In lieu of the release of Capcom's Street Fighter V this week and the recent release of the Awakening DLC for Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, Sony is allowing PS4 owners to get in a free weekend of PlayStation Plus, allowing gamers to play online for free.
Polygon picked up the news from over on the official PlayStation blog, where they announced that starting this Friday, February 19th, and going through the weekend to Sunday, February 21st, gamers will be able to dive into the PlayStation Plus multiplayer at no charge whatsoever.
The promotion is not limited to the online multiplayer of Street Fighter V and Call of Duty: Black Ops 3. They've opened the floodgates to all of the PS4's multiplayer-enabled games. So if you want to play Killzone: Shadow Fall or Driveclub or Project CARS or Mercenary Kings with friends over the weekend, this is the perfect time to do so.
I'm a little shocked that Sony didn't rattle off more games for players to check out that might influence them to take the dive and subscribe to PlayStation Plus for the full year.
The service took on a financial requirement after previously being free on the PS2 and PS3 when Jack Tretton, the former head of the North American division of the PlayStation brand, took to the stage at E3 2013 and announced that PlayStation Plus would require a monthly subscription on the PS4. This was sneakily bundled in with the news that the PS4 would continue to allow gamers to share discs and play used games on the PS4. This occurred after Microsoft had previously announced that used games would not be viable on the Xbox One.
The ability to still play pre-owned games on the PS4 greatly overshadowed the news that multiplayer would no longer be free. Many people saw it as acceptable at the time because the trade-off was that they at least still get to share, rent and play pre-owned games on Sony's newest console. The pressure from consumers eventually forced Microsoft to renege on their DRM policies and allow for shared disc options for the Xbox One.
Over the past couple of years Sony has capitalized on the PlayStation Plus service by offering free games and additional benefits to those who pay to access multiplayer on a monthly basis. Lately some gamers have become somewhat disgruntled with the free game offerings given that they state that the quality of free games have waned over the past couple of months. Sony may be using the free weekend to bolster confidence from the community, especially in light of the fact that multiplayer is still good and free on Steam.
In the case of the free weekend on the PS4, gamers who already let their subscription lapse might be tempted to give it a go again, and those who never bothered signing up for the online service might be inclined to do so to see what all the fuss is about. Ultimately there's little Sony can lose with this promotion and a lot they can gain, assuming that those who play the games for free this weekend like what they see, especially coming off all of the outages PSN has suffered over the past couple of years.