Free download games only playable as long as gamers pay membership fee

E3 wrapped up earlier this month and lots of new hardware, games and other new services were announced at the show from major game developers. Sony was one of the major electronics companies that unveiled many new items at the show.

One of the more confusing items Sony debuted during its E3 keynote was PlayStation Plus. The confusing aspect was what exactly came with the purchase of the service. Sony Sr. Director of the PlayStation Network Susan Panico has posted to the official PlayStation Blog to clarify what the new service includes ahead of its official launch on June 29.

Some of the key offerings that PlayStation Plus provides are full access to the PlayStation Network game WipEout HD; PSP minis; PS One classics like Fieldrunners, Age of Zombies, Rally Cross; and a game trial of Infamous. The service will also provide a free monthly episode of Qore.

Panico points out that the current PlayStation Network will remain a free service. PlayStation Plus subscribers will get the existing PSN features plus PlayStation Plus features with exclusive games, store discounts, exclusive demo selections, betas, and early purchases. Buyers will also get full game trials and automatic downloads.

The full-game trials will last only one hour unless otherwise stated. If players get through several levels of a trial game in that hour and decides to buy, the purchased game picks up where the player left off in the trial.

One of the cooler features, and one that all PS3 owners should get, is Automatic Downloads. This feature lets the player set their PS3 to wake up at any time of the day or night to download updates automatically. The actual installation of updates has to be done manually though.

PlayStation Plus-specific games will be downloadable for the entire month and new games will replace them. Once the user downloads the free games, they are available to players as long as they remain PlayStation Plus members. The discounts in the PlayStation store will range from 20% to 50% and users will be able to keep their purchases made with discounts even if they don’t renew a membership.

The pricing is $49.99 for a year and $17.99 for three months of service. Sony will also give buyers of the year package an extra three months for 15 months total.

"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs

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