PlayStation Plus: Everything you need to know

A full run-down of benefits offered to PlayStation Plus subs

It seems Sony's proposals regarding PlayStation Plus - its new paid-for PSN service going live on June 29 - weren't clear enough, and the bombardment of questions has lead it to post a more detailed brief on exactly what you get for your cash money.

This should answer all your questions but it's fairly long so we'll leave Sony to it:

Ok, here are the basics of the new premium subscription service, PlayStation Plus:

* Launching on the 29th June

* The current PSN features will remain free. We are still very committed to PSN as a free gaming service and are certainly not planning on reducing this service following the launch of PlayStation Plus.

* Plus is an evolving service and the features included at launch will be:
- Games
- Discounts
- Exclusive items on PlayStation Store
- Full Game Trial
- Automatic Downloads
(More info on these below)

* Membership to Plus can be purchased through PlayStation Store on PS3 for either 90 days or a whole year (365 days)

* Local prices for membership can be found below, payment is a one off fee for either of the memberships and can be purchased with any of the current Store payment methods - Credit Card or PSN Cards

* If you sign up between the 29th June and 3rd Aug for the 1 year subscription then you will also receive a downloadable copy of the original LittleBigPlanet game for PS3, completely free! This is yours to keep and is not tied to the period of subscription

Here are the features in more detail -

Games & Special Offers: As a member you can expect to get your hands on at least 4 games a month at no extra charge. Each month there will be a selection of 1x PSN game, 2x minis and 1x PS One classics. A list of the games available in month 1 and 2 can be found below. You will be able to download these games during the month they are available, until the new selection replaces these.

Once downloaded, these games are yours to keep and play as long as you are a member of PlayStation Plus. If your subscription lapses and then you re-subscribe the games you have already downloaded will reactivate, so you still have access to them. Additionally, if you delete one of these titles from your PS3 but decide you want to get it back then you can re-download from the Plus section of the Store if the games is still there, or, if the game has expired from the Plus section of the Store, then you can simply search for it on the Store and download it again at no extra cost.

Each month there will be 2 dynamic themes, 2 premium avatars and premium game elements/add-ons for you to download and many of these will be exclusive to members only. These are yours to keep forever once you have downloaded them.

Plus members will also be given exclusive PlayStation Store discounts each month that are above and beyond the current Store discounts available to everyone. These discounts will range from 20% - 50% and anything you buy with these is yours to keep and enjoy forever.

Finally, wherever possible we'll be making sure that members are included in some selected demos and beta trials early, before they go live to everyone, so you can be the one to tell all your mates about the next big game they 'must' get.

As I mentioned, just the games themes and avatars are worth over £200* a year and with unrestricted access to 48+ games each year and all the other features, we think this service is great value for money.

Full Game Trial: Each month we will be offering members the chance to download 2 full games, try them out for a period of time (1 hour unless otherwise stated). Then you will have the choice to either buy the game and carry on from where you left off, or delete the game from your hard drive. This is a unique way to trial the full game experience and means you don't have to be restricted to certain levels/game modes when you test out a game.

The games in full game trail will become available to all Store users to purchase but only Plus members will have the chance to 'try before you buy'.

The other great thing about this feature is that you can continue from where you were at the end of the trial period if you decide to buy the game. All game saves and trophies earned during the trial will be unlocked and will show up on your trophy list and your trophy level, when you purchase the game. You don't even have to re-download the game, just purchase and go back to the XMB to access the game.

Automatic Download: Members will be able to set their PS3 to wake up from standby at any time of the day or night, download and install any game updates for the games you have been playing and we will also send you new game demos that will be ready and waiting for you to play when you next use your PS3. System software updates will also download automatically (manual install still required) and then the PS3 will turn itself off again.

Game updates and demos will also automatically install and the next time you turn on your PS3 you will see a brief on screen message letting you know what has been downloaded and updated.

Some other answers to frequently asked questions from the last blog post -

* Cross-game chat is not currently included in PlayStation Plus.

* You need to be the master account holder on the PS3 and be over 18 to purchase a Plus membership but other accounts on that PS3 will be able to play the games you download for as long as you are a member.

* The 4 games you can download each month are yours to keep for as long as you are a member.

* Playstation Plus is for PS3 owners as membership can only be purchased on the PS3 Store. However, some of the content - minis and PSOne Classics - available each month will also be playable on your PSP if you have one. Download them on the PS3 and transfer to your PSP, or download directly from the PSP Store or Media Go for PSP.

PlayStation Plus is an evolving service and we have taken on board all your comments from the previous blog post. We will be looking into these and we also welcome any other suggestions you have.

Here's pricing details for EU, and additional info also from the PS Blog:

Content available to PS Plus subs in the first two months:

Month 1: June 29th - August 3rd

Intro offer: LBP (standard edition)
PSN PS3: Wipeout HD
minis: Field Runners, Age of Zombies
PSone: Destruction Derby
Full Game Trial: Shatter, Savage Moon
Discounts: LBP God of War Pack - 50%, LBP: LocoRoco costume pack - 50%, Gravity Crash - 20%, Fat Princess DLC - 20%

Premium Game Element: KillZone 2: Steel & Titanium DLC
Push demo: ModNation Racers, Heavy Rain
Dynamic Themes: LBP Theme, SCEE produced: PlayStation "Game Is Just The Start" Dynamic Theme
2 x Fat Princess Premium Avatars

Month 2: August 4th - September 1st

PSN PS3: Zen Pinball
minis: Blast-Off, Alien Zombie Death
PSone: Medievil
Full Game Trial: inFamous, Mushroom Wars
Discounts: Zen Pinball Earth Defence Table - 20%, Warhawk Triple Combo Pack - 50%, Super Stardust HD - 20%, WipeOutHD Fury - 20%

Premium Game Elements: Motorstorm Pacific Rift: Adrenaline Pack
Push Demo: Flower, Pixel Junk Shooter
Themes: "SCEE produced: PlayStation Plus Dynamic Theme, Heavy Rain Crime Scene Theme
2 x Heavy Rain Avatars (Bird and Butterfly)

- Games that are available for the full game trial will also be available to purchase from the Store

Pricing: (1 year / 90 days)

Australia AUD 69.95 20.95
Austria € 49.99 14.99
Belgium € 49.99 14.99
Czech Republic CZK
Denmark DKK
Finland EURO 49.95 14.95
France € 49.99 14.99
Germany € 49.99 14.99
Greece € 49.99 14.99
Ireland € 49.99 14.99
Italy € 49.99 14.99
Luxembourg € 49.99 14.99
Netherlands € 49.99 14.99
New Zealand NZD 89.95 26.95
Norway NOK 395 119
Poland PLN 195 59
Portugal € 49.99 14.99
Saudi Arabia USD 64.99 19.99
South Africa ZAR 489 145
Spain € 49.99 14.99
Sweden SEK 480 145
Switzerland CHF 69.95 20.95
United Arab EmiratesUSD 64.99 19.99
United Kingdom GBP 39.99 11.99

[ SOURCE: EU PS Blog ]