PlayStation Plus North America vs Europe vs Japan vs Xbox Live’s Free Games: Where’s the Best Value?

The Instant Game Collection offered to PlayStation Plus Members is a very compelling offer. So compelling that Even Microsoft had to adjust Xbox Live in order to offer some free games to its subscribers, but not many know that there are large differences in the games offered to PlayStation Plus members living in different regions, and those differences could even be big enough to make some reconsider the region they subscribe to, as becoming a PS Plus member in a different region is not that hard at all.

Let’s take the current offer as an example, and let’s see what every region gets, comparing the value of each offer to determine a victor in value.

Let us start with the North American PlayStation Plus:

Battlefield 3 $39.99
Saints Row: The Third $39.99
XCOM: Enemy Unknown $39.99
UNCHARTED 3: Drake’s Deception $39.99
LittleBigPlanet Karting $39.99
Machinarium $9.99
Pinball Arcade $9.99
Joe Danger 2: The Movie $14.99
The Cave $14.99
Labyrinth Legends $9.99
Malicious $9.99
Knytt Underground $14.99
Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward $34.99
Gods Eater Burst $19.99
Germinator $9.99
Uncharted Golden Abyss $35.99
Gravity Rush $35.99
wipEout 2048 $39.99
Total: $461.82

$461 is quite an amazing value, The cost of the service is $17.99 for three months and $49.99 for a year.

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Now let’s move on to the European PlayStation Plus:

Battlefield 3 € 69.99
Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus € 34.99
Uncharted: Golden Abyss € 24.99
XCOM: Enemy Unknown € 39.99
LittleBigPlanet Karting € 29.99
Gravity Rush € 14.99
Catherine € 59.99
Malicious € 7.99
Unit 13 € 14.99
Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception € 34.99
Payday: The Heist € 16.99
ICO & Shadow of the Colossus HD € 24.99
Demon’s Souls € 19.99
Saints Row: The Third € 29.99
Sine Mora € 9.99
 Total: € 434.85

The European PS Plus has less games, but a higher monetary value that translates to $557.96. This is mostly due to the fact that games in Europe tend to cost more, and for most gaming products publishers will simply make the equation $1 = €1, despite the fact that one Euro equates to $1.28.  We do notice, though, that despite having slightly less games the European PS Plus gives more titles that cost more.

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Let’s add a column to the table above to display the price of the same games in the US, to be able to do a more compelling comparison.

Battlefield 3 € 69.99 $39.99
Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus € 34.99 $34.99
Uncharted: Golden Abyss € 24.99 $35.99
XCOM: Enemy Unknown € 39.99 $39.99
LittleBigPlanet Karting € 29.99 $39.99
Gravity Rush € 14.99 $35.99
Catherine € 59.99 $19.99
Malicious € 7.99 $9.99
Unit 13 € 14.99 $26.99
Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception € 34.99 $39.99
Payday: The Heist € 16.99 $19.99
ICO & Shadow of the Colossus HD € 24.99 $29.98
Demon’s Souls € 19.99 $19.99
Saints Row: The Third € 29.99 $39.99
Sine Mora € 9.99 $9.99
 Total: € 434.85 $443.84

As you can see the real value of the free games on the European Playstation Plus gets near to what the North American brothers get, but falls just short. Considering that three months of PS Plus cost European gamers €14.99 ($19.23) and a year costs a full €49.99 ($64.14), a subscription to the NA service could be seen as quite compelling for them given the higher value and lower price.

TimeTravelers

Now, let’s fly to the other side of the Pacific Ocean and let’s see what our Japanese friends get from their PlayStation Plus instant collection. You better prepare to do some scrolling, because the list is going to be long.

The House of the Dead 4 ¥1,000
Nikoli no Puzzle V Bijutsukan ¥500
Neutopia ¥600
Neutopia II ¥600
Echochrome ¥1,800
Qruton ¥1,000
Datura ¥1,000
Patapon ¥1,400
Battle Fantasia ¥1,500
Rayman Origins ¥2,500
The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky ¥2,940
Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward ¥5,840
Altered Beast ¥600
Time Travelers (PSP) ¥4,980
Time Travelers (PS Vita) ¥4,980
Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus ¥5,040
Malicious ¥800
GUILTY GEAR XX ΛCORE PLUS ¥1,200
The King of Fighters’ 94 (PS3) ¥900
The King of Fighters’ 94 (PSP) ¥700
Way of the Samurai 2 Portable ¥3,000
Danball Senki W (PS Vita) ¥4,480
Danball Senki W (PSP) ¥4,480
Tokushu Hodobu ¥5,000
World Heroes (PS3) ¥900
World Heroes (PS Vita) ¥700
Danball Senki Boost ¥4,480
LocoRoco Cocoreccho ¥800
Ape Escape SaruSaru Big Mission ¥3,800
Lemmings ¥800
Rayman ¥600
Rising Zan: The Samurai Gunman ¥600
Dokapon! Ikari no Tetsu Ken ¥600
LSD ¥600
Tokyo Majin Gakuen Kempucho ¥600
Arc the Lad ¥600
Shin Megami Tensei if… ¥1,000
Ma Megamitensho Devil Children ¥600
Touge Max 2 ¥600
Theme Park ¥600
Populous: The Beginning ¥600
Theme Acquarius ¥600
Theme Hospital ¥600
High-octane ¥600
Magic Carpet ¥600
Theme Park World ¥600
Lunatic Dawn III ¥600
Neo Atlas ¥600
Neo Atlas II ¥600
Lunatic Dawn Odyssey ¥600
Paca Paca Passion 2 ¥600
Paca Paca Passion Special ¥600
Shinsou Kaiten Wanwan Umi Monogatari ¥600
Sanyo Pachinko Paradise 5 ¥600
Sanyo Pachinko Paradise 3 ¥600
CG Mukashi Banashi Jii-san 2-do Bikkuri ¥600
Yaku 2: Noroi no Game ¥600
Spectral Tower ¥600
Spectral Force 2 ¥600
Pocket Tuner ¥600
Pro Mahjong PLUS ¥600
Athena no Kateiban: Family Game ¥600
Ide Yosuke no Mahjong Kyoshitsu ¥600
Dezaemon Kids! ¥600
Mesukosei no Hokago. . . Pukun Pa ¥600
BlockKids ¥600
Guilty Gear ¥600
Prismaticallization ¥600
Wizard’s Harmony 2 ¥600
Wizard’s Harmony R ¥600
Cho Aniki ¥600
Langrisser I & II ¥600
Langrisser IV & V FINAL EDITION ¥600
Harmful Park ¥600
Konami Antiques MSX Collection Vol. 1 ¥600
Konami Antiques MSX Collection Vol. 2 ¥600
Ganbare Goemon ¥600
Jade Cocoon: Story of the Tamamayu ¥600
ZERO DIVIDE ¥600
Project Gaiarei ¥600
Grille Logic ¥600
Building Crash! ¥600
Tsuukai!! Slot Shooting ¥600
Lunar Wing ¥600
Thunder Force V Perfect System ¥600
My Garden ¥600
Kyuutenkai ¥600
Neorude 2 ¥600
Koutetsu Reiiki Steeldom ¥600
Neorude 3 ¥600
REVERTHION ¥600
O Mise de Tenshu ¥600
SuperLite 1500 Series Chikichiki Chi Kin ¥600
Kamaitachi no Yoru Tokubetsu-hen ¥600
Simple 1500 Series Vol. 15 ¥300
Simple 1500 Series Vol. 32 ¥300
Simple 1500 Series Vol. 35 ¥300
Simple 1500 Series Vol. 33 ¥300
Simple 1500 Series Vol. 39 ¥300
Simple 1500 Series Vol. 48 ¥300
Simple 1500 Series Vol. 55 ¥300
Simple 1500 Series Vol. 56 ¥300
Simple 1500 Series Vol. 57 ¥300
Simple 1500 Series Vol. 60 ¥300
Simple 1500 Series Vol. 63 ¥300
Simple 1500 Series Vol. 65 ¥300
Simple 1500 Series Vol. 70 ¥300
Simple 1500 Series Vol. 69 ¥300
Simple 1500 Series Vol. 71 ¥300
Simple 1500 Series Vol. 82 ¥300
Simple 1500 Series Vol. 91 ¥300
Simple 1500 Series Vol. 88 ¥300
Simple 1500 Series Vol. 95 ¥300
Simple 1500 Series Vol. 97 ¥300
Simple 1500 Series Vol. 98 ¥300
Simple 1500 Series Vol. 100 ¥300
Motteke Tamago with Ganbare! ¥600
Super Black Bass X ¥600
Marl Okoku no Ningyo Hime ¥600
Marl Okoku no Ningyo Hime 2 ¥600
Kitchen Panic ¥600
U.P.P. ¥600
Armored Core ¥600
King’s Field ¥600
King’s Field II ¥600
Shadow Tower ¥600
Armored Core Project Phantasma ¥600
King’s Field III ¥600
Echo Night ¥600
Armored Core Master of Arena ¥600
Kawa no Nushi Tsuri: Hikyou o Motomete ¥600
Gakkou wo Tsukuro!! 2 ¥600
Brigandine Grand Edition ¥600
Bomberman Fantasy Race ¥600
Bomberman Land ¥600
The Conveni 2: Zenkoku Chain Tenkai da! ¥600
Mikagura Shojo Tanteidan ¥600
Fire Pro Wrestling G ¥600
Culdcept Expansion Plus ¥600
Michinoku Hitou Koimonogatari Kai ¥600
TILK – Aoi Umi kara Kita Shoujo ¥600
Fuuraiki ¥600
Minna no Golf 2 ¥600
Mahoutsukai ni Naru Houhou ¥600
Ganbare Morikawa Kimi 2nd Pet in TV ¥600
XI[sai] ¥600
Gun Parade March ¥600
Popolocrois Story ¥600
I.Q Final ¥600
Kururin PA! ¥600
Valken 2 ¥600
MigiHidari (U-SA) ¥600
ZEUS Carnage Heart Second ¥600
Total: ¥135,920

While the Japanese PS Plus focuses a lot more on older and classic games, there’s a lot of them. The total value is just shy of One hundred thirty-five thousands Yen, that corresponds to a whopping $1,343.30. 

Now, before you run to subscribe to the Japanese PlayStation Plus (incidentally there’s a 15 days free trial that you can use to try it as I explained in this post), there are a couple caveats we have to consider. Current video games cost more in Japan than in the US, due to the much higher cost of living. For instance Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus costs the equivalent of $64.14. That said, the vast majority of that immense list is made by classic games, and those tend to cost less in Japan for some reason. The usual price for a classic game in North America is $5.99. In Japan most of them cost ¥600, that equates to $5.93.

This means that the Japanese PlayStation Plus undoubtedly offers a much higher monetary value in free games. What’s even more amazing is that the subscription does not cost more, but less. Three months are priced the equivalent of $14.82, and a full year is $49.41.

With that kind of numbers, it seems to be rather uncharitable to include the free games offered by Xbox Live in the comparison, as it offers only one free game at any given time, one every half a month, and the promotion just started, but it does have to compete in the same market with PlayStation Plus, so it’s only fair to compare what we get. The upside is that subscribers get to keep the games even when their subscription ends, while PlayStation Plus members retain their free games but can play them only while their subscription is active.

FableIII

So far Xbox Live gave us Fable III ($19.99) and Defense Grid the Awakening ($9.99). On July the 16th we’re going to get Assassin’s Creed II ($19.99). While the ability to keep them even when our subscription expires is interesting, they’re either very deep into the back catalogue or quite cheap Xbox Live Arcade games, making the offer extremely uncompelling compared to what we get with PlayStation Plus in any region. Let’s not even talk about the Japanese PS Plus, because we’re simply in a different order of magnitude here.

Of course we have to consider the quality of the Xbox Live service into the equation, but the fact that Microsoft started to offer free games as well shows quite clearly that they aren’t too confident in that alone. It’s definitely less objectively quantifiable than free games, so you’ll have to assign it your own personal value.

Unfortunately to truly enjoy the Japanese instant game collection you need to be able to understand Japanese, but not considering that factor, the PlayStation Plus offer from the archipelago of the rising sun is the clear victor between all the services mentioned, and not by a small amount.

Now imagine how compelling PlayStation Plus would be if Sony offered the same value in North America and Europe as well. You can bet that it’d silence most of the remaining complaints about having to pay to play online. If the Japanese consumer electronics giant wants to deal a crippling blow to the competition, this may be a viable route to pursue. After all, if they can do it in Japan, why not everywhere?

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