There's been some confusion over upcoming PS4 racer DriveClub since it was announced. Originally intended to be released early in the PlayStation4's lifespan and be free to PlayStation Plus subscribers, it was subsequently hit with delays -- and it was revealed that the PlayStation Plus "free" version would actually be a cut down edition.
Specifically, the PlayStation Plus version only includes 10 cars and a single country's worth of maps -- that's five tracks with 11 variants. You can, however, purchase an upgrade package for $49.99 that will unlock access to all five locations and the rest of the game's content -- 55 tracks, 50 cars and 50 events.
There is, however, a bit of a catch. If you choose to cancel your PlayStation Plus subscription at any point, you will lose access to DriveClub's PlayStation Plus version altogether -- including the content you paid $49.99 to unlock. In other words, upgrading the PlayStation Plus version with the $49.99 in-game purchase is not the same as just buying the Blu-Ray or downloadable version outright: the key difference is that the PlayStation Plus version will always require a PlayStation Plus subscription to play.
Given the increased importance of PlayStation Plus in the PlayStation 4 ecosystem -- it's now required for online play -- this may not be a big issue to many PlayStation 4 owners who simply keep their subscription active in order to take full advantage of the console's features. And not only that, PlayStation Plus has proven itself time and again to be good value to those who want to build up a decent collection of digital games -- though, like DriveClub, you don't get to "keep" them after your subscription lapses.
Response to the news on the PlayStation Blog was not altogether positive, with SCEE's Chris Brown hanging out in the comments doing a fair amount of damage control. He did, however, note that progress, unlocks and other information from the PlayStation Plus version of the game would transfer to the full retail version of the game if players preferred to purchase it that way, so suggested this approach for those who thought they might want to play the game offline without a subscription. He also positioned the PlayStation Plus' free incarnation as a risk-free opportunity to try the game for those who weren't sure if they might like it -- you know, like a demo. A fairly generous demo, given the amount of content therein, admittedly, but still distinctly demo-ish. Or, more accurately, a demo that's exclusive to PlayStation Plus.
It all seems a bit unnecessarily complicated, really.