My PS Plus predictions paid off and now I feel like a monster

My PS Plus Sifu gambit has paid off — after two years of waiting, Sifu will finally arrive on PS Plus in March 2024. So, why do I suddenly feel like a jerk?

My PS Plus predictions paid off and now I feel like a monster
Lee Brady

Lee Brady

Published

At long last, those coveted Sifu trophies will finally go 'free' to PS Plus Essential subscribers as one of the monthly PlayStation Plus March 2024 games. This is something I've expected for quite a while — in fact, I've been holding tight to my own little Sifu PS Plus gambit for at least two years. Saying that, now that Sifu has gone 'free,' I've started to realize that maybe relying on PS Plus to support games I'm actively interested in makes me feel like a monster.

Lee

PS Plus' relationship with indie games enables us to be monsters

Sifu was originally revealed to the public with a PlayStation State of Play trailer back in February 2021. If you've never heard of it, Sifu is a beat-'em'-up game with classic kung fu movie overtones from French indie developer SloClap. I've embedded the State of Play reveal trailer below; I think it still makes quite the impression.
After having enjoyed some of the ideas in the developer's previous game Absolver — a game with its own unique take on melee combat — I took from the reveal trailer that this one was going to be a more focused version of the same kind of action.

More importantly, it looked really good. Sifu launched for PS5 and PS4 a year later on Tuesday, February 8, 2022, and after reading a few rave reviews, I did what anyone interested in a new product naturally would do — I waited.

You might reasonably expect me to have been waiting on a sale — I mean, that's just savvy consumer behavior. Alas, no; I was waiting for Sifu to come to PlayStation Plus. Not because I had secretly heard the game was coming to PS Plus or something. I've just been an on-and-off PS Plus subscriber for over ten years now and have since developed a system for predicting which games are likely to come to the subscription service.

How to predict a future PS Plus monthly game

Here's the system I've quietly held in my head for the last few years. With a max score of 18 (which, you'll notice, should be impossible), anything with a score above seven has a 50/50 chance of coming to PS Plus, and everything with a score over 10 is as close to a certainty as arbitrary number systems allow us to get.
Behold: my PS Plus prediction system
  • Is it an indie game or would Geoff Keighley commend its "indie spirit"? One point.
  • Does it have a distinct visual style or could you imagine game-likers describing the production value as "AA"? One point.
  • Are the developers European? One point. (Don't ask me why this matters, that's just the rules.)
  • Was it nominated for any big games industry awards? Two points.
  • Did it actually win one of those awards? Minus one point if so.
  • Did Sony give the game a spotlight at a State of Play? One point.
  • Did Sony give the game decent coverage on the PlayStation Blog? Five points.
  • Is it a live-service game, but not an insanely popular one? One point.
  • Is it a live-service game that's due to die any day now? Three points.
  • If AAA, did the game fail to meet sales expectations but might have succeeded in an alternative universe where almost nothing has changed? Three points.
Sifu scored an 11. So, unless Microsoft announced it was purchasing a controlling stake in SloClap, I felt it was a sure thing that the game would eventually hit PS Plus. All I needed to do was wait and then I wouldn't have to actually pay for the game.

Sure, it took two full years for that prediction to be proven correct, but nonetheless, the system works. I don't know about you, but I certainly look forward to washing this hollow victory down with a tall glass of Cult of the Lamb sometime this year. (Again, I don't actually know for certain that it will be on PS Plus.)

Sifu coming to PS Plus made me realize I've been a jerk

Of course, the gross thing in all this is the fact that it was all for the expressed goal of not paying for a game I was interested in. That's the mind rot that sets in when you've had a gaming subscription like PS Plus for any length of time — you stop thinking about reasonable things like "paying for a product you're interested in" and instead start confidently believing that, at some point, certain products will simply gravitate towards your digital game library.
Sure, we all have our reasons for holding off on purchasing games we're interested in. However, for me to hold off for two years, through numerous sales and financially healthier months, on the belief that someday a game will be mine for "free" — that's just basic gross behavior. (I guess it needs to be said here as well: PS Plus games are not free — you have to keep paying for your subscription to access those games.)

On some level, I would like to blame the way subscription schemes work. Like I was saying when Immortals of Aveum floated around its PS Plus plans, these subscription schemes basically enable us to think of games of all sizes as something we're entitled to at a certain point. If a game's big and it bombs, you can bet it'll be on PS Plus. If a game's got a mid-sized production and a decent social media record, you can bet Sony will bag it — it just might take a few years.

You get into the habit of assessing which games are supposedly worth holding out on. Maybe you, like me, even start pouring whatever money you've set aside into the types of games you know will never be considered for PS Plus. That, or you pick up another monthly subscription and dual-wield the 'now' and the 'later' by having both a PS Plus and Game Pass account. It's savvy thinking if you want to maximize your gaming options, and I do it this way, even if I don't play even half of the stuff available to me.
Then, like me, you might sit by and watch lovely games like Season A Letter to the Future come out and sell so poorly that the studio has to let go of most of its staff. The game looks right up my street, but I'll admit I still don't own a copy at the time of writing because somewhere in the back of my head I still expect it to come to PS Plus.

I know a studio shouldn't expect my purchase or anything, but man, it sure doesn't stop me from feeling like a jerk. Even when these artists convinced me that I would like to own their game, I still committed to my ridiculous PS Plus prediction system.

The same fate could have easily befallen Sifu's developers — luckily, that game was seemingly a success. Thinking it over, though, there's definitely a line there somewhere when it stops being the fault of PS Plus for enabling this kind of brain rot and becomes my fault as someone who supposedly cares about this medium. I'm not saying I could have changed any of these outcomes with my support, but it would certainly make me feel a lot less like a jerk if I had at least made a decision.
Instead, I let the auto-subscribe roll on for another year and let PS Plus do the thinking for me. Well, this year will be the last of that kind of thinking. I may be an idiot with a stupid PS Plus prediction game in my head, but I don't think even I can look at the industry I love crumble so badly in 2024 and not take some action. I don't know what the right answer is to any of this stuff, but it's probably not "keep feeding money to Sony" — certainly not with these kinds of decisions being made.

I can start by calling it quits on passively supporting PS Plus. At least as far as I'm concerned, that's the primary source of my most jerk-like behavior. That doesn't automatically mean I'll start making smarter decisions with my support of the games industry, of course, but at least it means I'm not mindlessly supporting something that I think might genuinely be hurting the state of gaming today in its current, unchecked form.

SifuI did also buy Sifu, so that's something. I'll also get Season when I've got more cash. Sorry Season!

Ultimately, that's all I wanted to say with this — if something regarding your personal gaming habits is making you feel like a jerk, consider no longer doing that thing. I mean, I'm sure most of you out there have higher-functioning brains and don't need to be told that. It was just on the off-chance you too woke up from a two-year Sifu gambit this week and realized, wow, maybe I'm part of the problem. Otherwise, carry on.

Wow, remember when The Game Awards nominated Sifu as one of the best fighting games back in 2022? Boy, that sure was embarrassing. Anyway, how about we share some other terrible gaming habits together in the comments below? Also, please don't abuse that PS Plus prediction system, I shared it with you because I trust you.
Written by Lee Brady
Staff Writer Lee keeps one eye on the future (Astro Bot), one eye on the past (PS1, PS2, and PS3 games), and his secret third eye on junk he really likes (Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts, Sonic). A PlayStation fan for over 25 years, he loves replaying classic games via PS Plus.
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