PS Plus Hike – Adding Value Or Simply Revenue?

Welcome to episode 101 of the Gamers of the Lost Spark Podcast where you can bank on fun and frolics galore as the guys reflect upon the week that was in gaming.

The news that set the European PS4 community to lament this week was the surprise announcement from Sony that their Playstation Network subscription is set to increase by a whopping 25% after August 31st this year. Details of why and reasoning from the Japanese giant were thin on the ground in the email announcement which stated it’s case thus:

‘From 00:01 BST on 31 August 2017 we are changing the prices of PlayStation®Plus.

– Annually, the price will change from £39.99 to £49.99 per annum.
– Quarterly, the price will change from £14.99 to £19.99 per quarter.
– Monthly, the price will change from £5.99 to £6.99 per month.

What this means for you

We will alter the price of a PlayStation®Plus membership at 00:01 BST on 31 August 2017. As you are an existing member, this means that all recurring subscription fees payable by you on or after 31 August 2017 will be charged at the new price. Up until 31 August 2017, you may purchase a PlayStation®Plus subscription at the current price, which will then be added (or “stacked on”) to your current membership period.

If you don’t want to continue with PlayStation®Plus

If you want to prevent your PlayStation®Plus membership continuing at the new price, you will need to cancel it – turn OFF “auto-renew” in your account settings at least 48 hours before your next payment on or after 31 August 2017 is due. There’s some guidance on how to cancel your membership on PlayStation.com.’

Website Eurogamer reached out to Sony and got a little more info regarding the reasoning being;

‘We are changing the pricing to reflect various market conditions while enabling us to continue providing exceptional value to our members.’

This unexpected change to the fee has unsurprisingly riled many subscribers, especially as there seems to be no silver lining here to sweeten the pill. No added value to assuage the community’s shock at the rise, which has caused some animosity out there in the PS4 gaming sub space.

Once the dust settles however, is this an unreasonable change in pricing? After all the service has been charged at a flat rate of £39.99 per year since it’s inception on 29th June 2010 so is a price increase in line with inflation after 7 years really that unreasonable? Maybe with better messaging this rise could have been introduced in a more sympathetic fashion and garner, whilst not an open armed acceptance, perhaps at least an understanding of the need for the fee hike.

On the other hand, there’s the concern that the PlayStation infrastructure has never been rock solid and so people could well feel reluctant at having to pony up the extra cash for what some may regard as a platform that has fallen down on numerous past occasions.

One thing is certain though, companies love a subscription model in place to bolster their businesses which is understandable but could this kick off an increase on other platforms and ultimately, when households weigh up their wholesale entertainment costs of gaming, TV, film and music, could the cost eventually mean that something has to be struck from the list?

Join Antony and Darren once again as they discuss this and the rest of the weeks news.

The Sparks dream of cross-platform play for all takes a step in the right direction this week with news of the ‘Better Together’ beta for Minecraft.  This update means that players on Mobile, Xbox, PC and Switch platforms will be able to join each other in-game, create, cooperate or compete together on massive servers, and access whatever swish skins and Marketplace adventure maps they own on any of their compatible devices.

To make sure it’s all going to work properly, however, a beta is rolling our first  on Windows 10 and Android, with Xbox One beta access to follow in the coming days.  Details of this this beta and other ‘better together’ update can be found on Minecraft.net

It’s an explosive month is month for PS Plus with the over-the-top cavalcade of pure, destructive chaos, Just Cause 3 delivers an open-world third-person romp with all the catharsis and tongue-in-cheek dialogue of a classic ’80s action movie.  If maybe like the Sparks this game past you by, now is the perfect time to dip into the action and try it for yourself.  Expect to hear a hand-on next week after Darren has spent some time blowing stuff up!

If, on the other hand, you’re hankering after something a bit more stealthy – and have a soft spot for the high seas – then the mast-straddling, throat-slitting adventures of Assassin’s Creed: Freedom Cry could be just the very thing.

Set several decades after the piratical exploits of young Edward Kenway, this standalone expansion to Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag places you into the boots of shipwrecked sailor and Brotherhood assassin Adéwalé as he goes head to head with a cadre of French slavers

As per usual, the PS4 games are joined by four other titles on PS Plus this August. The full line up for August looks like this:

New this month on the Lost Spark Podcast we will be starting each month with a list of upcoming games, kicking off August with have the following titles dropping:

  • 1st August
    Patapon Remastered
  • 2nd August
    Tacoma 
  • 8th August
    Batman: The Enemy Within – Episode 1
  • 15th August
    Nidhogg 2
    Sonic Mania
    Undertale
  • 22nd August
    Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
  • 25th August
    Madden 18
  • 29th August
    Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle
    Windjammers
    Yakuza Kiwami 
  • 30th August
    Everybody’s Golf
  • 31st August
    Life is Strange: Before the Storm
    Resident Evil: Revelations

A great list for August with some fantastic games hitting all platforms, listen into episode 101 to hear which titles the Sparks are most looking forward too.

Also over on the VR News Desk, Daz brings tales of the amazing world of VR. Among this weeks’ goodies are taking a slide around London’s Shard building and if that wasn’t enough to take your breath away, take a listen to a new experience in VR where the player uses no controllers but just the power of the mind.

If you want more information on some of the items in this weeks Podcast here are some handy links:

If you would like to give us a rating or a review on iTunes then we have this handy link for you, click here to jump to iTunes and rate, review or subscribe to the Lost Spark Podcast!

Experience VR at the London Shard

Open your Mind to VR

Sony KD-65XE9005 Best TV Picture Settings from AV Forums

Never miss out on gaming whilst devouring fried chicken again

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