Me and my Magic 8 Ball have been predicting that Sony would introduce paid multiplayer to the PlayStation Network for the last three hundred years or so already, and that prophecy has finally come true. And they called me mad! MAD, I TELL YOU! They don’t even have the doctor’s report to prove it because I buried it in the garden last week, just next to the gnomes, and nobody will ever find it. Or them. Shh, we don’t talk about the gnomes anymore, not after what happened last time.
Anyway, in between big announcements that the PlayStation 4 doesn’t impose any restrictive DRM policies, won’t require an online check-in every 24 hours, isn’t region-locked, will be sold much cheaper than the Xbox One, and can solve cold case murders, Sony also quietly added that “Oh, by the way, the console will require a paid PlayStation Plus subscription for online multiplayer.”
Is it such a bad thing, though? Sony thinks not.
“We are going to make a very significant step-change in the online experience with PlayStation 4. Some of that functionality was spoken about yesterday, and some on February 20, and that’s all great and we’re really happy that we’re able to make our online experience much more competitive, but the flipside is that this stuff comes at a cost,” SCE Europe boss Jim Ryan told VG247 at E3.
Adding that “the money has to come from somewhere”, he explained that “Yes, we’re charging for online multiplayer, and we have to be quite straight about that and not hide it at all. It is part of PlayStation Plus, and all the good stuff that goes with that. Set that against the competitive offering and the overall value proposition that it’ll provide UK consumers, and I don’t feel bad about it at all. I don’t feel apologetic.”
The PlayStation Plus package already includes free games for subscribers, as well as discounts on selected promo stuff and early access to betas, so it’s a pretty good deal. Online multiplayer will also remain totally free for PS3 players.