Top
1080°

The PlayStation 4; don't be surprised if it is "free" at launch

Digitally Downloaded writes: "While Sony hasn't mentioned anything with regards to pricing, if we look closely at modern technology business models, and Sony's own directions in recent years, the idea of selling the PlayStation 4 for free is not one that would surprise me if it eventuates."

Read Full Story >>
digitallydownloaded.net
The story is too old to be commented.
Christopher1299d ago

It won't be free. It will have a price tag. Gamers are not in the habit of paying an on-going subscription fee for hardware. Software/services, sure. Hardware that they can resell? No.

So, I won't be surprised that it is "free" because I know it won't be free.

jwk941299d ago

You clearly didn't read the article.

TOGC1299d ago

I read the article. It made it pretty clear...

Nitrowolf21299d ago (Edited 1299d ago )

um, I'm pretty sure he did and he pretty much summed it up.

"It's a sales model that Sony has already experimented with - I bought my PlayStation Vita that way last year. "

Seriously? I don't remember Sony going this way, I remember there was layaway and such, but nothing from Sony.

This is pretty much using a credit card in a way. There's no way it'll be free, that's just plain dumb. Sony won't be able to keep up with the demand, and no one wants to lock-in a contract for a hardware that isn't specified to a retail. The difference between Phones and this is that i can go to Verizon wireless if I can pay my contract, ect ect.

Lets not forget, Retailers buy these consoles, it's not sony selling them directly to us. When they say "Shipped" sales it means sold to retails.

Christopher1299d ago (Edited 1299d ago )

I read it

***The idea here is that, rather than buy the console for an upfront cost, Sony could consider offering a mobile phone-style contract that comes with a monthly bill. So for instance you take the PlayStation 4 home with you for free, and then pay $AU50 a month for the console and a PlayStation Plus subscription over the course of two years. ***

That's an on-going subscription fee for hardware. Meaning a few things:

1. You can't sell it to someone else because it has the contract that is tied to you and your account until you've paid the full subscription period out. It may even restrict account usage on the machine during this period of time.

2. If you decide to get rid of it early, you pay a fee.

3. You are paying for a service that you may not even need and will only increase the cost of the console itself.

4. Overall cost will equal at least 25% more, closer to 50% more, as if you had just paid for the hardware. They will want to make money in interest to make up for not getting the money in one flat sum up front.

5. Gamers are very big on the concept of 'I own it, it's mine to do with as I please' which is not going to be possible with a device like this. As it is covered by a subscription fee, there will be limitations that you will have to agree to during the subscription period that will make it impossible to do things some people normally would.

The people who buy the $99 360 consoles w/XBLive for 24 months (which are not many to say the least) are not 'gamers'. Gamers buy their hardware at a set price and use it from there. They don't like to be tied down with subscription rules and needs based on this hardware.

Don't see what else there is to understand about there not being a 'free' PS3 at release.

Yes, I know I'm generalizing gamers, but I'm doing it in an arena where I'm sure most would agree that they wouldn't want to pay more for a console just to pay it off overtime when they already are invested in a hobby with higher costs than others (and have done so through times when it was even more expensive to afford).

If you want proof of my opinion, check out a few of the response already on here. Specifically #3 and #4.

@Logicwins: It's not going to cost $25/month or anything close to that low. It's going to be priced at least 25% above MFG Retail price with a plan to make the money back within 2 years, if not sooner. Couple that with the 'service' they are providing, which currently is on its own $50/year. If they did this, it will cost upwards of $45/month using this sort of methodology. Sure, it would be neat to pay $350 for a new console on lay-away. But, the PS4 likely isn't going to cost that low to begin with. And they're going to want to make interest on the money that they are not getting up front as well.

BitbyDeath1299d ago

They've been doing stuff like this in Australia for years.

eg. https://www.optus.com.au/sh...

Christopher1299d ago

@BityByDeath: That's also in the U.S., though it's $99 to start and 24 months of XBox Live Gold subscription at some ridiculous price per month. I guarantee that the people who by that don't even comprise 5% of the market, let alone 1% in the U.S.

BitbyDeath1299d ago

Yea, i agree. It'll never take off to be only going that way as many would rather just pay and be done with it.

Even mobile phones give you the option to buy outright.

LOGICWINS1299d ago (Edited 1299d ago )

"Yea, i agree. It'll never take off to be only going that way as many would rather just pay and be done with it.

Even mobile phones give you the option to buy outright"

MOST people would rather spend $100-$200 for a smartphone and then pay $30 a month. Unless you buy prepaid, EVEN if you buy a smartphone outright($500-$700 for a decent one), you still have to pay that monthly fee for minutes, data, and text.

Two year financing is a great option for people who don't have the money to buy outright. People who usually wait two years for a price drop can buy a console at launch.

And Cgoodno, if Sony does this...it WON'T be $75 a year. Thats ludicrous. I understand how u gt to that number, but Sony would never charge that much. It'll be $200-$250 upfront, then you'll be locked into a $10-$20 a month contract for two years.

sobekflakmonkey1299d ago

Yeah, I'd much rather buy the console at a flat out price, I pay too many bills as it is, I don't want another one to remember...

guitarded771299d ago

The subscription plan is basically just poor people financing... Like Rent-A-Center. It's designed to take advantage of people who can't amass the $400 (or whatever price) to pay flat out, and also don't have good credit. So they charge a small down payment (enough to recoup any potential loss if the buyer quits paying x months in) and the HUGE price per month for the subscription to cover the rest of the console and basically a finance charge. I don't think Sony would do it... Why are we even having this discussion??? Who writes this stuff???

grailly1299d ago

while I don't think it'll be free, it would be nice to get it cheaper with a ps+ subscription. I mean, I'm going to subscribe anyway, so it would be nice to have the price off the console cut, basically, for nothing.

and if they can make an interesting gaikai subscription (something like games unlimited) I would subscribe to that to.

SilentNegotiator1299d ago (Edited 1299d ago )

It didn't do anything substantial to sales for the 360; why should Sony try it?

I think we've matured past the "oohh, cell phones are hot right now! Let's do everything that the phones do and expect the same success!" fad. Yes, cell phones are successful....as phones/mobile computers.

Then again, lots of publishers are still trying to duplicate COD and its success, so maybe I'm giving too much credit...

morganfell1299d ago

@cgoodno,

I love what you have to say except for one part.

"...they wouldn't want to pay more for a console just to pay it off overtime..."

They have actually done this for millions of consoles already. Remember the argument that the PS3 was too expensive at launch and the Xbox 360 was cheaper? Look now 7 years later how much has been paid for that cheapera ta launch Xbox. Many, many people forked over Xbox Live for 7 years, some paid for Wifi, some paid for a larger, outrageously more expensive HDD, some even paid for a HDD DVD player.

There are plenty of gamers that put over $1000 into their Xbox buying basics such as online MP and a HDD.

Quite a few people are willing to pay a ton of money in the long run for something that appears cheap up front. Places such as Rent America thrive on these types of consumers willing to pay $5000 over time for $600 worth of furniture.

While I do not think this will be Sony's only pricing model at launch I do think it will be available, if not at the premiere of the console then shortly after.

nukeitall1299d ago

@cgoodno:

"Gamers are very big on the concept of 'I own it, it's mine to do with as I please' which is not going to be possible with a device like this."

I don't know what "data" you base your findings on, but my personal experience with others, is they just want the latest and greatest now, and they spend gobs of money to get it, even if it is at a loss i.e. early adopters unwilling to wait for a sale.

That is why they rush out to buy games, the first day it is released!

"You can't sell it to someone else because it has the contract that is tied to you and your account until you've paid the full subscription period out."

I have not read the fine print, but I believe with phones you can sell it, anytime you want. As long as the creditor (or the phone company in this case) gets their monthly fee. The creditor at least hasn't had a history of banning sales of contract locked phones sold to consumers.

"Gamers buy their hardware at a set price and use it from there. They don't like to be tied down with subscription rules and needs based on this hardware."

Are you sure, this isn't just you? I meet a lot younger gamers, and they are cash strapped. They want their iphone, and their xboxes, not thinking much about their finances long term.

"Don't see what else there is to understand about there not being a 'free' PS3 at release."

I don't think there will be a "free" Playstation either, as there will be an "good faith" payment of some sort.

"If you want proof of my opinion, check out a few of the response already on here. Specifically #3 and #4."

That's hardly proof of anything, merely a VERY SMALL sample supporting your OPINION. Show me real proof, like a market research study. At least, that is based on something.

I could easily point you the opposite, as indicated by:

a) PSN Plus as you don't own the games, you rent them for the duration of your subscription

b) lots and lots of gamers use their console for netflix viewing, which again you don't own the movies

c) Steam and digital sales in general, where there are far more restrictions and less ownership than retail disc, yet plenty of gamers buying it up!

Sorry, I think you are wrong. Instant gratification is basic human nature, and it applies to gamers too!

crusadernm1299d ago SpamShow
subtenko1299d ago

The thing is, if it were free, they would be the first do to this wouldnt they? The drawback is like all the computer sellers selling all computers for free but to gain the money via a subscription or w/e. But a lot of computer users dont necessarily have to spend anymore money besides internet service provider.

It's gonna cost money and be cheap rather than completely free. If they made something free it would be like a sackboy plush doll or something that cost way less if they wanna throw some freebie out there.

Christopher1298d ago

***Look now 7 years later how much has been paid for that cheapera ta launch Xbox.***

That's not a subscription for the hardware, that's a subscription for the service. Two completely different things considering almost 75m 360s sold but ony 40m XBLive accounts. Only half of those estimated to be XBLive Gold memberships. See how the difference here is people can own the hardware, play games, and not have a subscription service?

SonyWarrior1298d ago (Edited 1298d ago )

do to the aronastic-nes of the simplisity i suspect that the ignitial costs and or value of the electronic system (home console) will be in the ranges of what best ocomidates the public opion of self righestness so take that into account and you have the price off the ps4... that price is going to be $400 base and $500 with a larger then base hard drive disk and they will also have a system that cost $100 this is the system that will have monthly fee this subscription also includes playstation plus membership sorry for my english i am not speak english

wsoutlaw871298d ago

Ya id rather just buy it with my own low interest credit card, then its mine and i can sell it or what ever i want

Christopher1298d ago (Edited 1298d ago )

***And Cgoodno, if Sony does this...it WON'T be $75 a year. Thats ludicrous. I understand how u gt to that number, but Sony would never charge that much. It'll be $200-$250 upfront, then you'll be locked into a $10-$20 a month contract for two years.***

I'm not sure where you get the $75/year and I think you also aren't understanding that an upfront fee is not "free". That's completely different than what the author is talking about. They're talking about a solely subscription based model of paying off the console, not an upfront fee w/a subscription cost.

***Are you sure, this isn't just you? I meet a lot younger gamers, and they are cash strapped. They want their iphone, and their xboxes, not thinking much about their finances long term. ***

You've met a lot of younger gamers with reasonable credit scores and the ability to sign long-term subscription agreements?

***That's hardly proof of anything, merely a VERY SMALL sample supporting your OPINION. Show me real proof, like a market research study. At least, that is based on something. ***

Wait, you're asking me for proof and not the author? I can provide more proof of the issues people have with subscriptions in general on N4G responses, at the least. At that time, when the article was very early, already two people had said "No" and left it at that. I didn't consider that 'all the proof I needed' but some proof as to how people would respond to a subscription-based console purchase.

Don't go off on me for that if you're not going to recognize that A) there isn't a trend for this sort of thing in video games B) no proof has been provided by the author who shared solely opinion on this matter without any proof, not even equal to what I provided last night.

If you want, you can take in the other responses that have come since then. At least it's a bigger poll of what people think than what the author of this op-ed used for his thoughts on this.

***a) PSN Plus as you don't own the games, you rent them for the duration of your subscription ***

Is not buying hardware with a subscription plan.

***b) lots and lots of gamers use their console for netflix viewing, which again you don't own the movies ***

Is not buying hardware with a subscription plan.

***c) Steam and digital sales in general, where there are far more restrictions and less ownership than retail disc, yet plenty of gamers buying it up!***

Is not buying hardware with a subscription plan.

***Sorry, I think you are wrong. Instant gratification is basic human nature, and it applies to gamers too! ***

We will agree to disagree, but as I ask you to at least understand the basic differences in a subscription model for hardware versus buying/subscribing to digital content. Even Cell phones aren't a subscription model for hardware, you're only paying for the service each month. That's why you can buy a cellphone with that model and sell it if you want. As long as you continue to pay them for the monthly service, they don't care. They will charge you a hefty fee for cancelling early, though.

Premonition1298d ago

We clearly have a failure to communicate lol.

+ Show (17) more repliesLast reply 1298d ago
kayoss1299d ago

50$ a month for 2 years. Comes to a total of $1200 for a console. Yes it makes a lot of sense. The difference between mobile and consoles is because mobile requires a data plan in order to access internet where wifi is not available. Consoles are home devices and can access internet if you have internet. That is the reason why you can buy you vita the way you did. Xbox went this similar route which I dunno anyone in there right mind would do.

grailly1299d ago

they won't be charging you 50$ a month for nothing... while for a mobile phone you will anyway want to have a data plan, for a console you will want to buy games.
what if the subscription grants you a free game download a month. yeah you're still paying 1200$ over 2 years, you will have spent less on games

MoveTheGlow1298d ago (Edited 1298d ago )

I agree with Kayoss. Fifty Aussie bucks a month is about $52 in the US. That's so unsustainable for many, many people. Including kids, who are still a target demographic group for the system, and would most likely get a console as a gift.

To directly link this with smartphone payments is to totally miss the boat on the modern necessity of smartphones. They're pretty much what a major phone company offers now, and they're a de facto communication method. People gave up their landlines and adopted cellular, and now it's moving on to smartphones. They replaced one payment with another. Consoles would be an entirely new payment if it's that much per month. It's an *extra* monthly payment. Plus, there's hardly any competition in the smartphone biz - data plans are jacked up because big phone companies can do that. There isn't that level of, or potential for, collusion like that in the games industry because of PC's. So far, at least. Heck, maybe the next consoles will be N-Gage taco phones, I don't know.

There's no way they'd start out of the gate with day-one free downloads of good games every month. Not because that wouldn't be fair, or possible, but because of game publishers and the price they put on their IP and titles. It's way easier to have an instant collection of older games - making those deals with third parties is way easier to do. "Want kids to buy Warhammer: Space Marine used, or want *us* to pay you some cash to make it a free Plus download? That's what I thought."

I'd say a $20 per month subscription which includes Plus the way it is (only cloud-enabled with Gaikai) and a smaller ($300 or under at launch) price on the console would remove loss-leader status from the console itself and net Sony a ton in the long run - way after they've paid for the extra cost in making that console, they've got you there for years. Can't make the payments - all your licenses to play games (including physical-media games) goes away. We're already getting there anyway - it's why I'm moving toward the PC Dark Side.

That, of course, assumes they'd cater to only those who have a broadband connection. Which isn't everyone yet.

Christopher1298d ago

***what if the subscription grants you a free game download a month. yeah you're still paying 1200$ over 2 years, you will have spent less on games***

How many people will play that many games in a year?

What type of games are available? Are they even all available?

Will we get day one releases of games?

Will we be able to always own and play those games or only for as long as we subscribe?

PS+ is an awesome tool for $50/year. You get a ton of games you can play anytime you want, great deals on game sales. But even then, it's not for everyone. People don't like the restricted game model because they don't know if they will like the game or not. The very same issues can arise when you take that subscription model to the next level.

rainslacker1299d ago

Well...just for giggles, lets look at this scenario.

Sony says you can buy the PS4 $150 cheaper if you pay for the quarterly subscription to PS+ for 2 years. The quarterly cost for 2 years of PS+ is $144.

Now for people like me that would be great, because I would have PS+ anyways...and while I'd spend $50 more over 2 years, I'd still save $100 overall. Not too shabby.

But then you get the people who see $18 every three months as a pretty good way to get the system...after all it's only $6 a month. Sony now gets lots of people on board with PS+, and they are drawn to the cheaper system. It's not too much to assume that when the 2 years is up that many people would continue to use the service, thus continue paying for it. Many may never update their payment info, which means they will just continue a constant revenue stream.

In this scenario it gives them a bigger install base, with more games being sold(generating more revenue), and a possibility of a long term revenue stream through subscriptions. The actual amount they'd lose would be higher at the beginning, but they would recoup a lot more over the long term, without as much need to advertise PS+ to get people interested in it.

I agree with most of your comments though, it's unlikely to happen, and if anything they'd make a monthly subscription at $9.99 or something to recoup more money. I find my scenario to be pretty decent though, but business doesn't work like that.:(

grailly1299d ago

yep. if they sell you the console for 150$ less because of a subscription, they are having a bigger loss upfront and will want to make more money overall to compensate. they would have to find a was to make a more expensive subscription.

Slapshot821299d ago

Exactly! See, this piece is designed to make you think, explore things that aren't commonplace business decisions.

One other thing: imagine the absolute crazed insanity at launch if there's a Free-$200 buy in price (plus subscription contract). People will see the low price first and foremost, and the media will eat it all up, putting massive attention onto Sony's PS4, while reversing the idea that the console isn't affordable at launch.

It's risky, it's really risky, but it's a risk that could pay off big time in the long term for Sony.

Christopher1298d ago

***Sony says you can buy the PS4 $150 cheaper if you pay for the quarterly subscription to PS+ for 2 years. The quarterly cost for 2 years of PS+ is $144.***

Sony already sold the PS3 @$600 at a loss this generation. Do you really think with a subscription plan that they are going to start making even more of a loss over a 2-year period?

Sorry, but that logic isn't sound. If it's going to be a subscription plan, they are going to end up charging you more for the hardware over time, not less.

What you describe would make absolutely zero sense as not only would they not be making any money up front, but they would be losing that money over two years now, meaning a slower intake of cash to put towards further development with less to put towards it over the first two years.

rainslacker1298d ago

@cg

No, I don't think Sony would do it, probably not with the example that I used up above at least. They would have to recoup a significant amount of money over 2 years(or whatever) to make it worth the time spent waiting for the money to come in. Same principle with cell phones, and why they lock you into an overpriced data plan to get those expensive smart phones cheap.

What I described was more of a general example, and not meant to be specific. I felt numbers would help elaborate the point better.

There are certain advantages to Sony with a subscription plan, namely in making the system more affordable to more people at launch. It could go a long way in helping them becoming a dominate force in the market like with the PS2. Whether it's widely accepted really depends on the perceived value of the actual plan itself.

+ Show (1) more replyLast reply 1298d ago
cee7731299d ago

N4g is trolling with the new ps4 and xb720 sections lol ;)

Gamer19821299d ago

I can see it happening imagine if they had say 10 million users paying them $50 a month for 2 years? That's some serious CASH! Of course it would be far cheaper to go our and buy a console but MS proved last generation getting it cheaper day 1 rather than in the long haul is what people prefer. As the 360 over 7 years was far more expensive thanks to XBL than PS3.

jwk941298d ago

This functions the same way Microsoft's does except there isn't an upfront fee.

humbleopinion1298d ago

" Gamers are not in the habit of paying an on-going subscription fee for hardware. Software/services, sure. Hardware that they can resell? No. "

Not to take of the argument, but software (games) is something that gamers are able to resell as well.

GamerToons1298d ago

Uhh Avast reports malware virus on this site guys, don't go and someone with permissions needs to report this now.

+ Show (5) more repliesLast reply 1298d ago
The_Infected1299d ago

That's most likely not going to happen because Sony would take a huge hit for the first year. They may charge a medium price with a small monthly subscription far less that $50 per month as stated in the article. Who knows its possible either way to a certain extent but I'm getting one no matter what so I don't care as long as its not $550 or $600. I could probably afford a subscription easier though.

Gamer19821299d ago

They wouldn't take a hit though as they would get back $600 (per customer) if they charged $50 a month in the first year, and the second year would be pure profit. The customer seems to be getting a great deal up front but is getting ripped off in the long run.

miyamoto1299d ago (Edited 1299d ago )

This
http://i.minus.com/i1ot2q1b...
is what is going to happen!

Though not free, subsidized PS4 or not, PS+ with Gaikai will be the new Netflix of video gaming content...I promise you.

LOGICWINS1299d ago (Edited 1299d ago )

Why not? Explain yourself. I think its a great idea. Telling someone that they can get a PS4 upfront for cheap with the addition of monthly payments(with the inclusion of PS Plus) is an exciting proposition. It would also make more people aware of PS Plus. Once the 2 year contract is up, people will see how many features/games they will lose by not having PS Plus...therefore, they will resubscribe.

I'd actually go as far to say that Sony would be stupid not to at the very least give consumers this monthly fee option. Microsoft's already doing it with the 360, so you know they will do it with the 720...the only difference is that Sony subscription fee will likely be the one to offer the most value.

ILive1299d ago (Edited 1299d ago )

No, logic, it is not a great idea. I cant even believe anyone would say this. Are you a business man, or a gamer? Ps plus is already enough. What they can do is give you ps plus for free for a couple of months when you pay full price for the console. Then, people will see if they like the service or not.

Darth_Bane791299d ago

I think it would be a great idea, and I say this as a gamer, because it would make the console very affordable for a lot of people at launch, and that would put them way ahead on the market and make the system a lot more appealing for studios and publishers (the more consumers available, the more games they will sell). The only thing that I wonder is what measures would they take against people who don't pay. I'm going to imagine that they will put a lock on the unit itself, but that also means that the console will require to always be online to work? I guess they could also go around that by making it where you have to sign in at least once a month for the system to check status. idk, just brainstorming

FreydaWright1299d ago

You're basing this off the assumption that all consumers pay their bills on time. A deal like this might attract those who don't make a steady living. For any company, that's a liability.

grailly1299d ago

n4g HATES subscriptions haha. So much so, it doesn't even want the option to be available.

Nice thinking there, Darth. It's hard to think of a way to treat people who wouldn't pay without it being anti-consumer. The best way would be that every time you connect the console it unlocks until the end of the month, but they would have to be pretty confident the PS4 is unhackable. Blocking the whole console for not paying is also a bit harsh...

insomnium21299d ago

Ya I don't see why logic gets disagreed to. What is wrong with the scenario that you can CHOOSE this kind of payment? To you as a gamer? To Sony? To anyone? Seriously what is wrong with it?

+ Show (2) more repliesLast reply 1299d ago
Slapshot821299d ago

I think it's possible we'll see a $200 USD (approx.) price tag, with a PS+ subscription/contract stapled along with it. Heck, I'll buy day one, without a moments hesitation if this is true - I'll stay subscribed to PS+ regardless.