At E3, Sony skimmed over their new $50/year (or $18/three months) premium PS3 service called PlayStation Plus. Now, they've finally outlined exactly what's included in the offer:
• Free, rotating monthly PSN games, minis and PS One Classics (at launch, those titles will be "WipEout HD, PSP minis and PS One Classics such as Fieldrunners, Age of Zombies and Rally Cross" — you keep them "as long as you are subscribed")
• Discounts (20% to 50% off certain PSN games/content)
• Free Qore
• Early Beta/Demo Access
• Full Game Trials (essentially one hour, full-game demos that can be purchased after testing)
• Automatic Downloads (your PS3 will wake in the night, downloading system and game patches, as well as content like videos)
• Cross-game chat (this is the big current request)
• Hardware Discounts (all offers are PSN-only)
• Other Stuff (I'm sure that people will be crying foul about something)
Honestly, the reason I really want the service is the automatic updates. As a guy who doesn't play PS3 every day (or every week), I feel punished with a series of downloads whenever I do sit down to play. But I think what would justify the purchase would be all the free games.
If Sony isn't going to overhaul the backend of their online service for premium customers (and let's just admit it, our prized Japanese hardware companies have proven to be pretty lousy at this aspect of consoles), they really do seem like they've done the next best thing—bring on all the "free" stuff!
I think that I may break down and buy Plus for year one. I'm interested, however, as to whether or not they'll keep me for year two. I guess I'll have to see whether Plus actually saves me money, or at least, gets me to spend enough to save, or whatever their profit model is here. [PlayStation Blog]