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Keeping PSN Free Was Too "Hard" On PS4, But PS Plus Benefits Will Make The Difference

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
Playstation Plus, PS Plus, PS4, Sony

Keeping PSN Free Was Too "Hard" On PS4, But PS Plus Benefits Will Make The Difference

"There's A Ton Of Value In The Network"

The decision to charge for online PS4 multiplayer as part of a PlayStation Plus subscription caused a bit of a stir back in the summer, but apparently it was simply too "hard" for Sony to continue offering the PSN as a free service as it expanded over the years. They're convinced that the added benefits of a subscription far outweigh the cost, though.

We're inclined to agree.

Sony Network Entertainment VP Eric Lempel told Gamesindustry.biz that their constant investment in the service made it increasingly difficult for them to offer PSN as a free service to all subscribers. "There's a ton of value in the network," he said. "We've built up the network over the years and made a significant investment... and it's quite honestly hard to keep everything [free],"

However, he was also quick to remind us that a PlayStation Plus subscription isn't just a pay wall, rather it also allows customers to download free games for the duration of their subscription on PS3, PS4 and Vita, along with a raft of discounts and extra services. This, he says, makes shelling out the extra cash a bit of a no-brainer.

"The investment in Plus gives the user a ton of value, so putting multiplayer in there will continue to help us build the network up for our users," he said. Lempel was also quick to point out that while the PS4's online multiplayer will be tied to PlayStation Plus, the console's third party apps won't be similarly restricted to subscribers. "We kept everything else free to the user. So for example, we've got 11 partner apps right off the bat," he continued. "This is something [Microsoft] isn't doing."

He's not wrong, actually. Consider this: an Xbox Live Gold subscription unlocks online multiplayer, apps that are free on other platforms such as Skype, and a free game download every now and again. PlayStation Plus, meanwhile, does the same thing - only granting access to a much wider array of games (on PS3, PS4 and Vita), alongside those nifty discounts.

This argument plays out every time we post about a new 'games with gold' update - but while Microsoft's approach is absolutely fine if not rather generous when comparing the PS3 and Xbox 360, they'll need to significantly up their game when it comes to the next generation. Both consoles require you to pay for multiplayer - so it's all about the extras.

Whether PS Plus will retain its quality perks, especially once the PS4 hits its stride, is anybody's guess. It's currently a premium optional service that needs to tempt consumers into spending extra cash with the Instant Game Collection and other incentives. As a mandatory part of the PS4's ecosystem, though, the drive to deliver might well wane as the months go by.

But we'll still get plenty of free stuff out of it before then, even as a worst case scenario. Anyway, that's enough out of me - are you happy to pay for online multiplayer on PS4?

Just in case you didn't know, the PS4 releases Stateside this Friday, and finally arrives in this green and pleasant land on November 29th. If you're wondering, that's why there are so many Sony-related stories today. It's kind of a big deal.

Add a comment5 comments
Late  Nov. 13, 2013 at 15:24

Playstation Plus games for December:

ps4 - Resogun
ps4 - Contrast

ps3 - Grid 2
ps3 - Guacamelee

psv - Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed
psv - GTA Liberty City Stories

(ps3 and psv games available from 27/11, ps4 from 29/11).



I can't wait to see what sh1te Microsoft come up with in response. I'm still holding out for Chuckie Egg.

glitch99  Nov. 14, 2013 at 13:13

Playstation Plus rental games for December:

ps4 - Resogun
ps4 - Contrast

ps3 - Grid 2
ps3 - Guacamelee

psv - Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed
psv - GTA Liberty City Stories

(ps3 and psv games available from 27/11, ps4 from 29/11).



I can't wait to see what sh1te Microsoft come up with in response. I'm still holding out for Chuckie Egg.


Fixed that for you, try and be a little more factual.

Late  Nov. 14, 2013 at 14:07

My apologies - you're right of course.
The 1% of ps+ subscribers who don't keep their subs running past the point where they've finished the game will appreciate your correction.

glitch999  Nov. 14, 2013 at 14:47

I am dubious of the 1%, but for arguments sake, lets say you are right... It's still a rental service, like a glorified netflix. Anyone can get the latest and greatest from rental companies, Sony are not offering you anything special. As for MS, of course the games suck, but they are still playable games if Gold expires.

Late  Nov. 14, 2013 at 15:32

Aye, the 1% was completely unfounded and off the top of my head.
Whatever the actual numbers, I consider Microsoft's "Games with Gold" to be essentially the same as Sony's "Instant Games", other than Sony's effort being so much superior to Microsoft's. In my opinion.

The line between rental and purchase is fairly grey on digital games at the best of times. Yes, Sony's games are only rented and Microsoft's are owned - but good luck trying to sell the Microsoft ones to a third party later.
If you're going to have a premium subscription on either service (and I would have one with whichever console I went with, primarily to play COD online) then to all intents and purposes the two services work the same: you can download games that normally require payment for free, you can play them as much as you want, you're unlikely to play them after a couple of months, and you're unable to sell them.

I've had (and read) the same back-and-forth argument on any number of forums so many times I know I'm not going to convince you of my viewpoint and you're not going to convince me of yours, so perhaps we can just agree that both services are great - but which is better is dependent entirely upon the individual and their circumstances & priorities? ;)

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