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Sony May Charge For PlayStation Network 212

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.
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Sony May Charge For PlayStation Network

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 04, 2010 @05:21AM (#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.

  • As Long as... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheQuantumShift ( 175338 ) <monkeyknifefight@internationalwaters.com> on Thursday February 04, 2010 @05:32AM (#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...
  • Oh, good... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ButtercupSaiyan ( 977624 ) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @06:18AM (#31020342)
    That means more customers for Nintendo and Blizzard Entertainment / Activision then...
  • Re:Exactly. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 04, 2010 @06:34AM (#31020420)
    naaaa.... you'll have forgotten by the time you'll return to the market for the next console generation, due to the time passed and the next generation marketing campaign with moar! ponies!
  • by Xest ( 935314 ) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @06:56AM (#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.

  • Re:Exactly. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dimeglio ( 456244 ) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @07:06AM (#31020554)

    Personally my decision was based on "is it made by Microsoft or not" and I already had a Wii. Jokes aside, the fact it had a BluRay player, wireless, and combined a very decent media player the ps/3 was for me a better choice. Free on-line network was interesting but I haven't used it much.

    I would certainly be pissed if they started charging. Bait and switch comes to mind. That would make Sony a target for criticisms and they might lose all credibility for anything they, or possible other vendors, try "for free" in the future.

    I am certain they can find better ways of monetizing their network than charging everyone for it, maybe a premium service giving you access to new games before actual release or additional services yet to be available.

  • PREMIUM ONLY! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 04, 2010 @07:21AM (#31020624)

    This should be for PREMIUM only, NOT access to the service in general.
    If they make it for accessing PSN and networked games, they will kill PSN.
    Just because a bunch of idiots actually buy stuff on PS Home, doesn't mean to say that everyone else on PSN will subscribe to a monthly fee.

    God damn, if they actually go through with this, they need to fire every single person who agreed with the decision.
    Free PSN is one of the biggest attractions to PS3 for most people.
    If they made it paid-for, next to Live it would pretty much be a polished turd.

    This is yet another stupid decision of theirs coming back to bite them in the ass.
    "Fully free" services are always a bad idea. Free access to updates and online play, and premium services for everything else, absolutely no other way.
    Anything else is going to screw you over at some point, whether it is less sales due to a fully paid-for service, or losing money to a fully free service.
    Microsoft actually got it right for once.

  • by Imrik ( 148191 ) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @07:32AM (#31020674) Homepage

    Don't be silly, obviously he means his PS3 can operate a boat.

  • by delinear ( 991444 ) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @08:05AM (#31020800)

    What, spreading the word that your service is free by telling people you plan to charge for it? Colour me dubious. Some people care about the cost of being online, some don't, and as far as I can tell the only affect this would have is to put off the people who were attracted to the free service because they know it can be yanked at any time.

    Sure they might do another announcement that they considered all the options and decided to stay free, but what's the likelihood that it'll get anywhere near the coverage this will - we all know that bad news sells clicks or whatever it is big media's in the market for these days.

  • Re:Exactly. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mwvdlee ( 775178 ) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @08:07AM (#31020808) Homepage

    Is a potential customer supposed to read any and all news articles regarding a product before purchasing?
    If Sony sells the product with "free playstation network", a customer would expect the playstation network (in it's entirety) to be and remain free.

  • by ShakaUVM ( 157947 ) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @08:17AM (#31020866) Homepage Journal

    >>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 saved games to their network, and download it at my friends house, avoiding the annoying of finding my USB drive, plugging it in, copying it, etc., that would be worth some money to me. Especially since it'd provide backup insurance for my saves in case my PS3 dies or gets stolen.

    I don't give a rat's ass about early access to demos or the other nonsensical features they test marketed to people in Europe, and I think that cross-game voice chat should be a *core fucking feature*. The state of voice chat on the PS3 is abysmal compared with how easy it is on the Xbox360.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 04, 2010 @08:40AM (#31021010)

    Are you absolutely sure about that? From playing on both I've found that paying for Live makes them more dedicated to griefing.

    Getting their money's worth, as it were.

    I think this is probably as bad if not worse.

  • Re:Exactly. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by delinear ( 991444 ) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @09:12AM (#31021188)

    If you own the previous consoles, why does every new iteration have to have backward compatability with everything that was ever released for the whole line? You're just adding cost on top of cost to support 15 year (or by the time the PS4 arrives more likely 20+ year) old technology. I agree it's nice if the current generation are supported on the next generation, it at least eases the transition when you can still play your current favourite games, but anything beyond that which is likely to add to cost or hobble the new technology in any way I can live without. I'd even sacrifice compatability with current gen games, if I'm getting a much improved product as a result. As a corporation, it doesn't make much sense to increase your costs and hobble your technology just to appease a very small number of potential customers who don't want to switch out a cable to play their old games.

    Backwards compatability is a nice to have, if you're really serious about this stuff you probably already have the consoles or you can pick them up used for next to nothing, it's definitely not a good enough reason to increase the cost to the customer or to put constraints on what developers can do with the technology, look at the mess MS got themselves into with the WIndows mantra that everything ever written for it had to be supported on the newer OS, while Apple took the approach of dropping a lot of support for old software so that they could make significant gains in the OS within a smaller time frame.

  • Re:Oh, good... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by IndustrialComplex ( 975015 ) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @10:06AM (#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 ViViDboarder ( 1473973 ) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @10:37AM (#31022068)
    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 socsoc ( 1116769 ) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @11:48AM (#31022932)
    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?

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