The PlayStation 4 is a first for Sony in many ways, but one of the most important firsts is that it will be the first console that requires you to have a PlayStation Plus account in order to play some games online.
This should be seen as a huge positive. If by some sad turn of events you own a PlayStation 3 and PS Vita, but don't subscribe to PlayStation Plus, then you are literally missing out on the best subscription service out there for video games. This is due to the fact that being a PlayStation Plus member means you get a brand new game EVERY week along with many other features that improve your overall PlayStation experience. This allows you to literally only need to play $49.99 a year and never really need to buy a game again.
Now, PlayStation Plus wasn't always this powerhouse service that it is today and back when it was announced in 2010 at Sony's E3 presentation, it was considered a joke for two years. That all changed when E3 2012 came around and Sony decided to turn Plus into the envy of any gamer who didn't have it with the Instant Game Collection. The IGC meant that with Plus PlayStation owners were entitled to 12 different PS3 games and 6 PS Vita/PSP games that changed every week. Every month, it means gamers were offered over $100s worth of games and adding discounted sales on other games sweetened the deal even more.
PlayStation Plus will now have a much bigger role for anyone getting PlayStation 4 because many titles will require you to have a subscription to play online. Considering all of the bonuses you already got for being a Plus member before, it boggles the mind why anyone would be against becoming a member. In case you are more of a try before you buy sort of person, every PS4 will include a month on PlayStation Plus for FREE along with $10 PlayStation store credit. As an added perk Sony, has also made Resogun and Contrast free on day one for all PS4 Plus users. Other titles like Drive Club PlayStation Plus Edition, Don't Starve, and The Binding of Isaac will also be released for free when those games arrive in 2014, which is great news when looking forward.
Sony will not be stopping there and has commented on how they want to keep expanded on the features PlayStation Plus can provide players. Hopefully this will lead to Gaikai's PS4 support coming in 2014 and offer Plus users the ability to stream classic titles from PlayStations past with no extra charge. Until then, a much improved online interface and free games every week will have to hold us over and shouldn't be too hard.
In case you won't have a PS4, but want the free games, you can always go to the PlayStation Store via any web browser and buy the games through, there since most PS4 titles will not let you buy them off of a PS3 or Vita. Once you have bought the game for free it is yours as long as you are a plus member. If you don't stay a member these games will no longer play as soon as your time as a Plus member is up. Many people have complained that this doesn't count as a "free" game, but this is just looking at the cup half empty.
With PlayStation 4 building hype more and more every day in the lead-up to its release, one can only hope that more users will continue to become PlayStation Plus members. The more members get on board, the more it shows Sony that players are supporting their incredibly generous service and in turn, Sony will continue to improve down the line.
What features would you like to see Sony add to PlayStation Plus on the PlayStation 4 in the future that you think would improve the overall service? Let us know in the comments below and try not to sarcastically suggest adding PlayStation Home because we know you don't mean it.