Update: Quick update here- Kaz Hirai just confirmed what we suspected; that online play will remain free, but there will be new premium content to look out for.

Original Story:

Sony once called a free PlayStation Network a "universal right" for all gamers; i.e., they'll never charge for access. But that doesn't mean they won't charge for some aspect of the service.

We see the same question at least a few times per month from readers: "will Sony start charging for the Network?" We always have the same answer: "no, but they may charge for some sort of premium service that is optional." This seemed almost inevitable from the very first moment we learned the PSN was to be free; once they were in a good position (which is now), Sony would likely provide users with an optional primo service that delivers extra content for a small fee. And now, according to this slide from Sony's Media/Investor Conference , it seems clear the time has come: right at the bottom of the PSN features on that slide, it says "New revenue stream from subscription." Now, this could mean any number of things, but we certainly don't believe you'll suddenly have to pay to play online. That will always remain free if we take Sony's words at face value; this new addition will be something special for members and if they want to pay for it, that's their choice.

You already do have to pay for certain things, like downloadable content (of course) and the online interactive magazine, Qore. Perhaps this "new revenue stream from subscription" will be a service that includes Qore and a variety of other features automatically delivered to you each month. Who knows? But we imagine we'll find out soon enough.

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BTNwarrior
BTNwarrior
11 years ago

no I would not pay for a premium psn

Cavan
Cavan
11 years ago

i second that!

godsman
godsman
11 years ago

Unless this Premium gives you long term discount access to DLC. Like 20% off. Then if you are hardcore DLC guy, then you will make get your money back in the long run.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
11 years ago

If this 'premium service' added new services that are not already available, such as the ability to keep your game saves online, what then? What if the premium service is a game rental service? Perhaps a flat rate to access all PSN games while you maintain your subscription? Perhaps Sony is intending to offer Netflix style flat rate access to their video downloads that you can rent?

So many people in this thread with no information at all, are jumping to conclusions that are neither likely, nor supported by facts. The facts are that Sony has committed to free online play for multi-player games – as we have now. Access to the PSN is free, and will likely always be free.

Premium or paid services will be content based, not function based. Because of the way in which Sony has designed the PSN, Sony only provides an authentication platform so that games can know who you are and that you are who you say you are. This maintains security of game saves and prevents cheating. Servers and other infrastructure for online play are provided not by Sony but by the game publisher/developer. Basically the entire burden of the networking and server provision falls on the publisher/ developer. Sony only provides the security, which they have to do anyway to ensure that their online transactions work properly.

You have to understand how Sony's PSN works, it's very decentralized. This has led to lots of criticism, but it also makes it very, very, very unlikely that Sony could or would charge for online play of retail games.

Scarecrow
Scarecrow
11 years ago

I wouldn't either

Orvisman
Orvisman
11 years ago

@Highlander,

Yep. John Koller asked a "hypothetical" question around the time of E3 last year if PS3 owners would be willing to pay a monthly fee for some sort of download service.

He specifically asked how PS3 owners felt about paying a monthly fee that would allow them to access a certain amount of content monthly instead of paying a la carte.

Koller didn't get specific as to what type of content; but I always thought he meant we could, if we want, subscribe for a monthly flat fee and download a certain amount of games and/or movies monthly, sort of like a Netflix for PS3.

Douchebaguette
Douchebaguette
11 years ago

Godsman has a good idea.

Qubex
Qubex
11 years ago

As long as the basic functionality is unchanged I am happy. I don't buy much from PSN anyway except for the odd game… one every 6 months or so… and the only DLC I have bought are the map packs for MW and Killzone 2.

In the future I will only buy Killzone 3 based DLC in the future; otherwise most of the other games I will not expand!

Q!

"i am home"

556pineapple
556pineapple
11 years ago

Most likely not, but it depends what the premium content is. I get by just fine with the features it has now though.

SHADOW
SHADOW
11 years ago

It all comes down to what the money will actually get you. If it's just a Qore Plus. Then Sony can just choke on this idea for all I care. If they are considering doing some sort of meaningful subscription service then I would consider it.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
11 years ago

Why such emotive language over a supposition that some new premium service will be similar to Qore? Did Qore offend you personally?

fluffer nutter
fluffer nutter
11 years ago

Because he is emphatic about his beliefs and his opinions. Even, if they appear to be "brash" at times. ūüėČ


Last edited by fluffer nutter on 11/19/2009 12:30:00 PM

LowKey
LowKey
11 years ago

That's just the Shadow we've all come to know and love. You know he is right, charging for something stupid is offensive to us ps3 owners. As long as I can still play my games online for free I say screw it, let em do it. But seeing as its Sony and they do everything bass-ackwards they'll probably keep online free and make you pay for single plaer lol /jks

SHADOW
SHADOW
11 years ago

I've always figured that we (as a society) could spend half of all of our conversations being needlessly pleasant, or we can just dig right into something full force, and save everyone a lot of time. I choose the latter.

Anyway, its not that I have any sort of real problem with Qore. If you want to pay for it, more power to you. I just see it as paying Sony to be on some weird marketing email list, and ocassionally get a beta. But then I also don't like the idea of paying Sony to test their game. As a preorder bonus sure that's awesome, but I'll never understand why people will pay for Qore for those things, just seems like they're commercializing the process and as a result making beta testing less effective than it otherwise should be.

Streets_74
Streets_74
11 years ago

Well I subscribed to Qore purely for the MAG beta, so it depends on whats to be included with this premium plan, but I doubt it will be of any interest to me as it were with Qore until that beta came along. Now I have it and don't see anything special beyond that.

Naztycuts
Naztycuts
11 years ago

We'll have to wait and see, I also hear that they will "look out" for loyal ps3 users offering them some sort of reward to show their appreciation. It may have just been a rumor.

maxpontiac
maxpontiac
11 years ago

As long as I can play for free, the rest of the stuff I don't really care about.

big6
big6
11 years ago

What if you can PLAY for free, but extras like Facebook, Twitter, Firefox Browser, and cross-game chat be extra?

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
11 years ago

It's not about making you pay for existing features, it's about bringing new content to the PSN, and bringing new services to the PSN.

maxpontiac
maxpontiac
11 years ago

I will pay for chat. But for things like Facebook, demo's, no chance.

JPBooch
JPBooch
11 years ago

I got Qore for the first year and as the year went on, I looked at it less and less. The betas were nice and they threw in a few extra demos and a game, but not enough to keep me hooked. I guess we'll have to wait and see what comes with the premium service.

Deadman
Deadman
11 years ago

They have to be very careful with how they announce this to the public, small fee or not I can imagine the backlash they will recieve for anything besides store content they charge for.

Sir Shak
Sir Shak
11 years ago

No !

Random_Steve
Random_Steve
11 years ago

no

ohmikkie
ohmikkie
11 years ago

As long as it does not affect on-line gaming. Yes I would pay for premium content.

Miggy
Miggy
11 years ago

money's tight. so no

Effi
Effi
11 years ago

im afraid having a premium network would mean things that are usually free to us (OR would be considered to be free if premium network doesnt exist) suddenly goes to the 'premium' pile

'firmware 10.x! since it now starts with a ten, we at sony believe that it should only be given to those with premium accounts! games released after firmware 10.x is out will only support firmware 10.x. Of course old games can still work, and well if u want new games pay for premium subscription!'

well im exaggerating but generally this is wat usually happens.

Jawknee
Jawknee
11 years ago

They better not make you play this "premium" fee for netflix access like MS. I just signed up for netflix and the access to it without paying Sony for it was a big reason. If I have to pay for psn and netflix forget it.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
11 years ago

Netflix is a third party application, Sony doesn't provide any network or server capacity to Netflix, so there is almost no chance of Sony charging you for accessing Netflix. Especially considering that the way it works is via the Java stack on BluRay players – it's not exclusive to PS3 or Sony.

Jawknee
Jawknee
11 years ago

Word. I wouldn't mind them wanting to charge if they can make psn even better. But I don't want to pay to play or for anything we currently get for free.

HAMCHUNKS
HAMCHUNKS
11 years ago

Im totally with u man
i would def pay for this new content/service
if say that content was interesting or it the service made PSN more XBL, XBL has somethings i have admired and would like to see in PSN so im up to pay but never lose the free online for those who can't afford it

www
www
11 years ago

So long as Online play is free, I don't care what their planning.

Phoelix
Phoelix
11 years ago

The subscription service should either:

a) not happen, or

b) not hinder the growth of the features we get for free now and

c) not take anything away from what we get free now.

johnld
johnld
11 years ago

there better be none of that gold members get demos and other stuff first.

Mamills
Mamills
11 years ago

you know
i love PSN because it is free.

its the main reason i didnt get a 360.
i hated the fact that microsoft is charging ppl to play the game online after they already shelled out the cash to purchase.

would i pay for premium service?
well that would depend on what they mean by premium service

it would have to really have something i want
and noo betas dont cut it for me. paying to play an unfinished game?

nahh, they better have some good stuff. only way they'll get some1 like me on board.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
11 years ago

Here is something I would pay a subscription for, the ability to store my game saves on a PSN server, and use them from any PS3 so long as I was logged in with my profile/PSN id.

If I go from one PS3 to another, perhaps at a friends house and want to play a game, I have a hard time moving my game save around, and then back again to hang onto my progress. Also, if my PS3's HDD goes up the spout, I potentially lose some progress depending on how good my backups are.

If Sony were to charge a couple of bucks a month for me to maintain an online game save repository/profile so that no matter what PS3 I use, no matter where I am, as long as I enter my PSN ID correctly, I can use my game saves then and there.

That would be a premium service I would pay for.

fluffer nutter
fluffer nutter
11 years ago

Your post has sparked an interesting concept in my mind. What if there was a limited, portable user that we could use when going to some other PS3 other than our original? If they had a way to back up our game save data, DLC content information, to a centralized server, then we could, essentially, play on any other system, connected to PSN, and feel like we haven't lost a step. They could find protective measures such as, not being able to purchase PS Store content, while signed in. This could be verified by pinging the PS3 and obtaining the serial or identification information. And to further this, you wouldn't be able to sign back into your original PSN username on the original PS3 within say one hour after using your portable login? I'm sure there are other details added that could make this work but I think it's something to send to the people of SCE. What do you all think of that?

LowKey
LowKey
11 years ago

what is it with you people and paying monthly? Don't you pay for enough stuff monthly? Cable/satellite, internet, rent ect. Its stupid to even mention "monthly" payments.

fluffer nutter
fluffer nutter
11 years ago

@LowKey, I guess you're right. What was I thinking paying for my monthly gym membership?

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
11 years ago

@LowKey

There's an old truism. You get what you pay for. If you pay for nothing, you shall receive it in abundance.

I'm not sure you understand the point of a premium service. That's where you get something extra for paying.

LowKey
LowKey
11 years ago

really? oh thank you soooo much for explaining what premium means, I thought it meant, just another way to suck more money from you for services that are worth less than nothing. But you cleared it all up thanks.

@fluffer
Thank you for proving my point. Even if you were trying to be sarcastic. It reinforced my point, its just another thing your paying for, takin another chunk from your monthly budget.

fluffer nutter
fluffer nutter
11 years ago

So what's the problem with paying for something that takes a little "chunk" out of your monthly budget? It's not like we don't have a nice monthly budget to get the things we want.

AcHiLLiA
AcHiLLiA
11 years ago

@Highlander

I like that idea too.


Last edited by AcHiLLiA on 11/24/2009 12:42:06 PM

brown_E_bear
brown_E_bear
11 years ago

If the premium service introduces services like the Skysports player thing the 360 has in the UK then I'm in. Haven't really checked it out but if 360 owners can watch live footie then I certainly would love that on my PS3…if it ain't live then I guess highlights are ok but I won't be as enthusiastic about it.

PS3addict
PS3addict
11 years ago

I just wonder if this is just in reference to MMO's like FF14… Pay to play online games. I do not see how they could keep the fans happy by going back on thier word like that. They said free, do it should stay that way. Of course, the wii stated the same thing when it first came out too…

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
11 years ago

Oh good god. Sony said that they would not charge PS3 users for playing games that included online play. FFXIV has no impact on that at all.

If Square Enix develops a MMO game and launches it, you pay Square Enix a monthly fee, not Sony. SquEnix will charge a monthly fee in return for providing you with game content for FFXIV. If you don't want to pay SquEnix to play FFXIV then talk to SquEnix, it's got nothing to do with Sony.

Superman915
Superman915
11 years ago

As long as they kept free-

online play (said they would)
netflix (imagine they would)
a firefox browser (would never use it, but would be nice to have)

Id be ok with it.

If this paid subscription covered free or discounted-
qore
crap for playstation home
games or DLC

…maybe it'd be worth it.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

no.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
11 years ago

Read the update at the top of the story. Premium content, not paid PSN.

Some people need to start thinking before they comment.

fluffer nutter
fluffer nutter
11 years ago

If they did that, then we wouldn't have so many decisions made for us. ūüėČ