PlayStation Plus launches June 29

E3 2010: $50 annually for Sony's online service grants free games, early demo access, beta invites, themes, and more; content accessible only as long as subscription is active.

Wipeout HD

LOS ANGELES--For this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo, Sony did a much better job of keeping its big announcements under wraps than last year. However, some info still slipped out early, as the company today announced a PlayStation Plus subscription service very much like one described in reports last month.

Wipeout HD will be the first month's big freebie for PSN Plus.

On June 29, Sony will launch PlayStation Plus worldwide, a subscription service that offers gamers access to free games, early demos, beta invites, discounts, free themes, and more. The first month's slate of freebies include a free copy of the downloadable racer Wipeout HD, two PSP mini games, and a handful of premium avatars.

Gamers will be able to subscribe to PlayStation Plus for $50 annually, although those just wanting to try it out can get a three-month subscription for $18. However, all of the content will only be accessible to gamers who keep their subscriptions active, so if players stops paying, they won't be able to play those games or demos any longer.

The current level of PSN service--including online multiplayer--will remain free, just as Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Kaz Hirai promised last November, when the premium online plan was first revealed.

For more of Sony's E3 announcements, check out GameSpot's live blog of the publisher's press conference.

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