PlayStation Plus is a subscription-based service offered through the PlayStation Network. It was launched as a new service for the PlayStation 3 that gave gamers access to a selection of games, themes, avatars and DLC each month. The catch is that when your subscription ends, you will no longer be able to play any of the games unless you renew.
When the PlayStation Vita was released, PS Plus support was extended to this device and the offering of games each month now included a game for Sony’s new handheld device. This is what eventually resulted in the push for cross-platform games. This being, games that could be played on the PS3 and on the Vita. This was highly popular as it meant that gamers were getting the same game for both platforms without it causing significant cost for Sony.
The End of Free Multiplayer
It was clear toward the middle of the PS3’s lifecycle, that it was costing Sony too much money to allow users free access to online multiplayer. Microsoft was already charging for it and as a result, providing a much better service for users. When the PlayStation 4 launched, there was a new benefit to owning a PlayStation Plus subscription. You needed PS Plus to play online.
Gamers can still access PlayStation network on the PS4, download games from the store and message their friends without it costing them anything. If a player wishes to play online with friends however, they will need to purchase a PS Plus subscription in order to avail of this service. Sony clarified that this only impacted the PS4 and all future consoles. Multiplayer would remain free on the PS3 and Vita.
PlayStation Plus Discontinued For PS3 & Vita
As the popularity of the PS4 increased, the player count on Sony’s previous generation systems began to fall. The marketing team behind the PlayStation blog revealed that the number of downloads for the PS3 and Vita games each month had fallen significantly. So much so, that it was negatively impacting gamers as they were paying for games they never played. This resulted in the inevitable exclusion of these platforms from the offering of free games each month.
Gamers who have had an active subscription in the past will be able to access their games for the foreseeable future. The removal of the PlayStation 3 and Vita from the monthly free games will only impact games going forward. All past games will be accessible. A user will still need an active PS Plus subscription if they wish to access these games, even though they will not get any new games in future.
How Do The Free Games Work?
This is the million-dollar question. They aren’t technically free since you pay a monthly fee, but the games available each month do come with a catch. You can download it and play it whenever you like, but when your PS Plus subscription ends, you will no longer be able to play the game until you renew.
When you renew your subscription, you will be able to play any game you activated in the past from PS Plus. You must have a subscription to activate games, even if you never play or download them. This means you can’t access games from the past if this is your first time ever subscribing.
If you activated a game on the PS4 and you end up getting a PS4 Pro or a PS5, you will be able to redownload the same games on these systems too. The games are tied to your PSN account and not the console.
PS Plus Frequently Asked Questions
With PS Plus changing so much over the last few years and the selection of free games also coming with an asterisk. There are lots of questions that people often have when it comes to making the decision on whether to purchase a subscription or not. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions that people have.
If my PlayStation plus expires do I lose the games?
Yes, you do, but not forever. If you purchase a 1-year subscription and download the games every month. You will lose the ability to play them when your subscription expires. You will notice the padlock on the games, signalling that you can’t play them. If you decide to renew your subscription in 6 months time, all of the games that you downloaded before, will become playable again.
When reactivating your PS Plus subscription, you will be able to redownload the games from past months when you did have an active subscription. During the 6 months between your subscription expiring and you renewing, all of the free games during this time period will not be available to you to download. You can only access PS Plus games that were released when you had an active subscription.
Can you renew a subscription before the current one expires?
This is a common question. You might have 2 or 3 months left on your current subscription and a one year PS Plus subscription goes on sale. Can you purchase another year subscription now, even though you already have an active subscription? The answer is yes!
PS Plus subscriptions will stack on top of each other. If you have 3 months left and purchase an additional month, you will now have 15 months of a subscription remaining.
Do you need PlayStation Plus to play online with friends?
If you are playing on the PlayStation 3 or Vita, you do not need to have a PS Plus subscription to play online. Servers are being shut down for games however, so the time to take advantage of this will soon be over.
If you are playing on the PS4 or any newer console after this, you will need to have a PS Plus subscription in order to play online. Online multiplayer on all consoles from the PS4 and onward will require a user to have an active subscription. If you do not have one, you will not be able to play online with friends.
Do you keep the games from PS Plus?
When you download a free game from PS Plus each month, the game is yours to play forever, but only when you have an active subscription. So if you download a game today and in two years time, you decide you want to play it again, you can download it without any problem. Even if you decided to end your PS Plus subscription mid-way through this time period.
The policy around games is that they are yours to play so long as you have a subscription.
Can I play ps plus games offline?
Yes, but only if the system is set as your primary PS4. When you download a game, you will, of course, be connected to the internet. If the PS4 is your primary PS4, the license to play will also be downloaded and you can then disconnect from the internet. If your PS Plus subscription ends, you will not be able to play the game any more and will need to reconnect to the internet if you renew in order to download fresh licenses. I.e. let the console know that you have renewed your subscription.