Slashdot stories can be listened to in audio form via an RSS feed, as read by our own robotic overlord.

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
PlayStation (Games) Sony The Almighty Buck Games

Sony May Charge For PlayStation Network 212

Posted by Soulskill
from the i'm-sure-that-will-be-popular dept.
In an interview with IGN, Sony's VP of marketing, Peter Dille, responded to a question about the PlayStation Network by saying that the company is considering charging for the service. He said, "It's been our philosophy not to charge for it from launch up until now, but Kaz recently went on the record as saying that's something we're looking at. I can confirm that as well. That's something that we're actively thinking about. What's the best way to approach that if we were to do that? You know, no announcements at this point in time, but it's something we're thinking about." This follows news of a customer survey from last month that listed possibilities for subscription-based PSN features.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Sony May Charge For PlayStation Network

Comments Filter:
  • by sumthinboutjesus (984845) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @04:21AM (#31020114)
    As a gamer who has made purchasing decisions based on the fact that PSN is free and Xbox Live costs money, I believe this would be a big negative for Sony at a time when they are actually making headway in the console wars. The only way I see this working out is if all the current services offered by PSN are free and these new features are optional, not essential for having a good gaming experience, and priced modestly. Otherwise, I think this will amount to Sony shooting themselves in the foot when they have momentum, just like they did with the PS2 to PS3 transition.
    • Exactly. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 04, 2010 @04:26AM (#31020134)

      I bought the PS3 recently, my first console since the original nintendo. The lowered price, Uncharted 2, and the free ps3 online were the top deciding factors on which console to buy, in that order.

      If they started charging now. Wow. That would factor in *hugely* in my decision on what to purchase in the future.

      • I bought the PS3 recently, my first console since the original nintendo. [...]

        If they started charging now. Wow. That would factor in *hugely* in my decision on what to purchase in the future.

        I'm sure that will matter immensely to Sony in the 2030s-2040s.

    • by sznupi (719324) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @05:31AM (#31020404) Homepage

      I'd go further - such move would be so unbelievably stupid that I can't help but suspect there's something else at play here.

      Spreading such rumors and causing a bit of an "outrage"...which has a "side effect" of spreading the message that Sony network service is free, while MS one is not?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by ViViDboarder (1473973)
        I think this would be a really BAD way to let people know it's free.

        If I was just about to buy a new system and heard this I'd be like, "PS3 is free for a while now but they are going to start charging soon! Screw that."
      • by brkello (642429)
        No. That would be incredibly stupid reason to be so unbelievably stupid.

        If you want to show off that your service is free and your competitors isn't, you just state it. Or you release some new gimmicky app that is free on the network that catches some headlines. You do it in a positive way.

        Doing it this way, you make all the people who were potentially going to buy your console take pause. They will want to see if you start charging or not and hold off on purchasing.

        The only reason you say this is th
      • by CaseM (746707)

        I tend to think of shit like this as "negotiation by proxy". Talk about doing "really, really horrible" to the media, then do something only just a "little" horrible the next iteration. Look for the PS4 to start charging for PSN access.

    • by Xest (935314) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @05:56AM (#31020522)

      The problem is, whilst yes, the PS3 is making headway, it's coming at too big a cost to them.

      It's not clear that the PS3 is even making a profit on the hardware itself yet, certainly it wasn't even as recently as 6 months back. The PSN costs a lot to run, so they're effectively subsidising that too. This of course becomes more of a big deal when they have to fund additional features to try and keep up with XBox live but do not receive income for it like Microsoft does with Live.

      So yeah they certainly have momentum now, but it's costing them too much to be sustainable, so they have a choice of breaking even and pissing people off, or continuing to haemorrhage money in the hope that some day they will indeed be able to make it all back.

      Microsoft made the same mistake with the original XBox in that it costs them a fortune, but they learnt from it, sure they still lost money on the hardware for a while, but not so much that they couldn't get it profitable within a few years. They also realised that XBox live is a good way to help fill that gap, in that by charging for it, they're both avoiding losing money there, and making up for some of the money lost on the hardware as well as being able to use the money to fund continued development.

      Of course, I agree it's nice to have things for free, but sometimes that just isn't practical, at least in the long run. I'd wager this is why Nintendo didn't really bother with a decent online experience at all- because it would be just an additional cost for them that detracts from their profit.

      • by socsoc (1116769)
        I let my gold account expire when my 360 died and bought a ps3 instead, the PSN network being free was one of the reasons. It's starting to frustrate me though. I don't know the specifics behind how it works, but the EA titles that I play seem to make one machine the host, rather than use a dedicated server, and that really sucks when you are on the 16th hole of Tiger and suddenly it all craps out. Maybe that's an EA thing because it seems to be a different environment than PSN proper, but Live never gave m
    • by williamhb (758070)

      As a gamer who has made purchasing decisions based on the fact that PSN is free and Xbox Live costs money, I believe this would be a big negative for Sony at a time when they are actually making headway in the console wars. The only way I see this working out is if all the current services offered by PSN are free and these new features are optional, not essential for having a good gaming experience, and priced modestly. Otherwise, I think this will amount to Sony shooting themselves in the foot when they have momentum, just like they did with the PS2 to PS3 transition.

      Very much worse than the PS2 to PS3 transition. With the PS3, Sony has started to gain real traction as a "just works" media and entertainment hub for ordinary folk and families (rather than techies). For instance, the sales success of PlayTV (cheap, easy, and friendly digital tv recording functionality), LittleBigPlanet, etc -- it's starting to conquer the Wii's territory now more people have high-definition tvs. As soon as it's "$X/month subscription", families and casual users won't look at it. They'

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ShakaUVM (157947)

      >>I believe this would be a big negative for Sony at a time when they are actually making headway in the console wars

      Yeah. I don't think they'd be as suicidal for charging for access to all multiplayer gaming, like the surcharge pirates at Microsoft impose on everyone (want to play Castle Crashers, two at my place, two at your's? Okay, pony up the money for four Gold accounts, chumps).

      If it was something like the mentioned "cloud storage space for games"... then it might be worth it. If I could upload

    • The charges would be for new and extra features. Not what it already does.

      http://www.gamepro.com/article/news/213014/premium-psn-service-planned-wont-affect-online-gaming/ [gamepro.com]

      "Sony is considering adding a subscription-based version of the PlayStation Network, but the company denies that it will charge customers to play games online."

      http://www.next-gen.biz/news/sony-may-introduce-psn-subscription-model [next-gen.biz]

      "Especially in the online area, we are studying the possibility of introducing a subscription model, offering premium content and services, in addition to the current free services." (Emphasis added.)

    • by DdJ (10790)

      Otherwise, I think this will amount to Sony shooting themselves in the foot when they have momentum, just like they did with the PS2 to PS3 transition.

      The thing is, not doing it will also amount to Sony shooting themselves in the foot.

      The network is far from free to run, and is losing money. Unless they can figure out another way to monetize it (eg. advertising infrastructure, "subscription fee" from developers, whatever), I don't think anyone can realistically expect it to remain free forever. At some point it has to stop, unless someone can figure out another way for it to be free and profitable (on an ongoing basis -- just as a marketing tool to get

    • by The Moof (859402)
      Last time this came up [kotaku.com], Sony wasn't thinking about charging for what's already there (and they explicitly stated that), but for additional features. From my link (dated Dec 18, 2009):

      The subscription offering would provide new premium features you could choose to pay for and are in addition to the features currently available for free such as access to online multiplayer gaming (current features would remain free).

      There's even a grid of their tier options and new features at that link.

    • by Aphoxema (1088507) *

      As a gamer who has made purchasing decisions based on the fact that PSN is free and Xbox Live costs money, I believe this would be a big negative for Sony at a time when they are actually making headway in the console wars. The only way I see this working out is if all the current services offered by PSN are free and these new features are optional, not essential for having a good gaming experience, and priced modestly. Otherwise, I think this will amount to Sony shooting themselves in the foot when they have momentum, just like they did with the PS2 to PS3 transition.

      Yeah, I just bought a PS3 last weekend and that purchase was based on PSN membership being without cost. I'm a little outraged at the thought that they're even considering charging for the service now

    • by DarthVain (724186)

      Something like a Gold and Silver Subscriptions?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 04, 2010 @04:21AM (#31020118)

    From a purely business perspective, MS must be making a killing on live. Sony gaming needs to make some money somehow: they're still making loss on every PS3 sold, their investment in exclusive games has produced some good games but they've all been fairly mediocre sellers, the PSPgo is a massive flop and PSN must be eating some money.

    Last I read, Sony had lost more on the PS3 than the profit from PS1 and PS2 combined. That's seriously bad business.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by auLucifer (1371577)
      I've heard that with the slim ps3 sony are no longer loss leading. Can I see a reference for the statement that they still are?
      • by theJML (911853)

        Do a google search for "playstation 3 slim loss leader"...

        You'll find quite a few articles, the most recent I saw on the first page was Dec 11th, 2009, which stated that they were loosing $40 on each one.

        No, on the flip side, $40 isn't really that bad considering what it used to be, and if things continue this way, I'd say they'll start making money on them (or at least braking even) later this year, but still, that's a number of years of loss-leading, most of it at > $400.

        (Thinking about it, I don't kno

    • by delinear (991444)
      I'm not sure how much money MS make on live, gold subscriptions cost less than the price of a single new game and are only payable once per year per customer (not even counting all the customers who never use live, I'm not sure what the online:offline ratio is, this may or may not be a significant figure). I'd be surprised if they had much money left over after providing the service, selling content is where the big money is in this for them, and they can do that whether the service is free or paid. I think
      • by Xest (935314)

        Last stats they released said around 25 million Gold subscribers, at £40 a year, that's £1 billion (around $1.5 billion US) income per year from Live subscriptions.

        • by jgtg32a (1173373)

          Good thing £ to $ is a 1:1 exchange
           
          But yeah they are making a killing

        • by socsoc (1116769)
          Except it doesn't cost everyone 40 quid. Even with the exchange rate, I can get one in the US for helluva lot cheaper than the equivalent of £40.
          • by Xest (935314)
            Even with a hefty chunk off that and costs of running the service removed from it, it's still an amount that's noticably larger than for example, the entirety of Sony's quarter 3 net profit [reghardware.co.uk]. If just one tiny segment of Microsoft's empire can rake in that much money in a year in relation to Sony's entire empire (remember that includes it's music, movie, TV, Bluray, semiconductor etc. sections) can in a quarter then you can see why Sony would be interested in copying that. There's a lot of money there for the
      • by jgtg32a (1173373)

        Live provides nothing that justifies $40 a year, but $50 a year is just cheap enough where most will pay with out complaining and at worst people like me will bitch about it on the internet but still pay.

  • by obarthelemy (160321) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @04:32AM (#31020152)

    Running the PSN network must cost big money. It kinda makes sense to have subscriptions to cover those recurring costs, instead of counting on games revenues, which are one-off, to offset them.

    I'm not saying it's nice or a good think for customers, just that it is logical. Maybe game prices can go down now that games don't have to pay for the network costs, and people can choose cheaper standalone play or pay for network play if the wish.

    • by Brianech (791070) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @05:03AM (#31020262)
      the PSN already charges for content. It charges the PUBLISHER. Companies have to pay 16cents a gigabyte of content downloaded (demos included).
      • by flitty (981864)
        Holy crap. No wonder only major releases have demos on PSN. I got my PS3 at christmas, and i'm always shocked at how few of the Downloadable games actually have demos. I'm fairly interested in several downloadable games, and I was baffled that demos were not offered, because i'm not paying $15-20 for a game that could suck. Now I know why the demo space of PSN is so lacking.
  • As Long as... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheQuantumShift (175338) <monkeyknifefight@internationalwaters.com> on Thursday February 04, 2010 @04:32AM (#31020154) Homepage
    Multiplayer is free, I couldn't care less. I don't want "Early access to content" or the like, I just want to fire up Street Fighter and get my ass handed to me. I don't want "Exclusive themes" or access to psone games I played a decade ago; I just want to be able to virtually shoot a guy in the face once in a while...
    • Playstation Store and Playstation Home is for that.

    • by Nerdfest (867930)
      I kind of like the idea of people needing to pay to play online, only because it puts a bit of monetary incentive on not beng an ass-hat. There's a bit of dis-incentive to mod your console, use in-game exploits, etc. There will still be ass-hats, but hopefully fewer of them.
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @04:40AM (#31020192)

    At least not multiplayer.

    And it's not even so much that I have troubles using the console controllers for FPS games. It's simply that something like this isn't easy to enforce in the PC world. If anything, the maker of a certain game can enforce a "pay to play multiplayer" rule, which would basically mean for me that I can't play this game (since I won't pay to play just another FPS game online when there's a lot that are offered free), it would not mean that the platform becomes worthless altogether.

    • by sznupi (719324)

      Traditional MMO model is just that; so generally don't hold you breath, that just might be where everyone is going.

      And anyway, if I want multiplayer on a console, that's "all people in one room, drunk after pub" kind of multiplayer.

  • by bhunachchicken (834243) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @04:41AM (#31020196) Homepage

    One of the major advantages that PSN has over Xbox is the fact that the online play is free.

    I actually don't play games online a lot, but it's nice that it's there, so that I can dip in and out of it. It came in VERY handy during Demon's Souls.

    What would be better is if the online play remained free and Sony offered a subscription model that allowed players access to game and movie rentals.

    What if, for £5 per month, you could rent one PSN game and a couple of movies? Once you'd finished playing the game, you could relinquish your "lease" on it and download another. Something like this would likely have saved the Calling All Cars servers, which were shut down because no one was playing the game!

    There are lots of games on PSN that I would play, but given that they cost about £10, are non-refundable and may actually turn out to be crap, I can't justify the risk.

    The movie rental feature would be a great incentive, too. PSN offers a hell of a lot of movies to rent, but given that you can actually BUY a physical copy for less (Aliens: £3 on DVD; £6.99!!!! on PSN), it's not worth it.

    Also, PSN needs to make renting movies the priority over selling-to-own. There are many films on there that I would much prefer to rent than buy.

    • by socsoc (1116769)
      Err, nobody played Calling All Cars multiplayer because it wasn't fun and took less than 30 min in single player to complete.
    • by brkello (642429)
      The idea of companies is to make more money, not less. The revenue they would lose over renting the games out (they don't just get free money, they have to give the publisher of those games that they rent money too...same with the movies) would far surpass that subscription fee.

      The reality is that it is probably too expensive to run PSN for free and they are going to be like the 360 very soon.
  • Here's how I see it:
    • Playstation Home? Charge for it. I used it a few times when I first signed up, but it doesn't really do anything. I'm sure the costs outweigh the virtual trinkets and mini games they sell.
    • Playstation Store? Access needs to be free. Any store costs should be included in the price of the game/movie/tv show/theme pack/etc. Plus, on the movies side, it costs enough already to rent or buy movies.
    • Multiplayer Games? Who is hosting the server? EA, R*, etc? The hosting cost should be figured into the price of the game. Or they (Pub/Dev) charge a separate subscription fee. Sony hosting the server? Charge for it, XBox Live style.

    I have no issue with paying for PSN as long as the price is reasonable. I paid for XBox Live for years, before I got rid of my XBox. $60/yr is perfect, $5/mo. That's $5m per month with 1m users (random user number). I couldn't see servers, bandwidth, datacenter, licensing, and power costs being beyond $60m per year, but then again, IANA MMO SysAd. Any more than $60, and it will fail. Maybe they could get away with a $100/yr price if they included a full Skype client, with video...maybe.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by emanem (1356033)
      The SONY PSN I think is mostly used to act as a STUN [wikipedia.org] starter, but then games are mostly hosted locally, so they save bandwidth.
      At least I think this is true for games like SF4, where apparently they don't/can't do anything for cheaters because they can't (read don't give a sh*t) spot them...
      But this is my guess.
      Cheers,
      • by socsoc (1116769)
        This is true in my experience, which is why some games suddenly quit when PSN has chosen the player with the worst connection to host.
        • by ifrag (984323)
          Infinity Ward has actually perfected that technology. MW2 doesn't just randomly pick and hope for the worst connection like most games, it consistently picks the worst connection every time.
    • by DrXym (126579) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @05:54AM (#31020510)
      Playstation Home? Charge for it.

      Home is festooned with adverts, sponsored zones and as you say trinkets for $$$. It's already commercialized enough and charging for it would be stupid.

      Personally I think Sony have plenty of means of keeping online free and making money. They're already doing lots of them - pushing PSN, selling / renting videos, premium avatars & themes, advertising, qore etc. They could add to that model with IPTV, game rentals (hourly, daily, weekly, monthly etc.), streaming music & video, network storage & game load/saves etc. There is no reason that they should have to charge for any functionality that the PS3 already offers.

    • I'd prefer that PSN remain free, since this is a huge plus in the PS3's favor. However, the realist in me recognizes there is significant cost in Sony operating the servers and network infrastructure to support PSN on an ongoing basis. If they had to charge for it, I'm with you on these points:

      • PlayStation Home - charge for it. It's already an MMO of sorts, just a social MMO, and people generally accept that you pay a subscription fee to play MMOs. (Disclaimer: I use Home, and I would probably pay a subscr
    • by DarthVain (724186)

      If people start using the PS3 to download Blu-ray movies to watch them my head may explode.

  • Well, if the price is reasonable and they use the extra income to improve the platform features (connection speed, connectivity, etc.) and perhaps offer more free perks (game newsletter, reviews, etc.), then it will probably be worth it.
    • by Nerdfest (867930)
      So, basically if it was the same as XBox Live?

      It would still annoy a very large number of people.
    • by socsoc (1116769)
      Who would pay for a game newsletter or reviews? You mention them as free perks, but as a supporting argument to why they should charge for it. I'll go to the biased sources that don't own any consoles for my reviews, thanks.
  • The PSN doesn't work in my country even though I've exchanged quite a few emails over the three years I have my PS3. On multiple occasions I've been promised that "we're just about to launch the service" and nothing happened ever since. This is quite a drawback in the whole PS3 experience since I know that demo's and free content on the PSN is half the fun. I actually wanted to purchase some upgrades to one of the games I own, but since Sony wasn't really interested in my money then I sure as hell won't spe
  • by l0ungeb0y (442022) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @05:09AM (#31020304) Homepage Journal

    Well, I can imagine my neighbors would hear me shouting "Wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii" as my PS3 sailed past their windows.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by godfra (839112)
      So you would literary throw your PS3 out the window

      Verily, this Playstation has become a financial burden of prodigious proportions, therefore I promulgate now, that I shall have no more to do with it, and plan to dispense with the economically burdensome device forthwith!

      With that being said, I bid you good day Sir!
  • Oh, good... (Score:2, Insightful)

    That means more customers for Nintendo and Blizzard Entertainment / Activision then...
    • Re:Oh, good... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by IndustrialComplex (975015) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @09:06AM (#31021694)

      That means more customers for Nintendo and Blizzard Entertainment / Activision then...

      You are really using Blizzard as an example of a non-pay for multiplayer company?

      • by Marcika (1003625)

        That means more customers for Nintendo and Blizzard Entertainment / Activision then...

        You are really using Blizzard as an example of a non-pay for multiplayer company?

        Well, they do have the most popular non-pay multiplayer service in town... Don't tell me you never played Diablo 2 or Starcraft on Battle.net -- and with the release of D3 and SC2, free Battle.net could well become more popular than WoW again...

        • ... Don't tell me you never played Diablo 2 or Starcraft on Battle.net

          Actually I never did, and I loved Starcraft. I played it on LANS and other similar things (dial up networking).

          I don't disagree with you, but the big thing on Blizzard's plate at the moment is a 10 million person subscription service. And as PC gaming slowly becomes a port of console games, (and developers being purchased by traditional offenders) I can see it becoming an issue.

      • by jgtg32a (1173373)

        battle.NET

  • If I have to pay... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by emanem (1356033)
    ...I might as well call it a day.
    The service is cr*p (with SF4 for example is full of lag cheaters and they don't get banned), movies you can buy cost a lot as well (plus on a side note if I downaload 10 of them I exceed my 100 GB monthly max limit on my ultra-in-theory-unlimited BT account - I discovered that because of this...sigh) and are badly compressed.
    And they even think to start charging people?
    This is the good time I might stop buying any SONY product in future.
    Cheers,
    • by delinear (991444)
      I would guess if they charge it will be precisely so they can improve the service without financially crippling themselves. At that point I guess the choice is would you rather pay for a decent service or not play online with the PS3. It's obviously not scared away enough customers on the 360 to stop MS charging and the service they deliver generally seems reasonable, so there's no reason to think it couldn't work on the PS3. The big problem for Sony is that if you mess with your customers like that, sellin
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by socsoc (1116769)
      Don't blame PSN for problems with BT. Problems with your service provider don't reflect on the content provider. Do you blame your auto company when the roads are closed?
  • by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @05:49AM (#31020482)
    Specifically footwear and small-arms ammunition, the latter delivered at velocity.
  • but I'll wait now until they've thought this through. Maybe I'll just upgrade my PC instead.

  • by gaelfx (1111115) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @06:26AM (#31020650)
    ...there's a Playstation Network now? Finally, no need to invite my friends over to play games! All those harsh, awkward social interactions I've been going through these years were totally unnecessary!
  • In my experience on friends consoles and the like i've noticed theres a significantly larger bunch of grifers, whiners and other anoying tards in abundance on the PSN purely because its free, having to put a few dollars a month to play on Live doesnt eliminate the problem but it really keeps a large percentage of the riff raff out of my games, and I'm all for it.
    • Do you really believe that charging a subscription fee is going to reduce the number of annoying tards? Just think about that for a second. Which is the most likely demographic to pay for online gaming subscriptions? That's right. Annoying tards.
  • Sony owes is loyal customers who have put up with their poor PSN network, and inferior PS3 hardware, bad 3rd party ports... etc

    PS3 owners such as myself, love Sony's first party games which are incredible considering the hardware's inferiority, but really everything else has been less than stellar.

    Sony needs to stop worrying about how charge fans for their pathetic PSN. Its a terrible experience with little real functionality. It is beyond underdeveloped just like the PS3 OS and online features.

    Its just not

  • If it's charge for multiplayer? meh, I'm single player only 90+% of the time

    If it's charge for demos,Netflix or patches? DIAF Sony.

    Gamefly like subscription to all the games on PSN? Count me in, if it's a reasonable price.

  • was because I wanted a blu-ray player and as an added bonus it played games and the online was free. If they started to charge for online multiple player there is no way I would pay for both the PS3 and Xbox. One would have to go... Since we are big Halo fans here I think I know which console would win.

    Should the profits from blu-ray sales offset their losses? I've heard tho that blu-ray movie sales are poor as well.. I can understand why now that I have a blu-ray player. Upscaled DVD's are good enoug

  • Maybe they'll surprise us and do something awesome like content streaming over PSN. So you pay your monthly fee but you get streaming content like netflix has.

    But probably not.

"Free markets select for winning solutions." -- Eric S. Raymond

Working...