PS Minus

PS Plus August 2021 lineup reveals 2 glaring flaws of Sony’s service

PlayStation Plus needs an overhaul to become relevant again.

Sony

August 2021’s PlayStation Plus lineup leaked on the PlayStation website as of July 24, revealing a lackluster list of games.

Since the PlayStation 5’s launch in November 2020, the PS Plus offerings had been on an upward trajectory in terms of quality, giving subscribers excellent games like A Plague Tale: Innocence, Control, and Final Fantasy VII Remake. Despite all that, the service’s general reception has declined in recent years as it fails to compete with the comparably awesome Xbox Game Pass.

The lackluster nature of PS Plus rings true with August’s lineup, which leaves a lot to be desired. This is proof PS Plus needs an overhaul. Ever since Sony stopped giving away PS3 and PS Vita games through PS Plus, the service’s value has diminished.

What could Sony do to improve? Here are two pivots Sony should make so that PS Plus can stand out in a growing crowd.

PS Plus August 2021 free game list

Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville is one of August 2021’s PS Plus games.Electronic Arts

Although the listing has been removed from the PlayStation site, the leaked PS Plus games for August are all but confirmed, as spotted by PushSquare. The list is as follows:

  • Hunter's Arena: Legends (PS5)
  • Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville (PS4)
  • Tennis World Tour 2 (PS4)

While these games likely aren’t bad by any means, it’s tough to compare them to any of the previous months’ offerings since the PS5 launched.

Aside from adding more popular, newer titles to each month’s PS Plus offerings, Sony could do two things to improve the service overall.

2. A greater emphasis on PSVR

PS Plus should offer a free PSVR title to cater to those who bought the headset. Shutterstock

After the launch of the PSVR headset, it seemed obvious to integrate the platform into PS Plus. The headset and all its peripherals aren’t cheap, so what better way to entice potential buyers to hop on board than to offer games that can be played at no additional cost? It would certainly make the platform seem more attractive.

As it stands, the PSVR is the most popular VR headset, with over 5 million units sold as of 2021, according to UploadVR. But even still, that’s a low attach rate considering there are over 116 million PS4s out in the wild and 9 million PS5s.

To make up for the lack of PS3 and PS Vita games, Sony could integrate PSVR as a regular monthly addition to PS Plus. For instance, one PS5, two PS4, and one PSVR game could be the standard, giving players more consistent support for the VR headset. However, based on the cadence of PSVR games, it seems Sony hasn’t been as focused on supporting the platform in general.

Perhaps something like this is in the cards already with the forthcoming next-gen PSVR headset, a piece of hardware that isn’t due out for quite some time. Offering “free” PS Plus games each month would absolutely make biting the bullet to spend $300+ on a PSVR much easier.

1. Access to older games

There is no way to play many of the PS3’s best games on modern PlayStation hardware, including the original Dead Space.Electronic Arts

The other major issue with the PlayStation platform, in general, is how it handles older games. Even titles from the PS3 era are difficult to access on modern hardware, with some being limited to PlayStation Now via streaming while others aren’t available.

Xbox Game Pass and the platform’s Arcade section make it clear that Microsoft prioritizes the preservation of legacy games. Just look at the list of titles you can get on an Xbox Series X console. Many original Xbox titles are available to download, including fan favorites like Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, Panzer Dragoon Orta, and Jade Empire.

On PS5, you can get a narrow slice of Sony’s best legacy titles, but a lot of the more popular entries have gotten lost in the weeds, especially from the PS3 era. For instance, despite its immense popularity, you cannot play the original Dead Space or its sequel on a PS5. You can play Dead Space 3 via PS Now, but remember, PS3 games are stream only — and the third entry is widely regarded as the worst in the series.

If you want to play the entire Dead Space trilogy — or other PS1, PS2, and PS3 games — there isn’t a solution on PlayStation. Instead, it would be a consumer-friendly move to integrate legacy games into PS Plus, giving subscribers even more value.

Taking a similar approach to adding PSVR games, Sony could give users access to a free legacy title each month. Or perhaps it could offer a lengthy list of legacy titles, similar to Nintendo Switch Online, which features various NES and SNES games to subscribers.

Considering there are 47.6 million PS Plus subscribers out there, there isn’t much of an incentive for Sony to do much of anything with the service. But we worry that eventually, consumers might opt of re-subscribing if PS Plus doesn’t receive some significant changes going forward.

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