Pachter on PS3 online play: Sony “isn’t so profitable that it can afford to be magnanimous forever”

Critical Gamer writes: The rumours of a pricing structure for PSN, and exactly what that might entail, have been snaking around the internet for quite a while now – with no official word from Sony. Talking to Critical Gamer however, Michael Pachter of Wedbush Morgan Securities seems to think that the death of free online play on PSN is inevitable.

In answer to our question regarding a paid – for PSN service, Pachter was quick to put in that he ‘really can’t say’ what Sony will do. Pachter being Pachter however he was happy to give us his educated guess, which amounted to a charge for online play on the PS3 being an inevitability

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Cubes2659d ago

I don't see them charging for online play, although I do think they will start offering a more feature packed PSN with perhaps exclusive Beta demos and other exclusive DLC to paying subscribers.

deadreckoning6662659d ago (Edited 2659d ago )

Well, I personally think that they will force people to pay for online play at some point, but they will add so much more features to PSN and more value that people would be crazy not to want to pay for it. I'm willing to pay as long as it isn't more expensive than Live.

Theonik2658d ago

Well contrary to popular belief neither sony or MS needs to charge for online play. Both services are mostly p2p and they only cover for the cost of connecting the dots which isn't that great and they recoup from DLC sold through th service and adds. Adding a subscription would only give them additional revenue. however seeing as they are not in any great financial pressure to charge people for Mp as they aren't exactly bleeding cash from there they are better off creating additional revenue with a premium service and keeping their "free online play" selling point.

corneliuscrust2658d ago (Edited 2658d ago )

service like PSN or XBL so that you know all of the cost involved in every aspect of operation; infrastructure and staffing and all.

We, as consumers, are not privy to a LOT of information.

Theonik2658d ago

It is true that a large service such as live costs a lot of money to maintain however when subscriptions are not their sole source of revenue one has to question where the $500M+ that they make from subscription fees go. (since we know that there are at least 10M gold members paying 50$ a year) Can you honestly say that the total yearly cost to keep XBl running yearly is as hihh? Let alone the money for online play that is a service provided by the game devs not Live which is also the reason a lot of games on XBL are p2p. Now we know from financial reports that are public that currently Sony is making a profit from their games division so we know that they are not desperate to charge for online play.

exnihilonihilfit2658d ago

Is so that they can run MMOs that people have to subscribe to separately. It's much more attractive for a MMO maker to bring their game to a console if they know that console players don't have to pay a subscription fee just to play online at all. Sony will offer a subscription service loaded with features, and probably discounted access to MMOs, but people are less likely to subscribe to an MMO if they already have to pay for access to the internet on their console. More than likely, Sony will even make a first party MMO that receives free access with a subscription to the premium service, if not a few such MMOs. There are a lot of ways for sony to incentivize people to buy a subscription without having to force it on them by removing basic game connectivity.

AngryTypingGuy2658d ago

I've read rumors that PSN might keep online play free but charge for other features.

The bottom line is though that charging for PSN would be a whole new revenue stream for Sony. You know that has been in the back of their minds the whole time. Especially at a time when Sony's gaming division has been losing money for the past several years, they could really use that new revenue stream.

This raises a new question: If Sony starts charging for PSN and a lot of Sony fanboys who have been bashing Live users for years start paying for online PSN play, will that make them hypocrites? Actually, that was a rhetorical question, the answer is yes.

For the record though, I'm rooting for PSN to become so popular that it forces Live to go completely free to compete, that way we all win. Sadly though, I think it'll end up with Sony choosing to help recoup gaming division costs by charging for PSN.

Theonik2658d ago

Yes, i am sure Sony wants and needs the additional revenue but at this point it is not to their better interest to charge for Mp but they have the premium service planned for that. They want online free so they keep a selling point against the 360 and the premium service for an additional stream of revenue. That will allow them to make up for the losses they made in the past back and bring new features.
Yes, that is another reason why they would want online free. Sony has a division dedicated to making MMOs (Sony Online Entertainment) and has many MMOs planned for the PS3 and PC now so having a free basic platform will allow them to have a larger install potential for them. (seeing as there are a few people that would pay for an MMO and normal service fees. Having a free service doesn't mean they don't make money either. Even home makes money from micro transactions. The point of subscriptions is having a steady revenue you can be sure of to cover your upkeep.

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InfectedDK2659d ago (Edited 2659d ago )

Exactly my thoughts.. But I bet it will offer a lot including PS Cloud.. It won't just be some little extras like DLC and a few betas.. Not only. Howewer I think Sony will still offer the original PSN for free as a promise but the extras in the paid subscription will attract so many it's a win/win.

Anyway my guess is even better than Pachters.. Oh well seems I don't need that much thinking to reach that level anyway LOL.

nnotdead2658d ago

as long as playing online is free, i dont care.

Nicholas Cage2659d ago

i think psn will do well with this pay to play option. psn is perfect the way it is for me right now, but if i can have more features, why not?

morganfell2659d ago

The problem is that when Sony keeps the current version free and then charges for a version that has quite a few other features they will be attacked.

Microsoft removed features from free Xbox Live service and called it the Silver account. Once free features now cost money with the Gold Service.

If Sony keeps the current PSN free and doesn't remove a single item but offers a premium service with TV and Movie packages as well as DLC content then the facts will be so twisted by MS fans that many potential PSN customers will not see the actual truth.

jmare2658d ago

That makes no sense. MS fanboys will always attack Sony no matter what, so what does that have to do with anything? As long as there is a PSN option that allows users to keep what they have now for free, i.e. online play, then there should be no problem in offering a PSN option with more features at a price. The key difference between the Live model and the PSN Premium model, assuming the scenario I proposed, is that there is a choice in the PSN model.

If you just want to play games online, you pay nothing and you're set. If you decide you want the extra features, you can pay for it. Live does not allow this; if you want to simply play online, you must pay. 360 fanboys have nothing to do with this.

Captain Tuttle2658d ago

I knew that someone (I'm not surprised it's Morganfell) would blame MS or it's fans

PS360_372658d ago


You are dreaming....:

"As long as there is a PSN option that allows users to keep what they have now for free, i.e. online play..."

If Sony charges for anything, it will be online play. There is nothing else worth paying for and Sony knows it.

It would be like charging for HOME.

This is just my opinion but even if Sony does do what you think they will do, the majority of people won't be buying a premium service for some tv channels and extra demos

jmare2658d ago

How am I dreaming? Everything that Sony has said regarding a paid PSN service has been that Every feature available now will remain free, anything added may be part of the premium service.

And as for what was to be in the service:

Thats a little more than TV channels and extra demos.

sikbeta2658d ago (Edited 2658d ago )

I'm sure is going to be a Premium PSN Service, with the stuff kids and guys were crying for, like XGC, I so want Sony to Charge for that Feature and put more stuff on it, but always with the option of Playing on-line for Free...

Qui-Gon Jim2658d ago

I'll corroborate that. Sony has said that they are dedicated to keeping online play free. Not only that, but if they started charging for online play, they could face a class action lawsuit from people who bought games like Warhawk with the understanding that they wouldn't have to pay any more to play it. I just bought Demon's Souls and would be upset if the online components got taken out from under me, but I don't play games online enough to pay for it.

edgeofblade2658d ago (Edited 2658d ago )

"Microsoft removed features from free Xbox Live service and called it the Silver account. Once free features now cost money with the Gold Service."

Like what? Please enlighten me. Oh... and one little thing... there was never a free Xbox Live service before there was a Silver service...

DLC and Arcade (the original disk-based version on Xbox) were only for paying members back then. Now, a silver member can download content and games without having a Gold account. I see Microsoft GIVING a lot more to silver members than they did before. On then other hand, I know the took Facebook, Twitter, and Last.FM away because it was a limited time deal after the new features launched, but other than that, Microsoft has not done anything of the sort, the way you describe.

Let's take the comparison further, shall we. I can download any content I bought from XBL, but if I delete the videos from my PS3, that's it... it's like iTunes.

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Noctis Aftermath2659d ago

Sony will keep the current free service free, the paid service will be a premium service with more benefits( cross game voice chat comes to mind).

simplyRealistic182658d ago (Edited 2658d ago )

Hence the Title "Premium Service", why Are you people Listening To Pachter, I Thought the Saying goes "Don't Feed The Troll"

Megaton2659d ago

I don't even think they CAN charge for online play. It's not setup like this whole universal "thing" the way XBL is. Devs/publishers have to provide their own online systems for PS3 games, as far as I know. That's how Konami got away with that retarded Konami ID system for MGO, and why all online games published by Sony run on dedicated servers.

They'll do subscriptions for other things, but I don't think they're in a position to charge for online gaming. I certainly wouldn't pay for it. I've got PC gaming in my roots, it's a principal thing. Pay to play is a scam, period.

thor2659d ago

Dedicated servers is a good point. XBL provides developer tools to be able to create P2P games - not so much hassle for the devs, but you end up with a load of crappy, laggy P2P games with host advantage.

I was very annoyed with Konami for what they did to MGO. I would have played it a load had they not gone with that stupid system. I would have bought the DLC. 1 account per console is bullsh*t. Not having your PSN ID or friends list is bullsh*t.

On the whole I would prefer to have a load of games with dedicated servers than to have a unified system of craptastic laggy online play.

FlipMode2659d ago

So just because LIVE does it PSN needs to do it also? Please, if they wanna charge a subscription for things like beta access and etc. fine but what we have now will never cost money, end of.

2659d ago Replies(5)
HolyOrangeCows2659d ago

They already specifically stated that all of the current features would stay free if they were to introduce a premium package.

Besides, the opposite of what Pachter claims seems to happen about 50% of the Sony gonna start paying US to have more online stuff?! LOL

ShinRyuHadoken2659d ago

No, I think more paid PSN for the US. In Europe it will remain free. Cause European folks bought PS3 for free online. :)

Jerk1202659d ago

That's both retarded and unfair.

If they're going to charge for PSN then they'll charge for it in Europe too, no doubt.

madmonkey02659d ago

I bought my ps3 for the best games, not for free online.

Steve_02658d ago

Whats to stop someone from simply using a european account in the US? I have a UK account and US account, and I dont live anywhere near either.

shadow27972658d ago

You forget that Europe is usually the territory that get's screwed.

If Sony was going to start requiring people to play online (they won't), they would probably charge, say, $25 US and 25 EU, respectively. Exchange rate doesn't really matter to Sony.

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gta_cb2658d ago

the fact it is free to play online makes me want to buy multi plat games on the ps3 rather then my Xbox 360 so if it changes in the future all I can say is its a shame.

edgeofblade2658d ago

See, if I already have a larger friends list on XBL, I have invested more in my Gamerscore than my Trophy Level, and I've already paid for XBL Gold for ALL my 360 games, what's the point then?

The more games you play online or have played online on XBL, the more sense it makes to get these games on 360.

Unless you have a reason to be swearing off 360 all together... in which case, how is your's an unbiased opinion?

I certainly spend more time playing games on my 360 because I've paid for XBL Gold. Why would I waste that investment to play individual games for "free" on PS3?

Saigon2658d ago

Its already been stated that they charge the publishers a fee for placing the game on PSN...thats where they recop their funds..PSN Extended pack is for those who want extra features...