Pachter: Paid PSN Subscriptions Are Likely Inevitable
The entirely free PlayStation Network remains a big bonus for many gamers but analyst Michael Pachter believes that Sony "can't afford to be magnanimous forever."
There have been more than a few rumors concerning a potential paid subscription for the PSN and although all have proven to be false thus far, and Sony hasn't offered anything official, the whispers persist. And in speaking to Critical Gamer, the Wedbush Morgan analyst admitted that he "really can't say" what Sony's plans are, but an online charge in the near future is still inevitable. Said Pachter:
"It seems to me that online game play can bear a monthly subscription (something as affordable as $50/year)… Free online play is a good marketing tool, but I don’t often hear consumers say 'I bought a PS3 because PSN is free'… more often, I hear people say 'I bought a 360 because of Xbox Live'… Sony gives a ton of value for free, but the company isn’t so profitable that it can afford to be magnanimous forever."
His statements could raise the ire of many a PS3 fan, simply because they imply that Live is the better service and worth paying for. The Network has made great strides in the past couple of years and perhaps Pachter's comment here can be considered outdated. But at the same time, the idea of a Premium subscription service for the PSN isn't out of left field and in all probability, we'll see one before the end of the year. But that does not mean it'll be required; the widespread belief now is that it will be optional for users.
But maybe not. Maybe Sony believes they've gained equal footing with Live and can now legitimately charge for a great service and if so...well, $4 or $5/month isn't exactly crippling. Ah, but is it not the principle of the matter? Free online forever? Or are we just being spoiled?
5/7/2010 10:20:13 AM Ben Dutka