Are expensive console subscriptions worth it in South Africa?

PlayStation Plus, AAA vs Indie

We have all been up in arms over the past 12 months as both PlayStation Plus and Xbox Gold have seen a price increase. PlayStation Plus’ prices doubled while Xbox Gold’s tripled.

PlayStation Plus and Xbox Gold Pie

Are these services worth our R1000 a year? In some regards yes, and in some not at all. Think of our subscription cost as a pie which gets split up into various departments by Sony and Microsoft to make sure we receive the best value for money across their devices and services.

In theory R99 or R159 a month goes towards making sure network activity is stable when playing games, value added content like the Instant Games Collection and Xbox Games with Gold are provided, and cloud based services are maintained.



Before I start comparing the services, it is also important to take into account the local exchange rate. We knew it was coming, as Xbox Gold did not go up in price in over 10 years. The American subscription fee is $9,99 a month, in which were were paying less than half of that at $3,21, when compared to the old R50 a month fee.

The price increase for both PlayStation Plus and Xbox Gold lined the price up with international territories, which we just have to accept. The biggest issue here is that the services provided with these subscriptions are either not available in SA or not up to standard. Let us take a look at where our money is going.

Online Multiplayer

A major feature, probably the main reason why we all pay for the service, is the online multiplayer. Without a PS+ or Xbox Gold subscription, you can kiss all those salty Call of Duty matches goodbye.

You need to ask yourself if the gameplay experience is stable enough to pay for.

A portion of our subscription goes towards making sure that our online gaming is enjoyable. When you are lagging and get kicked from matches, that service loses value.

Call of Duty - COD

Many games have servers all over the world – but at R159 a month, the gameplay experience should be top notch if we are paying the same price as gamers who benefit from a lag free environment due to region.

No regional servers mean that the most expensive and important part of our subscription is going to waste.

Free Games

While many may argue the “free games” that we get every month are not mandatory, they are. We pay for them whether you like it or not. They are not an extra feature which we do not need to get from Sony and Microsoft, they are part of the deal.

Microsoft have been getting their act together regarding the Xbox Games with Gold lineup, as thanks to Xbox One backwards compatibility, we get 4 games a month. Sony on the other hand, have really been taking advantage of the service and offering games which very few people find amusing.

PlayStation Plus

I don’t think people are very happy

We cannot have the whole world happy, but when we are 6 months into the year and we still have no real reason to subscribe for the games, you have to feel like you are being robbed blind.

Honestly, the PS Vita has more reason to get PS+ as Uncharted: The Golden Abyss and Gravity Rush are offered upon signing up.

Overall PS4 gamers are still given games which they do not even add to their cart, something must be wrong here, or am I just really fussy?

Value Added Services

You know when you press the share button on the PS4 to use the SharePlay feature and you get told that your 100Mbps fiber line is not fast enough to use the service? Well believe it or not, that service is part of PlayStation Plus. Along with Xbox One’s Hulu, OneGuide, SmartMatch, Xbox Music, and Xbox Video.

All those services above are services that are part of the pie that is our monthly subscription. Our pie is just as big as everyone else’s, but we do not get these services due to content restrictions in SA.

Out of all the services that we miss out on, these are the worst as they offer great features to our consoles which take them beyond the usual gaming experience.

Is it all worth it?

There is not much we can do to change these issues, as they are far beyond our reach. Regional servers would make things a little better as our online gaming, the most important part of our subscription, would be worth it in the end.

Right now, it is a case of we either do not pay for it and play offline, or we just deal with the cost and pay it. The issue in the end is not the cost of it, as we have accepted that it had to increase, but it the amount of content and services which we in South Africa do not get to experience.

Putting the high cost of it aside, do you think we are getting our money’s worth? Let us know in the comments and forum.

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Are expensive console subscriptions worth it in South Africa?

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