What is PlayStation Plus and why do I need it?

PS Plus Premium home page
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What is PlayStation Plus and why do I need it?

Best answer: PlayStation Plus is Sony's subscription service for all things PlayStation, and it's available to purchase monthly or for an entire year. With it you get access to online multiplayer, cloud storage, exclusive deals, and more. Sony now offers three PlayStation Plus tiers that give players additional access to hundreds of games on demand. 

PS Plus Essential, Extra, and Premium

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PS Plus Premium genres landing page

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PlayStation Plus has been revamped, dividing it into three subscription tiers and absorbing PlayStation Now into the service. The three tiers available are PlayStation Plus Essential, PlayStation Plus Extra, and PlayStation Plus Premium.

PlayStation Plus Essential: Provides the same benefits as PS Plus today (discounts, two free games each month, cloud storage, and online multiplayer). It's priced at $10 monthly, $25 quarterly, or $60 yearly.

PlayStation Plus Extra: This second tier provides all benefits of PS Plus Essential and adds a catalog of 400 PS4 and PS5 games that can be downloaded on-demand. It's priced at $15 monthly, $40 quarterly, or $100 yearly.

PlayStation Plus Premium: The most expensive plan has all benefits of the Essential and Extra tiers along with an additional 340 games that can be downloaded or streamed, including classic titles from PS3, PS2, and the original PlayStation. The Premium tier also offers limited-time game trials. It's priced at $18 monthly, $50 quarterly, or $120 yearly. 

There's a growing list of PlayStation Plus Premium games that will continue to expand in the coming months with new releases and older classics. 

PS Plus Premium Game Trials 

PS Plus Premium game trials

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Game trials are only available for PS Plus members subscribing to Premium, and they allow players to demo a game for a few hours before deciding if they want to purchase it or not. Game trials are not available for every title, but for the select games that are included any save data or trophies earned will be carried over should you purchase the game. 

Instant Game Collection

Instant Game Collection Ps

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If you're looking to expand your game library, a PlayStation Plus subscription is a great way to do it. As a Plus subscriber in any tier, you will have access to two free PS4 games every month and a free PS5 game. Once you have a game in your library, it will remain there as long as you have an active PS Plus subscription.

PlayStation Plus Collection

Ps Plus Collection

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The PlayStation Plus Collection is another benefit for PlayStation Plus members on PS5, making it a great way to expand your library with access to a small library of PS4 titles for free. This benefit doesn't mean much for Extra and Premium tier subscribers who have access to these games along with hundreds of others in their subscriptions, but for those who only want to purchase PlayStation Plus Essential, it's a nice bonus. 

From Worldwide Studios:

  • Bloodborne
  • Days Gone
  • Detroit: Become Human
  • God of War
  • Infamous Second Son
  • Ratchet and Clank
  • The Last Guardian
  • The Last of Us Remastered
  • Until Dawn
  • Uncharted 4: A Thief's End

From third-party publishers and developers:

  • Batman: Arkham Knight
  • Battlefield 1
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops III – Zombies Chronicles Edition
  • Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy
  • Fallout 4
  • Final Fantasy XV Royal Edition
  • Monster Hunter: World
  • Mortal Kombat X
  • Resident Evil 7

Game Help

Astros Playroom Game Help

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Game Help is another benefit for PS Plus members on PS5. This neat little feature allows subscribers to access game walkthroughs and tips with the press of a button. While not every game supports Game Help, a good number do, and you can expect most — if not all — PlayStation exclusives to utilize it going forward.

Share Play

Ps5 Screen Share

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Share Play is a generous offering from Sony that works on both PS4 and PS5. It's essentially the modern-day digital equivalent of having a friend come over and sit on your couch to play a game with you. With Share Play, you can do a few things. First, you can broadcast your gameplay to a friend or share screenshots. That in and of itself isn't entirely revolutionary. The coolest part is that you can invite a friend to take control of your game or join you in multiplayer even if they don't own a copy of that particular game.

Online multiplayer

Tiny Tina's Wonderlands fatemaker

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If you're looking to play online multiplayer games, then a PlayStation Plus subscription is pretty much your only option. Some games are free to play online even if you don't have PS Plus, but if you're looking to play the most popular top-tier titles, then you are going to need a Plus subscription to do it.

Exclusive discounts

Ps Plus Ps5 Discounts

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In addition to all other benefits mentioned thus far, with a PlayStation Plus subscription, you will have exclusive access to some pretty deep discounts on PlayStation titles. I have seen some top games on sale for as much as 80% off. Plus members usually have the added benefit of receiving an extra 10% off games already discounted. Those kinds of savings have the potential to offset the cost of a PS Plus subscription in pretty short order.

The cost of a PlayStation Plus subscription can vary based on the method by which you buy it. For the most part, the best deal is to buy it a year at a time. It may seem like a lot at first blush, but if you consider all the free games and savings, you will have access to it pretty much pays for itself.

Cloud game saves

Ps5 Cloud Storage

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One of the handy little perks of a PlayStation Plus subscription is the ability to save your games to the cloud. One way this can be of benefit is to save you some precious hard drive space. If you find storage limited on your system, then the ability to move some of your saves to the cloud can free up some space. Besides, you can access your saves from anywhere. That way, if you're going to be playing on a different console, your precious saved games are always ready for you without the need to carry around a USB drive.

What's even better is that what was once a measly 1GB of cloud storage — and then 10GB of cloud storage — was raised to a whopping 100GB for PS Plus members in 2019.

Try it out

If you would like to give PlayStation Plus a test drive, you can always try 14 days free to see if it's right for you. However, I can say from experience that if you have the money, it's worth every penny.

Jennifer Locke
Games Editor - PlayStation, Android, VR

Jennifer Locke has been playing video games nearly her entire life. You can find her posting pictures of her dog and obsessing over PlayStation and Xbox, Star Wars, and other geeky things.