Gaming Consoles & PCs What is PlayStation Plus? How much it costs, what it's for, and why you need it. by Jeremy Laukkonen Writer Jeremy Laukkonen is tech writer and the creator of a popular blog and video game startup. He also ghostwrites articles for numerous major trade publications. our editorial process Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Jeremy Laukkonen Updated on October 21, 2019 Tanya-Stock / iStock / Getty Images Consoles & PCs Xbox Buyer's Guide Tweet Share Email PlayStation Plus is a subscription service for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and Vita owners. It comes with a number of benefits, like discounts and free games each month, and it's also required if you have a PlayStation 4 and want to play online games. New members can take advantage of a free trial, and there are monthly, quarterly, and yearly subscription options. What is PlayStation Plus? PlayStation Plus is Sony's response to Xbox Live. It started out as an optional subscription service for PlayStation 3, but PlayStation 4 owners are required to subscribe if they want to play online. Subscribers also receive a number of benefits in addition to the ability to play cooperative and competitive games online. PlayStation Plus Features and Benefits: Online multiplayer: PlayStation 4 owners can't play online without a PlayStation Plus subscription. There are a handful of exceptions, like Final Fantasy XIV, but they're very rare.Free games: PlayStation Plus subscribers get a few free games every month. As long as you're subscribed to PlayStation Plus, you retain access to these games.Game discounts: Subscribers receive discounts on digital game purchases through the PlayStation Store.Timed game trials: These are full game trials that allow you to play for a limited amount of time.Cloud saves: Subscribers have the option to upload games save to Sony's cloud storage. This allows you to save a game on your console, sign in on a different console, and continue where you left off. Who Needs PlayStation Plus? PlayStation 4 owners need PlayStation Plus to play online. Whether you want to play a co-op game with a single friend, or a competitive shooter with strangers, you need PlayStation Plus. If you have multiple PlayStation 4 consoles in different physical locations, then you need PlayStation Plus for the cloud save feature. This feature allows you to pick up where you left off without physically bringing your console along with you. It also protects your saves against data loss in case your console is lost or destroyed. Anyone looking to build a large library of free games will also benefit from PlayStation Plus. Since it provides a couple games each month, and a yearly subscription costs about the price of one game, the free games represent a pretty enticing value. How Much Does PlayStation Plus Cost? You can buy PlayStation Plus through the PlayStation website, your console, or by purchasing a gift card at a physical retailer, so prices can fluctuate. Retailers will often run sales, so that's usually the cheapest way to get PlayStation Plus if you're patient. If you want to pay for PlayStation Plus directly through the PlayStation website or your console, you can pay monthly, quarterly, or yearly. A monthly subscription costs $9.99, quarterly costs $24.99, and a yearly subscription costs $59.99. How to Get PlayStation Plus You can sign up for a free trial of PlayStation Plus online through the official PlayStation website, or directly through your console. There is no benefit to using one method over the other, so you can choose whichever is more convenient. Here's how to sign up for PlayStation Plus using the PlayStation website: Navigate to playstation.com/en-us/explore/playstation-plus/, and select Start Free Trial. If you have previously signed up for PlayStation Plus, you can't use the free trial again. Instead, scroll down and select Join Now. Select Subscribe. If you're signing up for a regular subscription instead of the trial, select Add to Cart > Show Cart instead. Enter your PlayStation Network email address and password, and seelct Sign In. Select Proceed to Checkout. Enter your credit card information, and select Confirm Purchase to complete the sign up process. If you don't cancel during your trial period, your card will be charged automatically. How to Sign Up For PS Plus Through PlayStation 4 You can also sign up directly through your console. Here's how to sign up for PlayStation Plus using a PS4: Navigate to the PlayStation Store. Select PS Plus in the left menu. Select your preferred membership renewal period. If you've never signed up for PS Plus before, you can choose the free trial option and try the service free for 14 days. Verify your subscription period and select Subscribe. Select Proceed to Checkout. Select Proceed to Checkout again. Add your credit card, or select a card you've added in the past. Select Confirm Purchase. If you opted for the free trial, your card will be charged automatically as soon as the trial ends. How Do PlayStation Plus Free Games Work? PlayStation Plus provides a number of games for free each month. The service typically provides two PlayStation 4 games, two PlayStation 3 games, and two Vita games. To access these games, you buy them and add them to your library, but it doesn't cost anything. Once you've added a free PlayStation Plus game to your library, you have access to it as long as you have a valid subscription. You can delete games to free up space on your console, and you'll still have the ability to download them again later. If your PlayStation Plus subscription runs out and you don't renew, then you lose access to your free PlayStation Plus games. However, Sony keeps track of every game you've ever gained access to through PlayStation Plus. If you renew your subscription at a later date, you automatically regain access to all of your old free PlayStation Plus games.