With the arrival of Sony’s PS4, many people have asked us our take on the PlayStation Plus Network. Is it any good? Is it worth having? Should you buy a PlayStation Plus Code for their shiny new toy? Let’s first unpack what PlayStation Plus is and if it’s cracked up to be!

PlayStation Plus is a part of the PlayStation Network (PSN) that offers premium content for a subscription. Much like XBox Live, PS Plus gives members early access to demos and games, free games, and a bunch of other features and goodies you wouldn’t be able to otherwise use.

Automated Updates – For an avid player, one of the most useful features of the PS Plus Membership is the ability to have system updates and game patches download and install automatically to your PS4. Previously it was sometimes a hassle to boot up your system, ready to play, only to be met with a mandatory system software update that had to download and install before you could even play some games. There were times I felt like I spent more time updating than I did actually playing! That’s why this is a big bonus, as you can set up your PS4 to install these patches and updates without you ever knowing about them!

Early Access – Some games’ reputations precede them and having the chance to play a Beta test or demo before anyone else is always a nice feeling! PlayStation Plus Members get just that, early access to tons of games that are still in development. I find these playable demos extremely helpful when I’m deciding if this game is really worth a cool sixty bucks when it’s finally released. How are the graphics? How is the gameplay? Is the content to edgy or can I play it with my kids? THe PS Plus Early Access doesn’t answer all of our questions, but it certainly helps!

Discounts – Unlike other deals, the PS Plus sales are usually really deep and pretty cool. I’ve found amazing full games for a fraction of the price they go for in traditional stores. Not all of these games are gems, but with current epic titles like The Order: 1886, Bloodborne, & Dark Souls II all at a cool 20% off, there are plenty of amazing finds, updated all the time!

Free Games – PS Plus Members usually get about 6 free games to choose from every month. These titles are usually split up by platform, so this is especially nice if you own a PS3 or PS Vita as well. Some of these games are intentionally less graphic in nature due to their easy accessibility and the fact that they’re free. They realize kids will be all over many of these titles, and I’ve noticed they include more of the artistic and creative games kids love to play.

Multiplayer – This is kind of a no brainer. If you played PS3 then chances are you’re like me and you got hooked on some of the outstanding, award winning multiplayer that some PS titles offer. Now with PS4, multiplayer is even better, although now it requires a PS Plus Membership. This feature isn’t for everyone, but my best friends and I often schedule online meet ups weeks in advance just because we knew the wife and kids would be gone for the evening and it was a great opportunity to hang out, even though many of us are hours apart. For me, this is what really sold me on getting a PlayStation Plus Membership.

Instant Game Collection – Based on how long you’re a member of PS Plus, PSN includes access to an ever growing collection of new games, with new titles appearing all the time. Your can keep the games for as long as you’re a PS Plus member. This may not seem like a big deal, but it is! In 2014, PS Plus gave members more than $1,300 in free games which is the most from any next-gen console!

Storage & Saves – Lastly, PS Plus gives you 3 GB of online storage in addition to a hefty 1,000 game save files. There’s nothing quite as devastating as accidentally deleting your most current game save, and PS Plus helps bypass that problem!

Looking back, PlayStation Plus isn’t all champagne and roses, but what it does offer is pretty substantial. Basically, more games and more content for your games. While PS4 is an amazing stand alone console right out of the box, having access to the premiums that come with PS Plus are sure fire way to improve the experience.