PlayStation Network to Begin Charging?

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Sony’s PlayStation Network may not be free of subscription fees much longer, according to oblique remarks by its CTO.

SCE’s Chief Technical Officer Masayuki Chatani has this to say about Sony’s PSN plans in a recent interview, where he also explains how the slimlined PS3 and failed PSP Go were intended to appeal more to non-gamers:

Maintaining service will mean continuing cost. This is a major issue for a home electronics manufacturer, isn’t it?

Servers and the like have running costs, and we would face difficulties if our business depended solely on the sell-and-forget model. After we sell the hardware, though, we continue to sell products such as content and services.

We expect to see considerable growth in digital content, such as game download services, avatar items and the like.

We can also accept payment in a growing number of ways. In addition to single-payment packaged software, there are also schemes like monthly fees or per-item charges. I think this variety of payment methods will bring about a diverse range of playing methods, too.

Presumably making the entire PSN service require paid subscriptions, as with Xbox Live, would be a last resort, but it certainly sounds as though free access to online gaming services may in part give way at some point to a subscription based model…

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  • How does it feel now? They got y’all good!!!! HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

  • HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HAHA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

  • That’s a very poor marketing move if you ask me.

    Instead of charging for what’s free now it would be a better idea to add some premium services that you can pay a small monthly fee to access.

    The stock holders probably should start pushing for a new CTO.

  • Make it like Windows LIVE, at the very least if you are going to start charging.
    Let the people who want to throw their money away get all the bells and whistles of crap that I don’t care about and let me enjoy my fucking Online experience in peace.

  • So Sony fails. If they wanted to use server costs they should have done so from the very beginning.

    Once again they limit themselves and start out free and then all of a sudden it starts to cost money.

    Which is a really really bad way of handling things. Just reminds me of the phone sellers: Oh but you will get all of this for free!!

    When you receive the product though it costs in shipment and it is hard as hell to stop getting the product…

    Bad move Sony, bad move.

  • Well, they can start looking at cutting that Mainichi Issyo Weekly thing, which is not important at all, and each episode is way too long even with auto-forward now. Then HOME is pretty pointless and boring, I go there once in awhile when I really have nothing to do, it is beautiful but not yet pathetic enough to waste real time in that virtual apartment, for what ? I don’t find that interesting at all. If I have time and turn on my PS3, I would be playing games, leveling up my ToV or MW2.

  • Good, I hate the Ps3 network. 360 is so much better when it comes to multiplayer, and online communities. It’s because we pay for it. That money goes to use. I for one welcome the fee. If you can’t afford it, get a better job. You can’t live in your mother’s basement forever.

  • I’m not sure this is really new news. I remember back in 2008 there wwas a small article is asian psn teasig the prospect of charging online whiih inevitably led to a recent PSN spam session on my friends list with peope sending chain letters and if you on’t send this o as many people as possible you’ll have to pay fees and whatnot.

    I’m not really sure about this one. psn free is one of the major +1’s over 360.

    I can’t justify paying 50 bucs a year when i barely play that much online games.

  • Does this site hate sony or something? I mean all they do is post negative news about the ps3 and psp. Come on, why not something good? This site should just be renamed fucksony.com. And one more thing. Sony will charge for premium content, PREMIUM! ONLINE PLAY WILL STILL BE FREE! Did you have the balls to mention that or are you a fanboy?! goddamn!

  • Mysterious Voice: “Stabbing your loyal users in the back, huh? First you remove backwards compatability, now this? You might as well lower quality control on the system, Micro$ony.

    Next time, get a PC.”

    Uhh…the base online features are still gonna work.

    Mysterious Voice: “My point still stands; get a PC.”

  • OLD AND INCORRECT INFORMATION.

    There will be a paid subscription, but one that will offer more features. If you’re okay with just the current features, it’ll stay free. Confirmed by game sites throughout the Internet.

  • The Playstation Network already has subscrtion services quore to be exact and they were planning on making clubs on Home a subscrition so I doubt that that online services will change much. multiplayer will still be free and I think Home will most like ly stay charge free as well. I also doubt they would charge to connect to the market.

  • I don’t think he was referring to Xbox live style subscription fees. I think he was more talking about subscription fees for individual online software titles (MMO’s on the PS3 and what have you)

  • I bought my PS3 for the MGS franchise, The next ZOE (Kojimaaaaaaaa!!!!!!) the next Fumito Ueda games, and for the GT series. As i am a casual player i wasn´t interested on paying a montly fee to play online, but still wanted to enjoy the experience from time to time, and i wanted my console to work without fearing the RROD (incidentally i had to send my sisters WII to repair the SD port…) that´s why i haven´t bought a 360 with the new Forza 3.
    Polyphony is making me sick of waiting for GT5 to be released, and i seriously think that the game should be 99% completed since months ago and it´s just a marketing movement, all those delays make me think that the game is not superior to Forza on several aspects and they are rushing to give it more stuff, as a GT series fan im bored of random delays, which only make me think that the game will be no more than a HD GT4 with 30 versions of the GTR R35 added, i mean it will not really be worth the time they have keeped us waiting.
    And now they are telling us that the online service will need a subscription? i swear that if that ends up being truth im swapping my ps3 for a 360 and not bothering with the GT series anymore even if it is superior to Forza 3.
    And i tell you, i am ready to buy the special edition GT5 and all the downloadable content that it´s released, and i already have a Logitech G25 wheel and a playseat to enjoy the game, but im not putting with a paying online bullshit, they should have had told me that when i bought a PS3 last year.
    I have been a long sony fan, but i feel like they ripped me off on this generation.

    • I wouldn’t get so worked up, this is just some guy talking about the ideas that are on the table, not an official press release on the matter. So don’t go and rage-quit already.

      I agree with you on the “As i am a casual player i wasn´t interested on paying a montly fee to play online” part though. I don’t really care about it enough to think it’s worth paying for. And also I’m a PC gamer at heart, so I am just used to the online aspect being free. It’d be really sad if all online console gaming ends up being subscription based. It’s too much of a commitment for me.

  • correct me if i’m wrong, but i belive i read an article saying PSN will still remain FREE and you, we the PSN users will have a choice to AVAIL a PREMIUM service meaning more perks, more access to premium stuff (whatever they are). so anyone else out there trying to slander PSN or anything else under the sun that’s free, go “F” yourself.

    • ChaosAngelZero says:

      Probably for the same reason Microsoft basically forgot about their own backwards compatibility list, save for some very punctual titles: because there isn’t enough people interested in that old stuff.

  • I like to consider myself a gamer and not a fanboy but I just have to laugh at this. Everytime a Console War pops up, I always see this argument more then any other. And now that PSN is going to start charging it’s just down right hilarious (Although it sucks since I just bought a freakin’ PS Slim). Well,time to go back to my 360 then…

  • um that’s pretty old news. Sony did mention in a convention about offering a paid for premium services ON TOP of every services currently offered for free, meaning everything that PSN is right now would remain free, only that some kind of premium service could be acquired by users for a monthly fee. Maybe it would be faster download, better online though I honestly never saw a single difference between PSN and XBOX Live in terms of online playing, exclusive content perhaps, nobody knows so far.

    That was announced like 1 or 2 months ago on gaming sites.

    • I think sony want to make a profit by charging for psn after so many loss every ps3 concole they sold.. I mean, how can we survive if we facing a loss for every product we have sold.. A business is to make a profit not a loss.. So, I think that’s why sony will be charging for their psn too like xbox did on xbl.. you did also know right that microsoft earn a lot of profit from their xbl..

  • Playing games online should remain free and since I couldn’t care less for game trailers, demos and that gimmicky “home” thing I think it would be a nice move to charge for “extra functionalities”.

    Also, this move was kinda predicted and they where just waiting for the console itself have a good consumer base to make it, something that will probably happen in the near future, but OBVIOUSLY, not before Christmas since they are not morons.

  • No no no, it would NOT be fair to charge for PSN. It is not fair that Microsoft charges for Live. Sony and Microsoft do not host servers for any games, only running the matchmaking. If a company tried to do this on an open platform like the PC, no one would use the service, but the only reason why Microsoft and Sony can get away with it is because there is no competing service on their platform.

    • ChaosAngelZero says:

      Actually Microsoft does own their servers. If you don’t use Live you can’t play online unless you resort to unofficial servers (pirate stuff et al) or the game’s developer provides its own, along with its own fee (Square Enix and Final Fantasy XI, and I assume it’ll be the exact same thing with the PS3 and Final Fantasy XIV).

  • Ah.

    Sony is adding you-pay-extra-for “premium” content.

    Then, down the road, the “free” stuff is diminished in quantity and/or quality, thus “encouraging” consumers to pay fees for the “good” stuff.

    Bait-and-switch.

    What’s your _effective_ recourse with Sony here? None.

    Don’t make a deal with the Devil unless you can whip his ass when he tries to cheat you with sweet-talk and lies — as he surely will, being the Devil.

  • …….. I thought they denied this already…

    If they’re ever gonna charge it’s for the premium stuffs like netflix etc….

    Playing online I doubt it.. It’s the only thing that separates them from XBL….

    • They completely stopped adding titles and never fixed the “playable” games. That in my mind is much worse. Do a little digging and you can find a PS3 with BC, but the 360 is stuck with having a small list of titles that work properly, with the rest having glitches galore, despite their list of BC games saying they work.

  • Thank you Xbox Live. The main problem is that PSN free service was a part of Playstation selling point against Xbox. Who does want free? Xbox user don’t! As they keep paying month after month and keep talking about how “COOL” it is. Look at the amount of money Xbox is making off of Xbox Live alone. Playstation see a major very easy cost cow. Please, server cost is pretty cheap to maintain if you really not moving gigs of data.

    Stupid Xbox user. Why do you hate FREE so much?!?!?

    • Having both PSN and XBL subscriptions I have to say XBL is better because it has more features and lower latency. The only thing I don’t like about XBL is that there seems to a lot of more kids than on PSN. XBL Gold only cost like 4 bucks a month. That’s like going to work without a coffee once a month. It’s still a lot cheaper than WOW.

  • It sucks, but it’s not unreasonable. Servers do cost money, and apparently at the moment that cash is forked out by the gaming companies who place things on PSN for download.

    That said, I’m hoping they keep that method, I really don’t want to pay anything more…

  • Everything PSN offers for free right now will remain free, even the online play. Burry your heads in the sand so that you can get your laugh at the Sony crowd, they’re still going to have free online.

    I actually applaud Sony for doing whatever they can to keep their online play free.

    • What he speak is the truth. It was already announced that they will keep Netflix and online gaming free. But make another premium sort of account, which will probably get in game chat, and help pay for better network stuff. I just hope it is gonna be 20 bucks a year. Or if maybe Sony feels nice…10 bucks ;D

  • Waaaahhhh…Goooooood. Please boycott PS3 and XBoX Live, and switch over to PC. Get a life…Consoles are a thing in the past, and we must live on to the future of using PCs to do multi-tasking work and gaming for us. Re-live on the PC gamings you consoles Suckerzzzz!!!

    • “SCE will further increase sales by offering users new entertainment through the combination of hardware, software, peripheral, and PlayStation Network,” Hirai said in a statement given to British outlets, such as CVG. “Especially in the online area, we are studying the possibility of introducing a subscription model, offering premium content and services, IN ADDITION TO THE CURRENT FREE SERVICES.”

    • ChaosAngelZero says:

      Well, as a matter of fact 360s have effectively stopped “RRoDing” since a year or so ago (it isn’t precisely the kind of stuff the manufacturer would officially proclaim, you know), so…

  • Regular play and store acces will remain free.
    What they are discussing is a expansion to qore where you can get exclusive trailers/demos/news if you have a subscription.

    Besides it would not even be legal to start charging this late in the lifecycle after advertising the PS3 as having free online play .

    • Well i’m certain that people would have eagerly payed 5$ a month to get theyr hands on GoW3, MAG, uncharted 2, MGS4, LBP demos

      That expanded with exclusive game footage available nowhere else (till its ripped from PSN afcourse :P)

      I would be interested.

      • ChaosAngelZero says:

        But you should have it for free… and I take it that indeed, game demos are free on PSN. Maybe you could pay four or five bucks a month, then have downloadable contents free of charge (but requiring the paid subscription) rather than free “basic online” and having to pay for every goddamn disc contents fuckers like NBGI lock in their games until you’ve paid them the extra.

    • ChaosAngelZero says:

      “Exclusive trailers/demos/news“? That’s not precisely fee-worthy material… all that stuff is always free on Live (literally free, you can access all that with a silver subscription and without paying any other fees at all), save for stuff like multiplayer betas of Halo games.

  • Something like this won’t be done for a good while, you can’t simple say ‘okay!! were tad bit low on money so you have to pay to play’ and then put it on the very next day. If this does happen it will probably be introduced over a long period of time.

    Probably stuff on PSN that was free will become charged, certain content or something, I don’t have a PS3 so I don’t know exactly.

  • Sony already addressed this weeks ago. What we currently have (Online gaming, Home, demos and misc. videos) will remain free. Sony is looking to add a premium service along side this; an optional upgrade that will have newer features on top of what we already enjoy. This will include their new music service and whatever else they may have in store.

    • Not samefag, but I’m citing this reference in support of his claim:

      “SCE will further increase sales by offering users new entertainment through the combination of hardware, software, peripheral, and PlayStation Network,” Hirai said in a statement given to British outlets, such as CVG. “Especially in the online area, we are studying the possibility of introducing a subscription model, offering premium content and services, IN ADDITION TO THE CURRENT FREE SERVICES.”

  • drunkspiderman667 says:

    ive already read extensively about this and most all the features available now will still be available. this is only pretaining to rental services and the like. playing a games online component will still be free unless the games makers decide they want to charge. case in point would be mmos.

  • well, this is pretty much a disappointment, free online gaming is one of the factors that drives people to buy the ps3 but if they start charging then they better have some amazing games coming out next year that requires being online

  • paying for online on the ps3 will mean the death of online gaming for the system. for a lot of people this is one of the main reasons why they choose ps3 over the xbox360. If sony does eventually go through with this, they have successfully dropped the ball.

  • If this particular rumor is true then I would agree with whoever brought up the fact that it would be one of the dumbest moves Sony would pull in the whole console war. If rumor is false then the comment about the extra payment for extra features would be okay.. Assuming extra features doesn’t imbalance certain things,the worst case scenario would be OP MP.

  • They just started recovering the cost it took to make the !@$! things and now they are actually starting to make profit…

    SO why not hit everyone in the world hard! Hahahaha… DO like Like Microsoft! Sooooooo Smart, glad I never bought one. Good luck PS3 Followers.

  • I don’t understand where these supposed costs are coming from. PC matchmaking services like Gamespy and Steam having been doing this for free forever. Suddenly these giant companies can’t afford it? These companies that don’t just matchmake, but also have a giant revenue stream from their storefront services? Do you mean to tell me that the X-box’s 10,000 ads I have to sift through to get to different things on their home screen can’t pay for it?

    This shit doesn’t add up – just seems like more of a cash grab to me.

    • No shit? The number one thing companies like, and investors especially like, is money. If they can get away with it, they will. As Xbox Live has shown, they can get away with it easily. It’s free money.

      • Exactly. If the stupid fucks that own an X-Box 360 had objected and didn’t pay for it then other companies wouldn’t be doing it. But since the fools had no problems the other companies saw that people are idiots that will pay no matter what so why not take there money.

  • If paying to play online becomes the de-facto way of doing business on consoles, then I consider my PS2 to be the last console I buy. EVER. I was never gonna by an Xbox and now it seems I won’t be picking up a PS3 either. Shame, I was looking for an excuse to buy one too.

    • ChaosAngelZero says:

      May I ask you what’s the difference between not being able to download or play multiplayer games online at all (PlayStation 2, all official servers are dead and buried), and having the choice of doing it or not depending on a very reasonable fee? (if you take the year-long Live subscription it’ll be just 4 bucks per month, even trailer rednecks can afford that.)

    • Don’t worry, if it becomes a de-facto way of doing business on consoles, it won’t be long before it becomes the de-facto way of doing business on the PC also. And as Blizzard has shown, you can sue anyone who codes or runs a server emulator that doesn’t do proper CD-key checking.

  • Again with this nonsense rumors. Sony has already told that stock meeting what their plans where and basic online would still be free what we have but they will offer more service that will start charging. I don’t maybe like renting PSN games.

      • No he’s right the subscription fee’s are definately the main argument point for ps3. The reason is for 360 owners, in the long run, RROD is a good thing because it basically gaurantees the person a free repair because RROD became fully covered. I wish for my 360 to RROD on me everyday just so it saves me buying a new 360, BTW i’ve had it RROD once and had the same 360 since it was released.

        The failure rate is just an arguement winner for ps3 in terms of company sales, not the fanboys themseleves. I own a ps3 and 360 though but whilst im prepared to pay for the 360 online, unless ps3 introduces voice chat all round any time like the 360 has then i won’t pay for ps3 subscription.

  • The inevitable has happened. However, only if the quality of service and maintenance is reflected in the pricing will if be successful. Sony better take notes from the only thing their competition can do w/ a lower failure rate.

    • i hope most of you have realized this but the CTO guy was just describing the different feature and items and such on PSN and the different payment schemes that go with those. in no way did the CTO say that PSN would at all be switching, it doesn’t even have a phrase in there that saying anything along those lines, i think that most people saw the subscription fee line and thought the worse and assumed PSN would be switch when the evidence shows the contrary.

      • idiots read the full details elsewhere. everything that PS3 has now like free online play (Modern warfare 2,Killzone 2) will still be free. It is other features that will cost. So no, do not love your 360 more (not like you ever did because he’s cheating on you with wii)

      • It’s not as though they’ve already implimented this change. Whether people have a 360 or a PS3, you’d still have to pay to play. Just cross your fingers, hope they don’t charge, and enjoy the (free) wealth while we got it.

      • ‘I was about to buy a PS3’…

        First, if you really wanted a PS3 why don’t you have it yet? Was it really less appealing $200 ago? Maybe you don’t really want it that much?

        Second, if an Xbox Live-esque fee is whats stopping you from getting a PS3, maybe you don’t have the disposable income required to be buying one in the first place. Maybe you should be saving that money?

        Go outside and do some sports and get laid.

        • Sure why wouldn’t they do it. Since they saw the idiots on the X-Box side payed with no objections they saw that they can make there own pay and also get away with it since people seem to be a bunch of fools.

        • There’s a lot of games that aren’t released on PC that are on console that I’d like to play. There’s also a lot that have much delayed releases on PC. I guess if you just want the big name shooters you’re covered as far as games that are on console are concerned. My PC & PS3 combo covers me pretty well, but again, PC is just for those shooter games. I guess I’ll play AC2 because I’m not going to pay for it but that is one of those large delay games.

        • First Posting Idiot says:

          I think this is a good idea, so long as they don’t force you into a premium subscription for basic features like Xbox live does.

          When you take into account how much running a network like PSN (or xbox live) actually costs, this could free up Sony’s wallet for other things.

        • ‘I wouldn’t exactly count the PC as a good alternative to play current-gen console games even though I dearly love it.’

          Huh? I don’t see any reason why the PC would NOT be a good choice for playing current-gen console games. The PC gaming market has for the most part stayed completely separate from the console market until recently, more games are becoming tied closer to console-style than before. It is actually one of the reasons so many ‘PC Gamers’ are reluctant to buy games, as so many games are ported from consoles the performance sometimes suffers.

          For the most part – if you have good hardware, games will always be better on PC. Assassins creed ran better on my PC as a console port, than it did on my PS3. Nicer graphics, smoother gameplay, and if you’re into controllers, Xbox360 fits fine. Consoles are only focused on because it’s EASIER to buy a console than building your own gaming PC, or buying an insane priced gaming PC.

        • LOL Sony quality for you, down the price of the console to introduce subscription fee’s, I knew there would be a catch somewhere along the line, and people fell for it hook line and sinker. Think about it, PS3 slim sold like mad, and now all those new ps3 slim owners will be paying a subscription, which will ultimately make up for their price cut anyway. It’s genius, but makes them assholes in the process.

        • Here here… PC is still limited on the games… and the menus are getting cut off the display for some games on HDTV’s… Fixing that the best I can or sacrifice the HD quality.. makes a difference!

          Love my PC games so dearly, still GOT FF7! And everyone is crying for FF7 for their PS3.