Apple TV Gaming and the PlayStation Plus Factor

girldialogtreeScreenshot from Double Fine’s Broken Age

PlayStation Plus is Sony’s subscription service, whereby subscribers pay a certain amount a year ($69.95 in Australia) and receive a selection of games each month they can keep as long as they remain subscribers. For years, each month had at least one big Triple A drawcard accompanied by a selection of smaller indie games. Since PlayStation 4’s release in 2013 however, Sony altered its monthly subscription service making it a requirement in order to be able to access many online services, such as the multiplayer component of many games, should the developer choose to implement the requirement. Since that change, a big Triple A game each month was no longer offered, and the vast majority of PS Plus games are now smaller indie games. Many have since speculated that Sony no longer needs to offer a monthly Triple A game to draw PS Plus subscribers, given that it is a requirement for the online component of many games anyway.

While that may or may not have been a conscious move on Sony’s part, the end result is that the monthly PS Plus offerings have now become a cavalcade of smart indie games, with interesting gameplay mechanics and ideas, and in my humble opinion is still fantastic bang for your buck. Many innovative indie titles have been showcased by the service that otherwise may never have reached so many players, and thus helped raise that developer’s profile for future games. Titles such as Gone Home, Galak-Z: The Dimensional, and Journey are just a minute sampling of the diversity that’s been on offer.

With Apple TV’s hardware being such that its games simply aren’t able to compete with the big Triple A contenders on PS4 and Xbox One such as Destiny, The Witcher 3, Overwatch and so on, it struck me on Apple TV’s release that the perfect titles for the platform will be the smaller, independent games with innovative art styles and gameplay. The exact sorts of games PS Plus subscribers have been exposed to for the last two and a half years.

This of course brings me back to the list of games in my opening. Each of them are showcases for exemplary developer talent, and each present an unforgettable art aesthetic and exacting gameplay style that are credits to their makers.

I’ve a feeling Apple will beef up the specs of it’s digital-only console in the future, making larger games that require more horsepower a possibility. But in the meantime, the platform is a great showcase for gameplay and creativity over internal number requirements, and it’ll be fascinating to see how it evolves and develops in the future.