PlayStation Plus gave out more than $1,500 in free games. Were they worth it?

Sony Interactive Entertainment

Sony delivered 76 video games for all of its platforms to PlayStation Plus subscribers in 2018 — PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita. Were they any good? What would they cost otherwise? What do the numbers say about the value of this PlayStation Plus benefit?

We’ll try to answer that question this year as we have the past four years. To that, however, we’ve added a few more questions: How old is the game? Did Sony publish it? What publisher did PlayStation Plus use the most?

These questions may shed light on where these free games programs are headed, especially as Sony will no longer offer free PlayStation Plus games for the PS3 or the PS Vita in March 2019.

What about Xbox?
Xbox Games With Gold gave out $850 worth of games in 2018. Were they any good?

Getting Started

In all, there were 76 games in PlayStation Plus’ instant game collection for 2018, with an average critical score of 69.5 and a combined retail price (as of yesterday) of $1,508.74. The review average of this year’s free games is 1.8 points lower than 2017 but the monetary value is $221.49 more.

Telltale Games

January

Average score: 66

Average age: 1.74 years

Total value: $157.93

Sony Interactive Entertainment

February

Average score: 65.8

Average age: 3.75 years

Total value: $96.94

From Software/Sony Interactive Entertainment

March

Average score: 69.7

Average age: 2.24 years

Total value: $106.94

Avalanche Studios

April

Average score: 60.5

Average age: 3.93 years

Total value: $98.94

Quantic Dream/Sony

May

Average score: 69 (nice)

Average age: 4.75 years

Total value: $106.44

June

Firaxis Games/2K Games

Average score: 72.1

Average age: 3.98 years

Total value: $123.94

Quantic Dream/Sony Computer Entertainment

July

Average score: 69.2

Average age: 3.97 years

Total value: $179.93

2K Games

August

Average score: 67.6

Average age: 2.7 years

Total value: $205.91

Meditonic

September

Average score: 68.4

Average age: 3.72 years

Total value: $55.95

Roll7/505 Games

October

Average score: 68.8

Average age: 2.47 years

Total value: $81.94

Sega

November

Average score: 75.3

Average age: 2.47 years

Total value: $140.94

Codemasters/Deep Silver

December

Average score: 82.8

Average age: 3.2 years

Total value: $152.94

By the Numbers

Average score: 69.6

Average price: $19.85

Average age: 3.2 years

Highest scoring month: December.

Highest dollar value month: August ($205.91)

Month with newest games on average: January (1.74 years)

Lowest scoring month: April (60.5)

Lowest dollar value month: September $55.95

Month with oldest games on average: May (4.75 years old)

Published by Sony: 10

Publisher with the most titles: Sony, 10.

Platform score averages

PlayStation 3: 70.7

PlayStation 4: 64.98

PlayStation Vita: 79.6

Review score ranges

90 and up: 3

80 to 89: 16

70 to 79: 17

60 to 69: 26

59 and below: 14

Price ranges

$40 and up: 4

$30 to $39.99: 6

$25 to $29.99: 9

$20 to $24.99: 2

$15 to $19.99: 19

$10 to $14.99: 7

$5 to $9.99: 27

$4.99 and under: 2

Comments

You’re missing these for December:

Average score:
Average age:
Total value:

$1500? I can get physical copies of most of these games for next to nothing, said every ungrateful POS.

I see in this year Owen S. Good decided to not do any commentary after last year he got blasted for not recognizing few of most prolific and important indie titles (like This War of Mine or Swindle) in PSN line-up

And his general negative attitude about the PS plus offerings in general, despite offering tons of great stuff like MGS5, Just Cause 3, Until Dawn, Life is strange, Infamous Second son, etc.

Looking at these lists, I think PS plus was pretty superior this year. October was pretty much the only really lousy month.

Seems like a pretty awful list of games sprinkled with some good but old games. This is why this perk of PlayStation plus and Xbox’s equivalent have never seemed worth it to me. The few good ones I’d already own. It’s just a front to try and justify paying for online gaming when that’s free on the PC and these game subscription services that do exist are stand alone.

You get PS plus discounts, they’re decent, double discounts etc.

PS Plus also seems to get discounts on some PS Vue subscriptions (I discovered yesterday)

I wouldn’t argue it’s astonishing value but being "worth it" is a pretty low bar. Buy PS+ when it’s on sale and a couple of decent big games and a handful of nice indies accross a whole year and you are well past the "worth it" line.

For me it probably saves me money because I’m never tempted to pay full price for a game. If I need something new to play and nothing in my wish list is discounted then I always have a few things to choose from in my PS+ backlog

Especially now that games don’t launch day-and-date on Plus anymore (BoI Rebirth, Grow Home, Rocket League … and Drawn to Death lololololololol), there’s really no incentive to this service anymore except for online multiplayer. I wish they’d just spin Instant Game Collection off so people like me who don’t use it can pay a minimum price for multiplayer, and people who do can subscribe to it themselves. Rinse, repeat with GWG.

Don’t kid yourself, if they split the two, you’d just end up paying the same price and getting less. Maybe it’d go down but $1 for a year, but they’d simply raise the price after that, because it’s a service that really benefits from volume of subscribers, and without the number of non-multiplayer-playing subscribers like me subsidizing it, it becomes more expensive per user for them to run. They pay next to nothing for the PS Plus/GwG titles, but also only because of their volume of users; publishers are willing to hand out bulk licenses to their older titles because they know they’ll make money off of doing so (usually through DLC purchases, which is why you never see complete/GotY editions in the free game selection). As subscription numbers drop, the per-user, per-title cost for Sony/MS goes up pretty quickly. Breaking up the current system into two really wouldn’t benefit anyone.

Every month has at least one free solid game no complaints from me. Also the flash sales really make it worth while. Getting 40% off triple a titles is awesome.

Yeah, I still "download" my PS+ games but the real value comes from the tons of flash sales. Uncharted 4 for less than $10? Yes, please.

PlayStation Plus gave out more than $1,500 in free games.

I feel like this title, especially relative to the near-identical Xbox Games With Gold article’s title, is misleading. Playstation Plus does not give out games the same way Xbox Gold does. With Xbox, they give you a game, and sweet, you own a game, it’s yours. With Playstation, you have access to the game until your membership lapses, at which point all "your" games get locked and you can no longer play them.

If I’m not mistaking, you don’t own XB1 games.

That’s correct. I don’t know exactly when it changed, as "keep forever" was definitely a big selling point of Microsoft’s for a while, but as of now only the 360 games are "yours;" The XB1 games get locked away until you renew your Gold subscription.

It changed with the launch of the One. 360 games have always been ‘keep forever’ (and still are). One games have always been on the PS+ style ‘use with active subscription’ model.

I didn’t realize they had changed things, thank you for correcting me! Sad to hear it’s gone downhill.

It’s worth it.

Cancelled my plus subscription at the end of 2014 or 15 don’t remember which. I don’t regret it, as it was not worthwhile for me and a majority of the games were trash. Can’t rate XBL Gold as I’ve never owned an Xbox, trying out humble subscription currently. Seems okay, so far. I’ll see what it’s like after a year of that.

I appreciate this breakdown, and am curious to see how it will look in subsequent years given that Sony will be discontinuing the non-PS4 offerings.

That said, I do wish this breakdown took platform into consideration. I do not have a Vita and my PS3 has been on mothballs for years, meaning that the "value" of games I cannot play on my PS4 is exactly zero. I’d have liked to see a breakdown of the percentage of the value actually enjoyed depending on which platforms you have.

Worth noting — as this article was published alongside the Games with Gold one, and the services are clearly expected to be compared — is that every GwG title is playable on XB1, even if it’s an older game. There are far too many PS3 games I’ve been excited to see on the PS+ list, only to realize that they aren’t backwards compatible or crossplay with my PS4 and thus I’m not really getting them.

As a subscriber for many years, I feel that Sony is winding down the service and reducing its value. If I didn’t have already another year and a half of subscription bought, I would be thinking of cancelling before renewal. Especially as they will drop PS3 and Vita, which I use and which increase the value of the service for me.

I will be looking with much interest from March onwards. It will confirm whether Sony plans to support the service with meaningful content or if they want to detach from it. If they do, I certainly won’t be paying this price for online only.

Ill wait a few months after March to see where its heading. PS3 and Vita are both dead horses at this point

If they are dead horses even more of a reason to throw us some further bones.

They still offer 6 games all around, and they will stop in march with the dead horses. I’m not sure what you expect for the price of a beer and burger.

I expect the same perks as before. Is that too much to expect? Otherwise I might have a beer and burger instead than retain membership with decreased value.

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