Sony announced at their E3 2010 press conference some details on their all-new optional online premium service, PlayStation Plus. After poking fun at Microsoft for having a pay-mandatory internet service, they… did it themselves. This one however, is entirely optional so you don’t need to worry if you’re just into using PSN to play games online.

Plus will be available for $49 a year (or 3 months for $17) after its launch on June 29th this year. Subscribing for a membership gets you a few things:

  • Full access to a select number of PS3, Classic PS1 and Network downloadable games (however, if your membership ends your access to the games goes with it)
  • Full Game Trials will also be included. They give you access to certain games for a one month period, before switching to a new game to highlight for the next month
  • Certain custom themes and avatars will become available for no extra cost
  • Every month, different PS3 and PSP titles are discounted for Plus members
  • First Access to certain betas, videos and game demos
  • Automatic Updates: The PS3 will turn on at select times, download updates, and turn off so that it will be ready for use instantaneously.

Now, call me silly, but that doesn’t seem like a lot for $49 per year. The fact that you lose access to most of the games if you let  your membership lapse probably doesn’t help. However, priority access to betas and demos is sure to appease the more hardcore among us, and it hasn’t been revealed yet how large the discounts are on select product – perhaps they will be enough to make it worth your while.

With over 50 million PlayStation Network members, Sony is clearly going in to snag a vulnerable marketplace. Speculation is everywhere on the Plus right now, however, and nobody can say how it will fair. Until I see the full extent of their offers, I can tell you right now I wouldn’t shell out $50 to get some games for a year and watch some videos early. The discounts and beta access, however, I love. There, Sony, I said it – now send me Killzone 3!

What do you think about PlayStation Plus? Do you think it will succeed?

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