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PlayStation Plus doubled new subscribers with free games

How did PlayStation Plus go from general grumblings to a 97 percent customer satisfaction rate? According to a VentureBeat interview with Jack Buser, PlayStation senior director of digital platforms, all it took was listening to gamers. And it turns out gamers want free games.

“In retrospect, it seems like, yeah, of course. Gamers love games,” Buser said. “But we came to that conclusion through a mountain of data, and we really landed on this idea that not only are we going to put free games on the service, but we’re going to put great free games on the service.”

Sony announced the Instant Game Collection, an assortment of titles available gratis to Plus subscribers, at E3 this year. The collection includes AAA titles like InFamous 2, LittleBigPlanet 2, and Borderlands.

“That week of E3, we saw a two-times lift of new membership sales,” Buser said. “It just skyrocketed.”

Customer satisfaction also nearly doubled from around 50 percent before E3, he said. But the Instant Game Collection wasn't just a boon for Sony and subscribers.. Gearbox used the service to woo new players to Borderlands 2 by offering up its predecessor, Buser said.

“Some of the most active and vocal people on PlayStation Network are PlayStation Plus members, and a whole new group of people were exposed [to the Borderlands franchise] right in time for Borderlands 2.”

Sony plans to begin offering PlayStation Plus services to subscribers on PS Vita in November.

15 comments

  • wholemkt5 - September 30, 2012 7:36 p.m.

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  • Divine Paladin - September 29, 2012 12:37 p.m.

    Didn't their subscriber amount double because they gave away PS+ to everybody at their E3 show? Like, it went up a lot afterwards, but that direct statistic just seems a bit forced.
  • Ferret - September 29, 2012 8:40 p.m.

    "two-times lift of new membership sales" As in, the PS+ memberships you buy, went up times two. As in, not new members.
  • Divine Paladin - October 1, 2012 11:57 a.m.

    I'm not so sure about that; it seems too much like a padded stat from Sony. That said, I wouldn't doubt that it's accurate, because PS+ should be gaining that much considering how worth it the membership is.
  • spankyj25 - September 29, 2012 8:20 a.m.

    I think that it's brilliant! Some people want to say "it's not really free," or, "you only get them while you stay a plus member." Yes, both of those statements are true. I have several friends that I've tried to talk into the service, and those are the replies I hear. Yet, some of those people pay M$ just to be able to play games online and watch Netflix; two things that are very much free on basic PSN! I only have a Silver Live account, because I don't see the value in upgrading to Gold. PSN+ members get discounts, access to closed betas, 1GB of cloud storage, automatic OS updates and game patches, and an included game library(note: I didn't say free). It saddens me that people think that they should get an entire library of AAA PS3 titles for buying PSN+ for a month! There are MANY games in the "Instant Library" that I would likely never have played, had I not been a Plus member. Compare that to Micro$oft's solution: intentionally hobble their device unless you pay to unlock the features. Sony asks you to pay a premium to get truly PREMIUM features. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my Xbox; I just think that they are using unfortunate tactics to get people to "Go Gold", while Sony wants to truly reward those that pay for their service. Also, it can help drive sales of other products, so it benefits everyone in the long run. I know that I will buy the rest of The Walking Dead episodes, and inFAMOUS 3 on day 1 because of PSN+, and I would definitely have missed out on the nostalgic laugh-a-thon that is Double Dragon Neon without my Plus membership. There's my two cents' worth, anyway. Thanks for the up, Connor.
  • Japanaman - September 29, 2012 6:36 a.m.

    Sorry, but the only free games were the 4 PS3 games and 4 PSP games they gave away after the PSN went down plus Flower (which for some reason I can't redownload for free) and possibly Blokus as it seems like hasn't reverted to demo mode.
  • Dante1924 - September 29, 2012 7 p.m.

    Yeah, the 4 PS3 games, like Just Cause 2, Infamous 2, Saints Row 2, Borderlands, Double Dragon Neon, Littlebigplanet 2, Outland... If you actually read the article, you'd know that playstation plus started an "instant game collection" with 12 or so free games. Completely separate from the welcome back games from last year.
  • spankyj25 - October 1, 2012 8:28 a.m.

    I believe that Japanaman was arguing that the games you get for being a PSN+ member don't count as being "free". Since you have to pay for the service, and if you cancel your subscription, you lose the games. I also shy away from the word "free" when I talk about the Instant Game Collection offered by PSN+. Even though the wording is always "Free to PSN+ subscribers". I think it's an argument of semantics, in the end. It's a common thing for people to say, though. My reply is usually that the service is cheaper than Live Gold, and you get better features; Instant Game Collection, being just one of them. :-)
  • netlatnu - September 28, 2012 2:42 p.m.

    If it weren't for PS+, I would have never tried Walking Dead. Now I am hooked, and have purchased the newest episode and caught up on the books and show. It's discovering things that you wouldn't have tried if they weren't free that makes it so great. Plus, I'm spending money on new things based on that. It's win-win.
  • Turtman - September 28, 2012 1:45 p.m.

    I got Crash Team Racing for free with PSPlus, therefore it is the greatest service in the world. I love me some CTR.
  • lovebump - September 28, 2012 1:10 p.m.

    there not free games, unless things have changed recently once your membership ends and you don't renew it the games go too.
  • Moondoggie1157 - September 28, 2012 2:10 p.m.

    Which is why you scrounge together a measly $60/year. I'm a student and I come from Scotch ancestry, and yet I still see it as a great deal. Seriously, the money I have saved on the free games is ridiculous. I must be pushing close to $300 in free games, maybe more. Don't be cranky just because there is sand in your vagina... You Debbie Downer, you.
  • alexandre-bret - September 29, 2012 9:43 a.m.

    Your the one whose cranky he's just stating the truth. Settle down fanboy. Theres no such thing as free
  • ultimatepunchrod - September 29, 2012 10:10 a.m.

    It's still a great deal even if they aren't technically free. If you renew your $50 subscription once a year and get multiple games each month, that's still saving you a ton. I haven't gotten a plus subscription yet, but it's enticing.
  • hellver08 - September 28, 2012 12:30 p.m.

    I like the "Great Games" part; I would have never considered buying Borderlands 2 because I never gave Borderlands a chance, but after immediately downloading it when it was "Free" for Plus members, I got hooked and will buy Borderlands 2 as soon as I am done with the first. Trying to find new and better weapons is so addictive!!

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