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Sony's PlayStation Network: Food for Thought

This is no complaint, rather, food for thought.

It's rather interesting that at one point, Sony and PlayStation gamers alike prided themselves in the free online gaming provided with the launch of the PS3. The earlier half of the departing generation was a time when fans of the console would point out the benefits of their console by stating that the online component was free, and how the competition was either greedy or simply not providing the service that behooved gamers the most. Many argued, "Why should I have to pay extra just to access the other half of the game I already paid for?"

Some years later, rumors of a subscription-based service began making rounds, and some fears cropped up. What was once a free service might not be any longer. Of course, some critics might have been quick to point out that if PlayStation gamers had to pay to play online, the main draw to the Sony platform was gone and made it an automatically inferior service. Obviously we know this wasn't true. Undoubtedly many gamers found comfort in the fact that the new PlayStation Plus service was not mandatory and that it really was a great deal for anyone who wished to pay for the functionality. We were not made to pay for it, and we could still play online without extra charge, so surely there was no issue.

Again, some years later, the PS4 is announced and the plans for the online service became public. Anyone wishing to play online the games they buy would have to pay for the service. The once entirely optional PlayStation Plus will now be a little more mandatory. That's not to say that you'll have to pay for PlayStation Plus to enjoy your shiny new PS4. Indeed, you never have to touch the service if you truly don't want to. Of course, this also means you won't have access to that "second half" of your game and you'll have to miss out. A feature that certainly factored into the purchase of many a gamer for the last console is gone.

It's important to remember that PlayStation Plus isn't a bad thing to exist. You'll find many gamers that positively attest to their experience with it, and will even say that the price of admission was one of the best choices they ever made. But it was a choice.

It's interesting to wonder if this was Sony's plan all along. If, all the way back when PlayStation Plus was first announced, and when we comfortably said to one another, "It's not mandatory so it can only be a good thing," Sony had all along made the rather clever business decision to slowly introduce what would soon be a service that one would have to pay for in order to enjoy the online.

It seems to have worked. It's very obvious that if Sony had made PlayStation Plus mandatory to play online before in the middle of the console cycle when they introduced the service, they would have received backlash. More than any company would be comfortable with. Maybe they knew they couldn't do that. Maybe they knew they wanted gamers to pay for online in the following generation to turn a profit in their almost-certainly-in-developmen t-PS4. Well, the best way to do that would be to ease the gamers into a "totally optional version now," build hype for a powerful new console, and then more easily justify a paywall.

Many don't have a problem with this at all, and are more than ready to snag their new console and service and games and what-have-you in the following month. Still, I hope no one forgets that having a choice was never a bad thing.

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black0o1605d ago

""having a choice was nvr a bad thing"" is that was ur point from all this ??

Bladesfist1605d ago

My main gripe with these services being behind a subscription fee is that they don't offer me as good a service or the number of features that steam offers for free. Steam has the fastest CDN servers of the free which allows me to download my games a 4mb/s. However with PSN I am lucky to get 700kb/s.

They will have to seriously up there services to make it look like good value to people who have used or do use Steam.

Bladesfist1604d ago

Does anyone wish to point out where I was wrong?

Bio_Mod1603d ago

I don't think they can.

zerocrossing1605d ago

I don't mind certain services being placed behind pay walls, but I will never accept simple access to online play being one of them, especially now due to the fact that online play is often touted the main selling point.

Roccetarius1605d ago (Edited 1605d ago )

Sony will probably get away with it as well, since MS have done it for so long now. I don't believe there's any justifiable reason anymore though.

Playing online shouldn't be behind a wall, unless it's an MMO choosing a sub plan.

Ravenor1604d ago

It was really funny seeing people cheer for this during the E3 unveiling. I don't hate the idea, both PSN and XBL are closed services they rely on themselves entirely for the online component of games (Generally) whereas Steam for the most part is relying on community driven dedicated servers (Those cost money, but it's out of the communities pocket) and only runs the MP on a handful of their own games.

What needs to stop though is when people are so adamant that the same amount/quality of free games will flow to PS+ members. It won't, you'll get the odd indie title but if you think you're going to end up getting Battlefield 4 any time soon...I just don't think that's going to happen.

SuperBlur1604d ago

Hmm i think BF4 added to the ps+ bucket of free games is plausible , stripped down of its MP portion that is.

KwietStorm1603d ago

I hope they don't add it at all. All it did was ruin the game when BF3 was added to PS+.

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