With the announcement of PlayStation Plus at E3, gamers were afraid all of their free stuff was going the way of the Dodo. That isn’t the case, and the new subscription service actually seems pretty cool.

First off, everything that’s currently free on PSN with remain free. They have no plans on reducing the free service. Of course, this could always change, but as of right now it’s all good.

PlayStation Plus launches on June 29th with two options for payment: three months for $17.99 ($6 a month) or a year for $49.99. If you buy a year, it comes with three free months, so it’s a little over $3 a month.

With your payment, you get free monthly games, discounts in the PS Store, special offers on demos, betas, and early purchases, full game trials (I’ll get to these in a second), and automatic downloads.

The free games is the biggest draw. In the first month, subscribers will get WipEout HD, PSP Minis, Fieldrunners, Age of Zombies, and Rally Cross. These games are available for download for free until they’re replaced with a new selection the following month, but once you download them, they’re yours to keep as long as you subscribe to the service.

When I first heard the line “as long as you subscribe” it really didn’t sit well with me, but given that these games come free with the pretty low fee, I think it’s more than fair. Especially when you consider that all the games you get the first month are almost a $40 value combined.

The offers range from exclusive themes and game add-ons (that you get to keep forever) to discounts in the PlayStation Store.

The full game trials, the first of which is InFamous, lets players play the full game for a limited amount of time (usually an hour) and if they decide to purchase it after that, they can pick up right where they left off. This may not be that big of a deal, but it’s better than your standard demos.

Finally, automatic downloads will allow your PS3 to come out of standby to download new demos, games updates, etc, and then go back into sleep mode all by itself. No word yet on whether it came come alive at night and kill you in your sleep.

All in all, PlayStation Plus actually seems pretty damn nifty. I don’t know if we’ll get four games each month, they may just be kicking it off with a bang, but I love the idea and I’ll probably wind up playing some games I normally wouldn’t have.

My one complaint so far is no option to pay for a single month at a time, which would be great for those of us that are financially irresponsible and only have little bits of money at a time.

(PlayStation Blog)