PlayStation has recently announced changes to how its PlayStation Plus Instant Game Collection program will work. It's only natural that denizens of the internet should act like total jerkwads about this change ("You're taking away games!" "Another sports game?!"), so let's break it down, Felsing Style.
The Way Things Were
For the past four years, the way PlayStation Plus' Instant Game Collection works hasn't changed that much at all. PlayStation would announce the newer titles coming to the service and would, over the following few weeks, sprinkle those titles into the mix while older titles get pulled out of IGC circulation. At any one moment, there might have been up to 20 titles available spanning Sony's entire stable of systems (PlayStation 3, PSP, Vita, PlayStation 4). While that number sounds large (it is), keep in mind that not all 20 titles were being constantly switched out for newer ones. In fact, if you look at The Offerings during the week of this announcement, you'll see some games on the list have been available since late 2012. Let's call these "mainstays."
As long as you're an active subscriber and "download" the title (Add To Cart and Checkout, you don't have to actually download the game), this adds the game to your Download List and it will always be available for you to play or re-download. This isn't changing.
The Way They're Gonna Be
PlayStation Plus is keeping its Instant Game Collection. Active subscribers will still have a fresh batch of games rolling in every month, too. What's changing is the when and the how.
Instead of sprinkling these titles around throughout the month, all the new games hit on the first Tuesday of the month (June 3, July 1, August 5, etc...); all the old ones leave this day as well. That takes the guesswork out of when an announced game will enter and exit the Instant Game Collection. "Is it this week? Is it THIS week?" - all the games rotate that day.
With this "out with the old, in with the new" mentality comes an end to the mainstays. Instead, each platform (PlayStation 3, Vita, and PlayStation 4) will each get two new games every month. That's six games a month - 72 games a year! That's a killer deal.
WTF - Why The Face?
It seems to me that there are two areas where people seem to be getting hung up on with the changes to the Instant Game Collection. I've already alluded to them before, but here they are outright: the loss of the mainstays, and the diversity of genres offered.
Some of these older titles are "mainstays" at this point. A few titles have been around for over a year and a half and have probably hit maximum download potential. More than likely, offering these handful of games for free no longer creates new system owners, nor are current PlayStation hardware owners converting over to PlayStation Plus subscribers. Sony has a business to run, and one of the few things helping that business run well is its PlayStation division. If the old way of doing things wasn't creating a revenue stream for Sony, then why not change it up?
Now, I will admit that, if I was buying a Vita in July and just found out that I could've downloaded Uncharted: Golden Abyss for free a month earlier, it might bum me out a little. Something I wouldn't do, though, is I wouldn't hate PlayStation all of a sudden, or be upset at Sony for taking something away from me that wasn't mine to begin with.
In fact, if I were an enterprising individual, I might already have a Plus subscription and would just go to the Sony Store website, log in, and "download" the game (basically just adding it to my account) so when I ended up buying my Vita, I'd have an extra game or two to play.
Here's a parallel that might illustrate my point: Three years or so ago, I could've streamed the entire Police Academy catalog through Netflix. Know what I can't do right now? Stream the entire Police Academy catalog through Netflix. Am I upset at Netflix? Does Netflix owe me anything? Am I entitled to Police Academy always all the time because I pay Netflix $8 a month? If you answered 'Yes' to any of those questions, you are by all accounts incorrect. And if you think Netflix owes me an apology then "Mahoney, my little pissant, you are out of the Academy forever. Get your stuff, and get out. Too bad, so sad, bye-bye."
I wasn't in the conference room when PlayStation executives made this decision, but I am confident the decision wasn't made overnight, nor was it taken lightly. I'm pretty certain it came down to them discussing logistics of keeping those titles around versus always being able to offer newer, fresher content. They chose the latter.
"That's what demos are for." Yeah, well eat garbage, trash legs, and get off my lawn! Demos don't earn me Trophies.
Speaking of content: People seem upset by what PlayStation has been offering them for the past couple months. With six fresh titles a month to download, there's a chance that a title may not strike your fancy. The fancies of many PS+ subscribers weren't tickled last month when they could download Pro Evolution Soccer. For June, the untickled are complaining about being able to download NBA 2K14 - one of the highest rated sports titles in the history of interactive video entertainment sports titles - for free! You don't like sports, I get that. I'm not a big sports guy, myself. But I'm not mad at PlayStation for making a deal with a talented developer and quality publisher to be able to offer me the chance to maybe give the game a whirl without having to pay forty-to-sixty bucks. "That's what demos are for." Yeah, well eat garbage, trash legs, and get off my lawn! Demos don't earn me Trophies.
And don't even get me started about offering a slew of fantastic indie titles alongside the bigger ones. Sorry Knack isn't free and you already paid forTrine 2. That choice was yours to buy the game. Maybe you should be happy that others who maybe didn't have the money to do so are now able to enjoy a great game.
The same person complaining about what they can or can't download is the same as the 15-turned-16 year old kid on My Super Sweet 16 that cries because the Lexus they just got from their probably loving parents isn't the Porsche that they really wanted.