Rumors about Sony's supposed paid version of its PlayStation Network continue to build in advance of an alleged announcement at E3, and the list of what subscribers will get has changed since we last saw it. Joystiq has the list of features, some of which are long overdue in any capacity, some of which would be nice to have but aren't major purchase incentives, a few which seem to benefit Sony more than the rest of us, and one of which will probably anger non-paying customers when they find out that they can't have it.
Many of the features included in the premium service mimic those featured in a supposed survey released late last year. Sources tell us that subscribers will have access to a rotating list of PSP Minis and PSone Classics, exclusive in-game DLC, discounts to the PlayStation Store and "first hour" demo access to full retail titles. Following the first hour of gameplay, players will have the ability to purchase the full title; however, demo access will only be available once the entire title has been downloaded.
As PSN+ subscribers, gamers will also receive protection for their consoles with the recently announced PlayStation Protection Plan, as well as exclusive access to the long-awaited cross-game voice chat. Additional features are said to be in the works following the launch of PSN+, including the previously rumored cloud-based saving system.
Joystiq has been informed that PSN+ subscribers will also have the ability to enable an auto-patching feature, which will detect, download and install updates for recently played PS3 titles on the system.
That's a much better offering than the pitiful list we saw last week. The price for all of this is listed at $9.99 per month which at just under $120 is steep. Locking away the cross-game voice chat isn't going to win over anyone on the fence about this premium plan (dubbed PSN+), but that cloud-based game save system would be invaluable should your PlayStation 3 quit once and for all. As for me, I could see myself going for this on an annual basis if the price came down. Suddenly that $70 price tag mentioned with the last wave of rumors doesn't seem so bad.