During the 6 minute destruction of Microsoft’s DRM policy at the Sony Press Conference on Monday; Sony slipped in the news that PlayStation Plus, the paid subscription service, will be required to play online multiplayer on the PlayStation 4, much like Xbox Live Gold currently.
You could say that with the ability to rent and trade in games when compared to the Xbox One, the money you will save over the course of owning the PlayStation 4 will amount to much more than the $5 a month for PS+. Whilst this is true it does not mean that is a good thing, they have put a major feature of gaming behind a paywall and that is bad. Some people do not agree with having to pay for a feature that has previously been free and many do not like being held down for months and a year at a time.
Sony has responded with the following: “In order to support the addition of the new features, such as the share functionality for example, and to improve the underlying base of what PlayStation Network delivers, to give it a better experience for gamers, we need to invest in that.”
This seems like a reasonable business decision, maybe they regretted making the multiplayer on the PS3 free when they saw how much money it took to maintain and how profitable Xbox Live was.
Cleverly they have coupled the price to play online with the already amazing PlayStation Plus, which nets users free games each month as long as they keep subscribing to the service, PS+ has offered amazing value in the PS3 and it seems that trend will continue onto the PS4, Sony have already announced the subscribers will get a ‘free’ PS4 game each month, starting with Drive Club: PS Plus Edition.
Here is a description of what Drive Club: PS Plus Edition contains: “The single-player experience is all there in the PlayStation Plus version. The only thing that we’re limiting you on is content, and that content is cars and tracks.”
Even though it is not a full version of the game it still seems like a very good deal for the $5 and sets a great precedent for the future, just this week for the PS3 with PS+ you get Uncharted 3 and Xcom: Enemy Unknown so we know the service has the ability to provide quality.
There’s even more good news, unlike with Xbox Gold, even if you don’t have the subscription service you can still access streaming services such as Netflix, which is a massive deal and another blow against Microsoft. Here’s how Sony describe it: “While there is a charge in place there, there’s a lot that a PS4 can do without a PlayStation Plus subscription. For example, they can still access all of the social features of PS4, they can still access movie services and catch-up TV services”
Additionally one PlayStation Plus subscription covers your PS3, PS4 and PS Vita, so if you have all of those you are getting an insane amount of ‘free’ content.
Overall it sucks that we now have to pay for online on the PlayStation 4, that was a big selling point for the PS3 and I’m sure a major reason why people chose that system over the Xbox 360, but at the end of the day they are offering a fantastic service on top of that that fully justifies the price. you could say that you’d be crazy not to get PS+ even if the online was going to be free.
But hey, at least there’s no DRM, eh?
Let me know in the comments what you think about having to pay to play online on the PS4 and you opinions on the PS+ service. Cheers!