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PlayStation (Games) Sony The Almighty Buck Games

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 sumthinboutjesus ( 984845 ) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @05:21AM (#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 @05:26AM (#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.

  • by obarthelemy ( 160321 ) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @05:32AM (#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 Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @05:40AM (#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 bhunachchicken ( 834243 ) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @05:41AM (#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 Amigori ( 177092 ) * <eefranklin718@yaho o . c om> on Thursday February 04, 2010 @05:57AM (#31020250) Homepage
    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.

  • by EspressoFreak ( 237002 ) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @05:58AM (#31020252)
    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 jamlc1m ( 1697540 ) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @06:08AM (#31020300)
    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 spend any money on the PSN should it come as a paid service.
  • by sznupi ( 719324 ) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @06:31AM (#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?

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

    by emanem ( 1356033 ) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @06:34AM (#31020416) Homepage
    ...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.
  • by Mr Stubby ( 1122233 ) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @08:18AM (#31020876)
    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.
  • Re:Exactly. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RobDude ( 1123541 ) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @01:50PM (#31024528) Homepage

    You can debate whether or not the $50 dollars is a good deal or not, or whether or not it's a trivial cost. If you intend to own a console for six years before upgrading; the Xbox live fees have added $300 dollars to the TCO of the Xbox360.

    That may or may not be a problem for you. You might argue that the Xbox Live gives you better online features that justify the additional cost.

    That's why people consider different consoles, compare them, and ultimately decide on whichever console is a good fit.

    Regardless of how you feel about the $50 dollars; I think we can all agree that whenever console producers change the rules, we (the customers) stand to get hurt.

    It might not have been the deciding factor for you; but it could have been for someone else. Changing the rules of the purchase after the fact is always going to introduce potential problems.

    Similarly, if Microsoft were to discontinue Xbox Live - a lot of people who purchased the Xbox *because* of that service are going to be shafted.

    One of the biggest reasons I went with a PS3 was not wanting to pay another fee to play a game I already paid for, on the internet (access to which I already pay for).

You know, Callahan's is a peaceable bar, but if you ask that dog what his favorite formatter is, and he says "roff! roff!", well, I'll just have to...