I just downloaded the one hour demo of Need for Speed: Most Wanted from PSN and some would even say that I am just renting the game. I play $50 a year for PS+ like the rest of the hungry masses. I know that all of my $50 doesn't go only to demoing games, I get a lot of great games that I can play through to completion. Recently, with that $50 a year, I have been getting games like Payday: The Heist, Blitz, King of Fighters XIII, and Gotham City Impostors. Games that I wouldn't have gotten if it wasn't for PS+.
It was the last one of those games that really got me thinking about this free-to-play model that Sony has going for it. When I downloaded Gotham City Impostors it was going free-to-play on PC and around that same time PS+ had a free download of the game too. I had been wanting to play the game for a while so I got into it one weekend and I ended up playing it a lot. So much so that I started to buy XP boosters to unlock the weapons and gadgets that the other players had already unlocked. I realized, after my PSN Wallet had reached 56 cents, that I had spent around $30 on those boosters. I had another realization that, when I always whispered to myself I would never be one of those people who payed for boosters, I had been caught; hook, line, and sinker.
I am happy about the $30+ dollars that I spent in-game. I had a great time paying that game. I am glad that I could support Monolith in that way. But, I am starting to see this further pushed out into bigger games. I am still waiting on the download of Need for Speed: Most Wanted, but I can see myself buying this game after I play an hour demo. I love Criterion and I haven't played a "real" Need for Speed game since the first Underground on PS2. I did play Shift (once again, through PS+), but I am glad I didn't buy it because the driving in that was way too squirrelly, even with all of the assists turned off, for me. With Criterion on their game, I could really see myself getting into this game.
With these two services working in tandem, I think we are seeing an all new Sony. A Sony that is quietly positioning themselves as the kings of Service, which, I think most people will agree, is going to be the main fighting ground of the next console war.
Since PS+ was announced at E3 in 2010, the service has been making all of the right movies to position itself as "The" premium service among it's competitors. I really believe that it has done this handedly. Alas, it is too late in the game to prove itself as the top dog of this generation, but with the new roll-out of the PS Store and some of the decisions that Sony has been making with it's PS+ program I can see that Sony is preparing for the next console war that will be disc-less, utilizing more of "the cloud," and integrated through services like PS+.