Today I’d like to briefly talk about my limited experiences with loyalty programs in gaming, console gaming. The whole situation with Steam, Origin, GreenManGaming etc. where it kind of pays NOT to be loyal to just one or two will not be talked about here at the moment.
First and foremost: in my experience, Sony’s PS+ program is the very best one right now.
Reason’s are simple: I have gotten more out of my first 10 months than is worth the price tag for the subscription. I’ve played more games than I would have if it had not existed, and all of them combined would have cost me so much more. Please note that I only have a PS Vita which means I’m basically missing out on a lot of value without a PS3 to enjoy the free PS3 games from PS+. I know some would argue that it isn’t truly free, and that is true. But I calculate that once I get past the 50$ that I could have dished out for a certain number of games…..the rest is free by default. I was never a console person because work has me in weird locations at times, but a handheld is perfect for someone like me. I do have a 3DS, but so far I’ve paid for almost every single game on it, except for that special 30$ promotion when you buy Fire Emblem AND SMT IV, which is enough to get a third game worth 30$ or less. One big fact that I am excited about: PS+editions of PS4 games. This is one console that I may just get on day one if possible. They are truncated free versions of some PS4 games available for PS+ers (weird word huh?). It’s almost like a F2P version of those games, all you need to do to access certain content is pay for it, or pay an amount to access the whole game like everyone else who bought it does (at a discount for you of course). How AWESOME is that as a big fan service to loyal customers. So, yes, for me PS+ is the best loyalty program there is.
In second place comes of course Club Nintendo. Why? Because I’m not much an Xbox fan so I can’t give my opinion on that frankly (although, the new Live Gold rewards look like they will give PS+ a run for their money given time and momentum). CN is not as rewarding in terms of games as PS+, but it’s great for people like the Japanese market because they base their rewards more in swag than in digital games. You can redeem your coins for some old-ass digital versions of past console games or for swag (shirts, plushies, calendars, posters). I have a Teddy (from Persona 4) plushie, I am man enough to say it, and it feels good. Sure, it remains hidden from the potential ladies, but having a physical reminder of a character I like is cool, having posters of my favorite games up in the game room is also cool. When the console is off and you are sick of showing high scores to friends, what better to entice their jealousy??
I’d love to join Microsoft in their new journey with the X1, but unless I win the lottery I can only choose one. I recently sold my Wii, hoping to get a Wii U, but I’m not so sure anymore…
Loyalty programs are important for a business IMO, it’s what influences my choices of airlines. It even most of the time takes me towards Best Buy rather than Amazon, despite better prices and free 2-day Shipping. Because I know that in the long run, I will somehow get more back from one company for all my dollars spent than from the other. I hope they all realize that and get to work on it. At the end when the competition gets fierce, who’s the winner really? The companies of course!
But we consumers can also get something out of it eh?