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How Long Can PSN Remain Free? |


Five words clearly mentioned on the above  image provided by Sony at a November investor conference caused a bit of a stir.  Those five  words “New revenue stream subscription”  led gamers to believe that Sony plans to soon add charges to the currently free PSN. Sony quickly calmed the masses with the following statement:

..if any subscription-based service was created, non-paying users would still be able to play their favorite games online for free, as the company stated that the subscription would only apply to “premium content and services”

Crisis averted…or was it?

As some have mentioned, the significant increase in worldwide sales of the PS3 means more gamers online playing their favorite games, more accounts being created and more servers being needed.  To keep things running smoothly will require more money. Is charging for PSN inevitable?

A recent quote from Sony may have you thinking, yes:

“Servers and the like have running costs, and we would face difficulties if our business depended solely on the sell-and-forget model. After we sell the hardware, though, we continue to sell products such as content and services. We expect to see considerable growth in digital content, such as game download services, avatar items and the like. We can also accept payment in a growing number of ways. In addition to single-payment packaged software, there are also schemes like monthly fees or per-item charges. I think this variety of payment methods will bring about a diverse range of playing methods, too.”

Having free online play has been a bragging point  for PS3 owners versus the console’s immediate rival.  How would it affect you if PSN as a whole was no longer free to play?

Quoted Source

  • JimmyMagnum

    if they make it inexpensive, it won’t be a big deal, say, $25 annually. they might find other ways to get the money, though.

  • Mims_

    I wouldn’t care if they charged. If they did, maybe they could make the online service as good or better than the 360’s. I wouldn’t mind paying if it was worth it.

  • PSN= Albirdeee

    PS understands real gamers needs, they know playing with friends should be free. I mean i still pay for my internet. 360 charges for all the extra stuff that only idots would pay for to make their lifes more suitable. Anyways if psn goes to the darkside then F it, you can’t fight something you can’t control.

  • Darrin

    I see zero evidence that Sony will charge for base online access like the Xbox does. I read that Sony quote, and that is quite a stretch.

    It’s obvious Sony WILL ship subscription based games on the PS3 just like they do on the PC… They already sell Qore subscriptions, and they will probably try to sell a movie rental subscription like Netflix or a game rental subscription at some point.

    However, charging for base online access? I don’t see that happening.

  • I think that the horde of sensation is out in full charge again. This is a sort of scare tactic that has been used against PS3 popularity since it’s inception.

    I pay it no mind, since we all now that sub based games are in development for the PS3 and that Kaz said, none of the existing services would change, I don’t recall him being a liar

  • I personaly don’t think Sony would start charging to play online. It would be interesting if they do though.

    Charges will probably just be for the MMOs heading to the PS3 next year and beyond.

  • kingjames32

    This is not good news at all. When my friends ask me why i go wit ps3 instead of 360 i say “two reasons”. One GoW 3 is gonna kick ass in 2010. Second online is FREE dammit. If sony charges to play that would be bullshit. If i wanted to pay to play i wouldve gotten a 360. C’mon sony dont do this. BAD move indeed

  • JimmyStewart

    I said it in the forums and I’ll say it again. While the PS3 might enjoy free online access for the rest of it’s days… unless XBox Live folds soon I don’t see how it can continue on the PS4. It’s a handy revenue stream for MS, and if it isn’t a bigger selling point for Sony there’s only so long that they’ll ignore that.

    Comments like this one are silly. “PS understands real gamers needs” Both Sony and Microsoft are corporations who don’t care in the slightest about a gamers needs. This is the same Sony who told me that my unplayable copy protected CD couldn’t be copied to my iPod… if I wanted to listen to it on a PC or make mp3s I was told I had to buy it again in iTunes.

    I really hope Sony wins out and MS is forced to offer their superior online service for free. But I think with comments like these from Sony it’s only a matter of time before instead we see to “premium” services. Don’t expect a heads up from Sony… just remember how they treated backwards compatibility. That was a big selling point for them while they had it, but just as suddenly the flip that switch and what was a HUGE PR selling point is completely removed from the console. What is available now for free won’t always be. Sony is a company and they’ll do what they need to to separate you from you money. And don’t check for hints in press events. Just like with B/C Sony isn’t going to tell you what they’re going to do until the day they do it. They’ll tell you when you’re paying to play online the day they roll out that model, they aren’t going to tell you one day sooner or they’d risk those consoles they’re selling right now.

  • JimmyStewart

    Oh and SL33PY, about Kaz being a liar. Check out the google. I went for 2006 Kaz Hirai and Backwards Compatibility. What I found was a slew of claims at E3 that the PS3 would be 100% compatible with all PS1 and PS2 games (it wasn’t). Then there are the quotes after launch about how they were “aiming” to get to 100% compatibility. I stopped looking there but I’m sure there’s more.

    And here we are now with 0% backwards compatibility. Sure one could argue that he just meant the launch consoles, but that means that any and all statements he makes only affect the present. Saying they’re aiming to hit 100% B/C and less than two years later removing that feature from new console… would be akin to him saying online play would remain free and some amount of time later removing that features from consoles as well.

    This is the thing I can’t stress enough with the fanboys. These companies are not your friends or your buddies trying to give you an edge or cut you some slack. When Sony saw PS3 games weren’t selling, they made a smart business move and killed B/C. Forcing PS3 owners to buy the newer software. There is absolutely NO reason to believe they won’t completely backtrack on the “free online” selling point they have now the second they determine they can make more money elsewhere. I’d put big money down that when the PSN service comes close to equaling Live in either content or continually active players they’ll be unveiling their new pricing scheme. Just like removing B/C became a cost cutting strategy they always planned on, the premium PSN will be the same.

    That’s not to say THIS specific press release is announcing any of that. I think Darrin is right that he’s speaking about the other services they’re looking into. It’s only to say that they aren’t going to hint about it… they’re just going to do it. And I’ll probably come back here to see a slew of posts telling me how awesome it is to pay for online service, as long as it’s got a Sony brand attached to it. :/

  • Kicks

    If they offered a rental service, I would jump all over it as long as it was a reasonable price. Right now we rent movies from redbox for $0.99 a night (well, $1.02 after rental taxes in my area). We typically do that versus paying $3 for an SD video on the PSN store.

    What I imagine happening is that they’re going to monetize premium PSN services like cross-game voice chat. As long as that stayed less than $20 a year I’d be willing to pay it as that is the one thing I miss the most about xbox live.

    In the end only time will tell and only Sony will tell us (or it will leak before next year’s E3)

  • Kicks

    Still hoping cross-game voice chat will be free though 🙂

  • Smegmazor

    I’ll only pay for dedicated servers. Right now this whole p2p bullshit is killing the fun in my games.

  • matt

    I would be shocked if the PS4 has free online. I think it is too late to remove it from the PS3. The long term problem is the PS3 is STILL LOSING MONEY on new consoles sold. They are losing money to run servers for free online.

    My question is “Where are they making money from the PS3?”

    Game and accessory sales cannot be making up the amount they are losing/have lost. The PS3 is not following the PS1/2 in revenue streams. Stockholders expect to make money from Sony and the Playstation brand has been one of their most lucrative divisions.

    Even if they charge $50 a year for a subscription like Live, you can find 1yr subscriptions online for $30 for Live year round.

    I look at it this way. I have about 50 hours into MW2. At $1 an hour that is cheap entertainment. That doesn’t even count all the hours I have played online this entire year. Paying for Live is no big deal for me as I hate online with PS3. It just isn’t the same. Free is nice but the quality of the service isn’t there. Why would Sony invest millions to improve their online service? They won’t. It doesn’t make sense.

    I think people wouldn’t mind paying for a service if they deem their money is well spent. I just don’t see it staying free forever.

  • Trieloth

    Lol gotta love the internet and its assumptions. Its gonna stay free people.

    Sorry but Live isnt worth paying for IMO. I can spend that $50 on a few games and play them for free on my ps3. I turn my 360 on once in a while but nothing says, hey dont you want to pay for this.

  • AndreasdelCarr

    $25-$50 a year ain’t jack. Sony can have my money. They can spend it on buying ponies for their daughters.

    I love you Sony.

  • A paid psn subscription for online play will not happen. I’m already spending more than a hundred dollars buying games on PSN, I wish to keep it that way. PSN is free and only 5000 players were playing uncharted. It would be less if they had charted.

    I’m glad they won’t charge for online play!

  • Royalty32

    So i was online last nite when i recieved this message out of no where from a person i dont know. He told me that starting January 2010 psn will not be free anymore. How much of his statement is true or is it jus complete BS.

  • Ignore those random messages Royalty. I got one recently and told the person who sent it that I’d add him to my blocklist.

    They were sending these things out earlier in the year saying PSN wasn’t going to be free after November, then when Nov came and went they changed the date to Dec.

    Ignore those messages until Sony confirms anything.

  • Royalty32

    OK thanks Fleakitten, man that guy had me worried!!!!

  • Royalty32

    @Fleakitten, so i was online yesterday and the same guy who said that psn wouldnt b free anymore said that he got his info from a friend that wrks for playstation. So now im worried again.

  • He works for playstation? How much does ‘playstation’ pay him.

    It’s a con, Royalty. Don’t buy into it until it’s made official by Sony.