We weren't too pleased with Sony sneaking the news that you'd have to subscribe to Playstation Plus to play online with your friends on the PS4 into their pretty positive E3 presser, but Sony UK boss has explained the move and elaborated on how Sony are expanding their online services to bring more value to consumers who sign up.
Gara says that the decision to make PS Plus mandatory for online play on the PS4 was not one taken lightly, revealing that it was something that Sony had to “agonise over for a very long time”.
Chatting to OPM, Gara explained that there were two things that influenced the decision: “First of all, we wanted to introduce the console at a healthy price-point compared with PS3,” he said. “ [That was] front and centre in our thinking and our planning for years”.
Sony are also aiming at making the service more feature-ric, including adding “the social features you’ve seen demonstrated or more of a world-class network”. To do that, Sony has been “investing in a higher performance network” which will reportedly not only add “new things”, but will also provide a “better performance [and] better reliability”.
To achieve that, Gara said that “there’s investment required” and that although PS Plus was “a tremendously well-received service”, Sony saw an "opportunity to extend that”. Admittedly now that means charging for online multiplayer, but Gara suggested that the service still provides “immense value for that subscription charge” (currently £39.99 annually), and made a point of stating that “it applies across three consoles, includes content across all three consoles”.
As well as the fantastic Instant Game Collection (which we love), Gara highlighted the decision to provide a feature limited version of Drive Club from launch in a bid to make the PS4 “exciting right from day one. So we’ve introduced a version of DriveClub right from day one in there so you could argue [your PS Plus subscription] is sort of paid back almost immediately. So we still think it’s tremendous value”.
We still hope that Sony continue to work hard in their choices for the IGC to continue offering fantastic value for the service rather than leaning on the multiplayer requirement to bring in new subscribers, but we've had only good things to say about Playstation Plus up to this point, and it's justified the yearly subscription multiple times over.
And cross-game chat, of course. That's finally, finally happening, and it's about damn time!