Sony To Charge Everyone For PSN Subscription?
Updated: April Fool's a little early from PS3Clan...and it's gutsy - or just plain stupid - to quote Kaz when it's a lie. Sony might get upset. Anyway, y'all know by now but we still need to update, of course.
Sony has often said that although they are planning a Premium subscription service for the PlayStation Network, the basic membership will always remain free. But big business has a way of changing that outlook.
We know the Premium service is coming later this year, although we haven't seen any official plans or details just yet. However, Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Kaz Hirai may have dropped a bomb we weren't expecting: according to European site PS3Clan, his latest statements say that if you wish to remain a PSN subscriber, you'll have to pay...no matter what. Most of that article through the link is in Dutch but it's the English translation of Hirai's comments that will turn plenty of heads and ruffle a few feathers:
"We are confident the Premium service will differentiate the PSN further from other online services. With the new functionalities the PSN will offer the most complete online experience possible. SCE will further increase sales by offering users new entertainment through the combination of software and the PSN. New functionalities as ‘cross game chat’ and Facebook connectivity, are part of our ambition to grow towards a profitable position.
However, to increase revenues further, we are forced to charge a subscription fee to all PSN users, instead of offering Premium services as an optional subscription. I cannot comment in depth at this time but we are looking at $60 to $80 a year. In return, the full Premium services package will be available to anyone without additional subscription fees. The Premium service will be available in the third quarter of this year for everyone to enjoy."
Of course, it could be a screwy translation but that doesn't really seem likely. It appears they toyed with the idea of an optional Premium subscription but perhaps they were worried that wouldn't bring in enough revenue; hence, they decided upon simply charging everyone a certain fee like Microsoft does for their Xbox Live service. Perhaps they don't need the "free online" benefit to sell PS3s these days but current users likely won't be too happy about the new cost. Then again, one can definitely make an argument that the Network has not only caught but surpassed Live in many areas. Is that not worth $60 to $80 per year?
Well, we're not sure. We'll have to see how Sony responds to this and it'll also be interesting to see the widespread gamer response...
3/29/2010 8:58:25 PM Ben Dutka