don’t just pluck a gamer out of the herd and make it free for a month, a lot more does need to go on.

So What Do We Really Want From PS Plus?

There’s so much anticipation in the run-up to a PS Plus announcement, and I always end up disappointed. Ultimately, Sony needs to offer great games with PS Plus. If we’re forced to pay real money for the privilege of playing online, the least Sony can do is make the sweetener worth my money. A good way of doing this would be to put it to a vote. Sony could at least do a few rounds of this to figure out what their customers want, before throwing unpopular games at us. I’m aware that if Sony provided a lot of the bigger games, people would already have spent money on them, and be disappointed at being offered a game they already own. But there are ways around this that don’t involve chucking the games they couldn’t sell at us. That’s not what we pay for PS Plus for.

Another thing Sony could do to improve its PS Plus games, is to stop giving us games we can already access in their Playstation Now library. That feels like a cop-out to me. If they also want to catch Game Pass and their 10 Million subscribers, making PS Now feel independent and exclusive would help bolster its appeal. You can’t expect to have the PS Plus games on there, and then assume players will pay for it.

Looking to Xbox Ultimate

I think the answer to Sony’s disappointing PS Plus subscription service is to follow the example set by Xbox. The Xbox Ultimate subscription is one complete subscription that includes the following:

  • Online multiplayer
  • Four free games a month
  • Access to the Game Pass library
  • Other perks like Minecraft skins or in-game items
  • Free play-days
  • All Microsoft distributed games are available in the Game Pass library on the day of release.

For PS Plus and PS Now to be worth the money, and to not get such bad press all the time, it sort of needs to go the same way as Xbox Ultimate. Many of us are fed up with paying for two subscriptions, and it is completely daft that it’s organized this way, anyway. You cannot treat both PS Plus and PS Now as throwaways half the time for old, sometimes free, games. To make players invested Sony need to emulate Microsoft and make these services feel exclusive and worthwhile.

What do you think of the Playstation Plus games for May? Did you sign the petition? What would make PS Plus better for you? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @thecognetwork! Check out more great content here

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Melanie Jayne Ashford is an old millenial from Wales, UK. She is mum to one mischievous tortoiseshell cat and one French Bulldog puppy. Her gaming passions include RPGs, MMORPGs, FPS and esports. She is also a huge fan of TRPGs. Her favourite character is Aloy.

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