PS Plus Extra day-one games need to be a monthly event

Dave the Diver and Tales of Kenzera's day-one launch on PS Plus makes a strong case for PS Plus Extra making monthly day-one games part of the package.

PS Plus Extra day-one games need to be a monthly event
Lee Brady

Opinion by Lee Brady

Published

Like many PS Plus subscribers, I'm going to be diving into those Dave the Diver trophies when they arrive day one on PS Plus Extra. After all, it was already one of my most anticipated upcoming PS5 games for 2024. With Tales of Kenzera: Zau on the way to PS Plus on day one as well, it all has me feeling like I'm actually getting my money's worth with my PS Plus subscription. That feeling then prompts the age-old question: why isn't expecting PS Plus Extra monthly day-one games a thing?

Lee

PS Plus Extra needs regular day-one game launches

For the second time since PS Plus Extra was launched, Sony has announced two day-one PS Plus games in the same month. The PlayStation Plus April 2024 Extra and Premium lineup will include not only Dave the Diver — which comes to PS5 and PS4 after months of success on PC — but also EA Original's Tales of Kenzera: Zau.
The last time this happened was back in August 2023, when PS Plus Extra added both Sea of Stars and Moving Out 2 at launch in the same month. That month, I personally felt a similar thrill hanging over PS Plus; it suddenly felt like Sony was getting a handle on the service and finding out what it needed to be.

That thrill, of course, immediately subsided when the next month saw no new day-one games added to the service. That will most likely be the case for the PS Plus Extra games for May 2024 as well. After all, there's been no consistency in that regard from Sony. PS Plus Extra will go months without a new day-one addition to the service, with PS Plus Premium left to fill the void with a trickling of PS1 and PSP titles.

I still think it makes perfect sense for Sony to steer clear from bringing its first-party or even third-party AAA games day one to PS Plus Extra. While new PS Plus' monthly games lack the punch of additions to rival Xbox's Game Pass service — which gets big games day-one like Persona 3 Reload — I can't help but worry that approach hurts value perceptions of the games industry as a whole.
That said, the production scale of the day-one games we've seen on PS Plus Extra so far feels perfect to me. Day-one PS5 ports of popular PC games like Rogue Legacy 2, Tearaway, and Dave the Diver feel like a great treat for a subscriber like me who prefers to wait and play things on PlayStation. Niche indie games that could fly under the radar like Humanity and Tchia feel like a good fit, and the occasional AA effort from big publishers like Stray (Annapurna) and Tales of Kenzera (EA) feel just about right for a sustainable subscription model.

All we need now is consistency. As PS Plus subscribers, we need to know for certain what to expect from the subscription scheme on a monthly basis, because then we know ahead of time it's worth keeping a subscription rolling just to find out what we might end up playing next month.

Lee

PS Plus subscribers respond to day-one games

Looking over our exclusive data (courtesy of GameInsights), it's abundantly clear that PS Plus subscribers respond stronger to day-one games on PS Plus more consistently than any other kind of game. Three of the top 10 biggest PS Plus Extra games in 2023 were day-one releases: Sea of Stars, Teardown, and Tchia.
If we glance at the wider list of 195 games added to PS Plus Extra last year, we can see Rogue Legacy 2 (#29), Moving Out 2 (#36), and Humanity (#51) all ranking in the top third of the list in terms of popularity. It's clear players respond strongly to these games, even if they're brand new entities like Tchia and Humanity. Some of that success might have to do with PS Plus emulating the Game Pass method, but otherwise it just seems like subscribers prefer to experience games this way in general.

I can't help but feel that laying out this approach to adding monthly day-one games on PS Plus Extra helps give Sony's subscription service an identity — something it desperately needs as Game Pass continues to loudly walk all over the competition. Sure, it may not have the biggest games in the world, but at least PS Plus Extra could trade on an identity other than "the slightly pricier version of PS Plus."

This is something Sony should have down pat, because frankly, this is how it sold PlayStation Plus to people in the first place. When PS Plus subscriptions were made a requirement for users to play online on the PS4, it was merely emulating what Microsoft had already been doing with Xbox Live at the time. However, at least in my experience, PS Plus carried with it a decent reputation online because it also offered surprisingly big monthly games each month for subscribers — something Microsoft struggled to match even when it started offering Games with Gold.
That solid reputation came largely from PS Plus' monthly games giving the subscription scheme an identity, a predictability that we see echoed in some of the stronger elements in Xbox Game Pass' identity. In this regard, PS Plus Extra really stumbles, as right now it merely feels like the tacked-on upgrade to PS Plus that lets it vaguely compete with Microsoft's stronger service. In my opinion, that's because PS Plus Extra doesn't have anything specific about itself that subscribers can point to that helps identify the character of the service.

Well, looking at the strong performance of these day-one games, I'd say that's the direction Sony should go with PS Plus Extra. If subscribers can expect something brand-new on PS Plus Extra every month — even if it doesn't carry anywhere near the star power of a Persona 3 Reload or a Starfield — I think that would be enough for us to say "that's what it's about," and from there let the good word spread.

It certainly beats the identity I currently have for PS Plus Extra in my head, which is "a place for stuff I either already own or don't really care about." Getting the opportunity to discover more stuff like Dave the Diver or one of the best PS Plus games around, Humanity, would certainly fix that perception. That said, what do you think? Do you like day one games on PS Plus Extra? What direction would you suggest Sony go with this? Let us know in the comments below.

Chart compiled using gameplay data from over 3.2 million active PlayStation accounts (not just TrueTrophies accounts). Chart information is copyright GameInsights. Regarding this data:
  • When an account opens a game, this is registered as a game being played. Accounts can only register a game once per week.
  • Our data is good for suggesting general trends — we represent this using percentages, not numbers.
Written by Lee Brady
Staff Writer Lee keeps one eye on the future (Shadow x Sonic Generations), one eye on the past (PS Plus Premium games), and his secret third eye on junk he really likes (Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts games). Then he uses his big mouth to blurt out long-winded opinions about video games.
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