The most controversial announcement of the Sony E3 2013 press conference was undoubtedly the news that the PS4 will require you to subscribe to PlayStation Plus if you want to play online.
With Sony having long had free online gaming, the move’ll be a tough pill to swallow for many, but Sony says that the money will be used to fund the significant improvement in the PS4’s online.
Jim Ryan, president of SCEE, told VG247:
The online experience on PS3 has got better, but at the beginning it was rather rudimentary, and the investment associated with it reflected that.
We are going to make a very significant step-change in the online experience with PlayStation 4. Some of that functionality was spoken about yesterday, and some on February 20, and that’s all great and we’re really happy that we’re able to make our online experience much more competitive, but the flipside is that this stuff comes at a cost. When you’re trying to achieve a $399/£349 price-point and trying to deliver all this functionality, the money has to come from somewhere.
He added that the best way to get subscribers in a ‘good’ way would be to add it in to PS+:
It seemed to us that the most appropriate way to do this was to put online multiplayer into the existing PS Plus package, and, like some other platforms, for something like €5, or whatever the sterling equivalent, per month, yes, there is a charge for online multiplayer, but there’s also a pretty damn strong package of content and services in there. As you’ll know, it’s pretty good.
I think we’ve done it in a reasonable and fair manner, and I don’t feel defensive in sitting here and looking at the whole package. Yes, we’re charging for online multiplayer, and we have to be quite straight about that and not hide it at all. It is part of PlayStation Plus, and all the good stuff that goes with that. Set that against the competitive offering and the overall value proposition that it’ll provide UK consumers, and I don’t feel bad about it at all. I don’t feel apologetic.
Of course, online on PS3 and Vita will remain free, and PS+ will entitle you to free games like a stripped down DriveClub every month, but it’s still the first time Sony have charged for online gaming.
Where do you stand on the matter? Are you angry at Sony’s decision, or can you understand why they did it? Let us know in the comments below.