Sony drops the ball by scaling back
PlayStation Plus will become a little less valuable this time next year.
Sony announced this week that it will scale back its "Instant Game Collection" offerings by giving subscribers only two free PlayStation 4 games a month eliminating the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita software from the service. The change won't take effect until next March, giving players plenty of advanced warning if they would like to cancel their subscriptions between now and then, or simply let them lapse.
At first glance, this isn't necessarily a bad change. The PS3 is well long in the tooth, and without backward compatibility offerings on the PS4, there's no real reason to continue to support a legacy console that has essentially been abandoned by users. Most of its software has been offered at some point or another and many titles have been released free via the subscription service on more than one occasion.
The Vita is in a similar situation. Almost all of its software has been offered by PlayStation Plus at least once. For the last year, most of the Vita titles have been cross-play compatible with the PS4, again making the handheld less desirable. Beyond a few independently developed games, the Vita doesn't have a regular software release schedule. The handheld has been abandoned by both Sony and its fans. In a bit of irony, the Nintendo Switch succeeded where the Vita failed offering console experiences on the go.
Phasing out the two consoles would conceivably give Sony more resources to dedicate to offering more and better PS4 games on the service, right? The prevailing thought had always been that Sony would eventually abandon the two platforms and focus solely on the PS4 with larger titles. Wrong. The ICG will simply include less games a month much to the dismay of PlayStation Plus subscribers.
The optics look even worse in the wake of Sony's price increase from $50 a year to $60 last year. Customers will now be paying an extra $10 and while receiving less content for their money. It would be like Netflix bumping its price while reducing the catalog to just its Netflix Exclusive offerings.
It makes even less since when one looks at Microsoft, which continues to offer four titles a month two Xbox One titles and two backward-compatible Xbox 360 titles. Now that Microsoft is dedicating resources to enhancing many of those Xbox 360 games, it becomes even more enticing to switch to that system.