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Sony's New Plans May Include A "Stripped Down" Network

With Sony reporting record losses and looking to their gaming business to recover, many are wondering what changes we might see...

The company has already said they plan to "increase sales by enriching its catalog of downloadable game titles and subscription services available through the PSN platform."

That statement has been oft-discussed; many have wondered if the all-free Network might be taken away. We already have the premium service, PlayStation Plus, but maybe Sony needs to move towards a standard paid subscription for everyone like Xbox Live. Wedbush Securities' Michael Pachter had this to say:

"I think it's unlikely that they will require a fee, but think they will strip down the free version to multiplayer and not much else in order to encourage people to pay the fee."

M2 Research analyst Billy Pidgeon echoed that theory-

"Providing networked services for online gaming is not inexpensive, and charging for these services would help Sony defray those costs. I think Sony would best benefit by continuing to build out on the currently employed freemium model, charging for enhanced, tiered and incremental items, services and add-ons to add value to the online gaming experience."

Pidgeon added that Sony "should also move quickly to shift paid content other than gaming to the network." There's little doubt that a free PSN is one of the PlayStation brand's most alluring features, but there's also no doubt that mandatory Xbox Live subscriptions rake in plenty of profit for Microsoft. The question is if Sony does decide to "strip down" the free Network access to encourage people to pay for a higher-level subscription, what exactly would we lose...?

Tags: sony, scea, psn, playstation network, gaming industry

4/13/2012 8:18:56 PM John Shepard

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Comments (47 posts)

Temjin001
Friday, April 13, 2012 @ 10:01:02 PM
Reply

I think it unlikely they'll take anything away. I fully expect them to enhance the value of PSN plus. Cloud saves, for one, is a step in the right direction for that. And seeing that Qore is on its way out I suppose something else is on its way in.

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Killa Tequilla
Friday, April 13, 2012 @ 10:44:20 PM

Since launch... They have been stripping our ps3s to the bone!

Agree with this comment 9 up, 14 down Disagree with this comment

Temjin001
Saturday, April 14, 2012 @ 11:19:11 AM

To the bone as in larger hard drives, added Dual Shock 3, less noisy cooling system, faster CELL chip, at less than half the price to the bone?

I know. I miss BC too. But it hasn't all been sour lemons you know.


... And no one misses the flash card inputs or third and fourth USB ports so don't go there ;)

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Helghast
Saturday, April 14, 2012 @ 1:11:16 PM

I would have to agree with most of what you said, however I have a phat PS3 and I often use the third and fourth USB ports. It's more of a luxury than a necessity, but I would certainly miss them if I hat to move to a slim.

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Palpatations911
Saturday, April 14, 2012 @ 5:32:16 PM

Removed "Custom OS" option, even on the fat PS3.

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manofchao5
Sunday, April 15, 2012 @ 8:47:37 PM

I think they should offer the cloud saving not only as a package of ps plus but separately to people who just want a back-up system of their saves, for like say $1-2 / month and make it possible to use the saves on another ps3 with your account temporarily activated
should rain in some additional sales

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Highlander
Monday, April 16, 2012 @ 9:54:53 AM

I knew some linux person would have to cry over OtherOS again. But then since to was OtherOS that was used as a hacking vector to crack the system, I think you're unlikely to find much sympathy these days.

Incidentally, they didn't remove OtherOS, you did. They provided you an option to remove OtherOS or keep it. Granted keeping other OS was going to be at the expense of future PSN use, but it was still a choice that you made. Keeping your PS3 at the firmware revision that still supported Other OS did not restrict your use of anything you had already purchased. But still the point is they offered a choice, not an easy choice, but it was still a choice between keeping OtherOS and keeping PSN capability.

Last edited by Highlander on 4/16/2012 9:57:47 AM

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richfiles
Monday, April 16, 2012 @ 1:38:57 PM

Hmm. They stripped out Backwards Compatibility. I'd LOVE to buy a new slim to upgrade my old phat. I see so many yellow lights on the old ones and it's making me paranoid! I'd pay extra for the BC feature... But no, they stripped that out.

Oh, there's also the fact that I have an ancient Mac form 2004. I used to have a very powerful 3.2 GHz computer in my house... It ran Ubuntuu Linux, and It even ran software my ancient old Mac faltered on...

I used to run Linux like some of you, but then I took a firmware patch to the PS3.

They stripped out the card readers, which made the phat PS3 a nice media hub that could read all the cards from any media device.

They now expect you to manage a HOARD of devices with a measly 2 USB sockets now.

Also Temjin... The processor is not clocked faster on the slim. The processor uses a 45 nM process vs the phat's 90 nM process. It simply means the chip is smaller, more material and energy efficient, and doesn't generate as much heat due to the energy efficiency. That's how they can use smaller fans and keep the noise down on slims. It has nothing to do with the speed. If anything, since setting up a slim for my mother, I'd say it feels more sluggish in terms of loading than my older phat does. Heck, did they cheap out on the drive mech too?

Any claims of faster loading due to hard drive caches is pretty moot... I have an upgraded hard drive in my phat, so that point is irrelevant to me, and is user modable.

In the mean time...

I make backups of my game saves, of my HD data, and have all my vids on my computer as well. If my PS3 breaks... I WILL send it to Sony and I WILL demand a BC model in return.

Sony screwed me over bad enough with the whole Other OS thing. I don't give them any credit or trust these days. I'm still mad about it to this day. My old employer shut down, and I work 2 jobs now to make 1/3 the money. I was getting fed up with my slow computer back then. I wanted a new computer, but knew I could only afford something basic... and then came the PS3, touting it's fast processor and ability to run Linux. I was sold. Buy an OK PC, or buy a PS3 with a Linux PC, next gen gaming, and a BluRay player!

Well, I'm now down to 2 out of 3, and my computer is still slow.

Thanks Sony. I hope you had a nice smoke after you BENT ME OVER AND F@#*%D ME! <<(Do read in Cartman's voice, please :)

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richfiles
Monday, April 16, 2012 @ 2:04:22 PM

@TheHighlander

LIES!!!

Sony has brainwashed you well.
Sony got away with perjury in two separate court rooms when they contradicted them selves to favor the two separate ongoing cases (the case against George Hotz for Jailbreaking the PS3, and the case defending Sony against the lawsuit over the removal of Other OS). If only the two could have shared their info when it was still relevant.

George used a CPLD with custom programming, soldered directly onto the PS3's motherboard, to spy on the data being requested and read out of the memory chip containing the firmware. He monitored the bitstream that gave the signed root key that allowed Game OS to begin booting. He found a means of using a form of memory overflow to rewrite code in memory to alter this and allow the jailbreak.

THIS HAS NOTHING... N.O.T.H.I.N.G to do with Other OS!!!

Sony does not like Other OS for ONE reason.

It makes Sony no money, while keeping PS3 users away from revenue generating PSN content. Sony used an excuse (Lie and call it a blanket security risk, so removal will not be questioned by commerce law, by lying and claiming it's for "security") to justify removing it without falling under bait and switch laws, or other consumer protection laws. They have armies of lawyers for a reason.

Other OS gave people a well featured computer for $500-600 that cost Sony over $800 to build. When you use Other OS, you are not logged into PSN. You do not see Sony's what's new thing, you don't have the option of playing Sony licensed games or BluRay movies, You can't play rented video content, or use Sony's music service, or play DLC games or demos to promote retail purchases.

Sony saw an opportunity to end the free ride, and not get in trouble for it.

The second stage of firmware hacks were aimed at restoring Other OS to machines while allowing PSN log in.

There was also a desire to get what Sony promised users of Other OS. Sony disabled portions of the hardware to prevent Linux from having the full power of the PS3. Access to the root key would have allowed the creation of firmware that would have given Linux users a full powered Linux computer.

This is probably the point Sony tried to construe into an in for piracy.

That was a lie.

This would have meant Linux could run all 7 Cell cores, and the PPC core, and the graphics chip, and been able to access the BD... You know... Like any NORMAL PC made with the same parts.

They claimed this would allow one to pirate PS3 games and run them, but the truth is, you NEED Sony's Game OS to execute those PS3 titles. Linux =/= Game OS, and the claim was rather absurd. It was the lie Sony used in the courts to kill Other OS. The existence of Linux doesn't change the fact, that if you REALLY want to use the root key for piracy, you would use it in Game OS mode with custom firmware, and not in Other OS mode.

It's a STUPID claim...

Don't fall for it people!

As for Sony giving us a choice... No, they didn't. They told us... You paid for a Game/Movie/Online/Computer... We are NOT going to refund you, but you have to give up Computer to keep Game/Movie/Online, or you have to give up Game/Movie/Online to keep Computer.

It was stealing. Sony deprived me of something I paid for, and I will never forgive them for that.

Robber busts into your home. I'm gonna steal your entire entertainment center, your jewelry, and all your valuables, but let you keep your computer... Or if you let me take that computer, I'll let you keep the rest.

The thief is still wrong to do so! That's not a choice, though! It's a threat.

Sony did nothing different. They just had enough lawyers to get away with robbing me.

"Grand Theft Linux: The Ballad of Gay Sony"

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Highlander
Friday, April 13, 2012 @ 10:04:35 PM
Reply

So, this from Pachter... "I think it's unlikely that they will require a fee, but think they will strip down the free version to multiplayer and not much else in order to encourage people to pay the fee."

OK, but exactly what services do we currently get through PSN other than free online play, that are free? I mean seriously, that's the biggie here, everything else, all content and services are pay services. Oh, OK, you can PM each other and there are text channels, but no one will pay for things like that, they're too basic. There really isn't much to pair down in terms of services you could somehow charge up for. That was kind of the point of PS Plus.

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shadowscorpio
Friday, April 13, 2012 @ 10:43:25 PM

Right. I can't believe Sony hasn't profited from Plus. I eventually bought my subscription and I intend to renew. I believe someone said earlier that cloud saves were a step in the right direction by Sony with plus. I have to agree.

I tend to back up what saved on my harddrive a lot but you can never predict when it gonna crash. Having cloud saves are an extra back up as well as a safe one.

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Beamboom
Saturday, April 14, 2012 @ 1:27:09 AM

Hehe exactly, that's what I asked myself too, what *can* they remove from it if they leave multiplayer gaming. He must think it contains much more than it actually does.

That they will ADD features with the ps4 though, and that those features are found to come with a subscription fee, now that we must prepare ourselves for. But this non-charged network access for core things like multiplayer really is a sales pitch, so I sincerely hope they don't mess this up with making everything but the store subscription only...!



Last edited by Beamboom on 4/14/2012 1:32:13 AM

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Highlander
Saturday, April 14, 2012 @ 5:43:52 AM

Exactly Beamboom, I said something similar to some friends tonight. Look at the extra features/capabilities of the Vita and PS4 and you will have an idea of the new service that may come up.

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Draguss
Sunday, April 15, 2012 @ 8:07:00 PM

Home is probably the only thing they could move to plus. I doubt they will, but they'll probably add some sort of premium home services to it.

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Highlander
Monday, April 16, 2012 @ 9:47:56 AM

Home already has premium services, there's no way on earth that Home will move to a fee based access, it's already a micro-transaction driven freemium monster. But games like the ones by Lockwood in Sodium 1 and Sodium 2, plus the many others in Home, show that there are both paid games and free to play games that are financed through micro transactions. Home will never become a premium service that you must pay to access.

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Killa Tequilla
Friday, April 13, 2012 @ 10:45:44 PM
Reply

Dont mind paying as long as I get double the current PSN quality.

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gray_eagle
Friday, April 13, 2012 @ 11:12:13 PM
Reply

i'm thinking, pay to play online (mp)

not sure how well that would go over with mp gamers though.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, April 13, 2012 @ 11:23:41 PM

It would piss them right off. But it's not as though they could say "I'm taking my business to Microsoft because they don't make you pay".

Dick moves like that just aren't Sony's thing though thankfully.

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 4/13/2012 11:24:48 PM

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Phoenix
Saturday, April 14, 2012 @ 1:22:55 AM

Perhaps they'll take a page from MS book and start a tier system, were only lesser games are free, and you need to subscribe to play the bigger titles.


Either way, not good news from sony. I've always wondered when sony was going to drop the free network.... I hate to say it, but yet another reason for me to just stick with PC.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, April 14, 2012 @ 2:53:06 AM

Settle down Phoenix, this is an independent analyst's opinion not a Sony confirmation. Those guys are wrong a lot.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, April 13, 2012 @ 11:23:20 PM
Reply

Like Highlander said, what the hell else is there? There's Home, but that has stuff you can buy, the network has stuff you can buy, it's already 90% for multiplayer. Ah, whatever.

I am a PSPlus member, but it's because it has been forced on me, and it could be forced on the rest of you too. So long as games protect their saves, ardent gamers with multiple consoles need that stupid cloud.

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Lord carlos
Saturday, April 14, 2012 @ 12:05:47 AM
Reply

As long as i can play online for free i'm happy.
And a happy gamer is more likely to buy games than a pi$$ed off one!

Last edited by Lord carlos on 4/14/2012 12:06:48 AM

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Laguna
Saturday, April 14, 2012 @ 1:20:29 AM
Reply

things just keep getting bleaker and bleaker.

I have a gold subscription to LIVE. It really boggled me at first.

I forgot 360 needed paid service to be able to play online cause I was so used to Ps3.

I really hope sony won't trim down our benefits.

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LowKey
Saturday, April 14, 2012 @ 2:49:52 AM
Reply

UGGGHHH!!! Seriously, WTF? I can't deal with this crap... I pay nearly $70 for a game already. Sony is really wearing on my patience... Waaa were not making a trillion dollars. Suck it up. Maybe if everything not related to gaming that you produce wasn't poop u wouldn't be taking a hit financially... their other products suck and we have to pay for it? Their ass is sucking air if they think I am putting up with this crap.

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Highlander
Saturday, April 14, 2012 @ 5:45:32 AM

Sony is wearing on your patience because an industry analyst with a reputation for the dramatic, started a rumor about pay services on PSN? Sheesh, you must have really thin patience...

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AcHiLLiA
Saturday, April 14, 2012 @ 10:16:35 AM

Settle down LowKey and take a chill pill.

Last edited by AcHiLLiA on 4/14/2012 10:16:55 AM

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DazeOfWar
Saturday, April 14, 2012 @ 10:29:13 AM

How is Sony so bad. Hell MS has been charging for Live since it started. So you're paying to play after paying for a game.

So if Sony starts charging to play games online where are you going to go?

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LowKey
Saturday, April 14, 2012 @ 6:27:42 PM

and usually rumors start with some truth to them. Remember the ps3 slim? all I'm sayin is that I'm not paying for their screw ups. A I'm already ready to call it quits with all this "premium" crap flying around. These companies keep u paying for the same game over and over again. whether its for monthly subscriptions or outrageously priced DLC and you guys are putting me on the chopping block because I have the balls to speak against it? Seem we as consumers should be sticking together. Maybe I do need to chill a bit but I am a very blunt and to the point man. When something irks me I gotta say something about it and after 5 years of "knowing" each other you should know this about me.

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BikerSaint
Saturday, April 14, 2012 @ 7:28:14 AM
Reply

Well, as far as I can tell, the only thing that Sony could possibly take away from us was the Qore on-line Magazine in PS+.

Unfortunately, they've just done so, and this month's issue will be the final one.


BTW, if you're a PS+ member, make sure you D/L this final months Qore, because as a farewell present, Sony's giving away to everyone for free, "Qore Arcade" which is 11 games that have been featured in Qore over it's digital lifespan.

"R.I.P. Qore, I'm gonna miss you"

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___________
Saturday, April 14, 2012 @ 7:52:27 AM
Reply

oh bull sh*t!!!!!!!!!
no freaking way in hell $ony is going to strip down the PSN features if you refuse to pay a fee!
seriously, that would be shooting themselves in both feet and cutting both arms off!
$ony are stupid, but there not THAT stupid!

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Robochic
Saturday, April 14, 2012 @ 9:25:57 AM
Reply

theres really nothing to do on PSN to get rid of things, this dude talks out his A$$

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DazeOfWar
Saturday, April 14, 2012 @ 10:37:45 AM
Reply

There is a few things that could be changed. Like Netflix or the Amazon app. On the 360 you have to have a paid Live subscription to use the services on top of paying for them. Sony could do this too.

Sony just needs to make Plus even more enticing for people who don't have it yet. Maybe make the cloud bigger, change the free minis to movie rentals, add more customization to the XMB like font color and style or using different parts of themes to make a custom theme. Being able to sort the download history would also be a great feature. I know some of these probably should be there no matter what but it's stuff I'm pretty sure people would like.

If Sony did start charging for PSN I would hope it would be a combined package with Plus and not something seperate.

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BlueJelloXIII
Saturday, April 14, 2012 @ 10:44:38 AM

We were thinking and typing the same things. Hahaha

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DazeOfWar
Saturday, April 14, 2012 @ 10:48:43 AM

That's funny. They do say great minds think alike, haha

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BlueJelloXIII
Saturday, April 14, 2012 @ 10:42:40 AM
Reply

Let's not forget that the 360 REQUIRES a paid subscription to use programs like Netflix or vudu or those type of things. Where you not only have to pay for the service, but also Xbox live just to use them. Sony currently allows people access to that for just the cost of the service ($8 for Netflix, ect..). They could require plus to use those features and/or the browser or their music service. I hope they do not, but it is those features that micro$oft profits on just by making them available. I've been incredibly happy with my plus membership which I've had since day one. It's nice to get some free games every month when money is a little tight. I feel they've really rewarded their plus customers. Just my opinion though. Thanks.

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DazeOfWar
Saturday, April 14, 2012 @ 12:26:30 PM

Somebody didn't like our comments. haha

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BlueJelloXIII
Sunday, April 15, 2012 @ 12:18:27 AM

I guess not. We're not even allowed to comment on thinking alike. Bad us.

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kraygen
Saturday, April 14, 2012 @ 3:25:25 PM
Reply

My bet would be that rather than trying to find things to remove from the free service, Sony would try to find ways to improve plus so that more people will subscribe to it.

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Palpatations911
Saturday, April 14, 2012 @ 5:36:02 PM
Reply

Sony is struggling BIG TIME right now. Why in the world would they want to push users away by stripping them of features?

I've already got a Samsung 3D blu ray player and have no reason not to retire this and buy a 720. After all, PS4 won't be compatible with ANYTHING digital i have purchased in the past.

Seriously, Sony. Get it together.

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LowKey
Saturday, April 14, 2012 @ 6:31:44 PM
Reply

I say strip away all the unnecessary icons on the XMB. Make that the fee. to have all those icons on there. people are dumb enough to pay for that haha.

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ethird1
Sunday, April 15, 2012 @ 2:35:55 AM
Reply

You know, many times you see articles like these that are placed all over the internet to get reactions from the public and then companies will act upon them.

Anybody who listens to Patcher knows he is all about the bucks. But he is completely insane if he thinks the majority of gamers are going to pay 50 bucks a year for the right to buy videogames online. Really? Do you want a reason for everyone to just stop playing consoles and play PC? Let Sony do this and watch the flock flee from them. A very important reason people left the xbox is because of the free online play.

Microsoft caters to a certain crowd, that being anyone with tons of mula. They dont care about solo gamers or people who do not want to pay for the right to buy other games online or play online games. They seem fine with that.

Maybe Sony is going that way too. If so, I can promise you Nintendo wont do it and they will be the go to console.

Know how AT&T nickles and dimes ya ta death for every little thing they do for yas? Looks like the gaming companies are doing the same.

Years ago you would have never seen so many company ass kisses, like many here, that agree with anything a company says. Used games are bad? Many here agree with that. All games should be 100 dollars because the developers say so? There are, so sadly, some here who agree with that too.

But, again, this entire article may be just something to post because there was nothing else to post or perhaps a plant for Sony to see what is going on. Either way, I hope people scorn this.

Oh. New poster btw. Hi.





Last edited by ethird1 on 4/15/2012 2:37:54 AM

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Qubex
Sunday, April 15, 2012 @ 10:49:18 PM
Reply

Stripped down network? That would be sad even though it is pretty "stripped" down as it is. For most things you have to pay anyway, except for online play... if they force me to pay for that I may be looking elsewhere for my entertainment.

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

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Highlander
Monday, April 16, 2012 @ 9:51:04 AM

The point of course being that there is nothing to strip down, and Pachter is talking out of his arse again.

Sony already runs the PSN as a very effective freemium service with the basic services free, and most everything else paid for. When PS4 arrives, along with Vita, I expect that cross game chat will be a premium service, for example. But with all such services there is the lure to get you on the network, and then the paid options for added features. So basic play is free, but other features such as cloud based saves are not. If you want to move that Vita game save to your PS3/PS4 via the cloud, you're gonna have to pay.

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Devil_Dante
Sunday, April 15, 2012 @ 10:55:42 PM
Reply

I'll laugh if they do what Microsoft does and make you pay for online multiplayer. Never again will I have to hear Sony fanboys using that as ammunition to make fun of the 360.

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BikerSaint
Monday, April 16, 2012 @ 9:44:20 AM

Well, that's the difference between just fanboys & true gamers.

Fan-boys will always laugh at the other console players misfortune.

True gamers feel bad if anything's taken away from other gamers, no matter what the console.
And with 46 consoles & handhelds in my collection so far, I'd be one of those who'd feel bad for other gamers too.

So tell us, which one are you????

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SaiyanSempai
Monday, April 16, 2012 @ 2:21:00 AM
Reply

It would be hard for sony to start charging for something that they have been giving their users for free for so long. the outcry and backlash would be monumental! Just look what happened to Netflix.

It doesn't matter that Sony is in the red and it would be financially irresponsible to continue to privide such costly services for free, but I think it's too late to go back on that now.

Providing more paid content would be the way to go at this point. And I think Sony knows this too...at least, they should.

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Gravelight
Wednesday, April 18, 2012 @ 2:31:30 AM
Reply

Maybe by "strip down psn" he was referring to the ps store getting an overhaul hopefully. Because after paying 59.99 for a game, 9.99 each for 3-4 add-ons, and 29.99 or greater for internet; they STILL want to charge more. I call bluff on this guy, there's no reason for it. No one's gonna pay extra for the ability to use video services on it either when you can always use netflix and other apps on pc for free, so that's out of the question. PS Plus IS the Premium service that PlayStation utilizes and the song will remain the same, period. Now, there could possibly be new features that cost $$$ to use that sony may add later and maybe even a new way to interact with the games other than playing them. I know he's saying take away everything except mp to get ppl to buy the game's dlc, but it wouldn't help. If a game sucks, no one's gonna buy it OR the dlc no matter how they define either one. Just make really good games, don't even think about dlc until lots of ppl have played the game and everyone chooses if they like it or not. Give ppl the chance to get a pay check before blasting them with all this high dollar dlc. If the developers make good games they should get paid good. If it's not what they had hoped to make off the game, then try again with a new game. That meant not a lot of ppl liked it, or it costed too much to begin with. Come on ppl these are only GAMES, things we PLAY with, we're not creating life support systems here we're trying to have fun without getting out and blowing ALL our money. nuff said, PEACE!

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