With Sony reporting record losses and looking to their gaming business to recover, many are wondering what changes we might see…
The company has already said they plan to "increase sales by enriching its catalog of downloadable game titles and subscription services available through the PSN platform."
That statement has been oft-discussed; many have wondered if the all-free Network might be taken away. We already have the premium service, PlayStation Plus, but maybe Sony needs to move towards a standard paid subscription for everyone like Xbox Live. Wedbush Securities' Michael Pachter had this to say :
"I think it's unlikely that they will require a fee, but think they will strip down the free version to multiplayer and not much else in order to encourage people to pay the fee."
M2 Research analyst Billy Pidgeon echoed that theory-
"Providing networked services for online gaming is not inexpensive, and charging for these services would help Sony defray those costs. I think Sony would best benefit by continuing to build out on the currently employed freemium model, charging for enhanced, tiered and incremental items, services and add-ons to add value to the online gaming experience."
Pidgeon added that Sony "should also move quickly to shift paid content other than gaming to the network." There's little doubt that a free PSN is one of the PlayStation brand's most alluring features, but there's also no doubt that mandatory Xbox Live subscriptions rake in plenty of profit for Microsoft. The question is if Sony does decide to "strip down" the free Network access to encourage people to pay for a higher-level subscription, what exactly would we lose…?