Sony Considering Subscription Model for PSN
Paid membership would offer premium services on top of existing free services.
By Steve Watts, 11/19/2009
The free service of the PlayStation Network had some thinking it would force Microsoft to follow suit and drop their Gold charges; but it now looks like the situation may turn out the other way around. Eurogamer reports that a presentation from Sony mentioned a "new revenue stream from subscription" for the PlayStation Network. In a statement, Kaz Hirai said the company is "studying the possibility of introducing a subscription model, offering premium content and services, in addition to the current free services." Right now any of these plans seem to be in the brainstorming phase, but we could see the new model coming. No doubt the ailing economy would affect this decision.
That said, there's no reason for PlayStation 3 fans to panic just yet. Hirai's wording was careful, but seemed to indicate that the current services, like free online play, would stay free. Even if Sony introduced some new features and charged for them, free online play would mean most users could get by just fine without. This would still make it a far cry from Microsoft's model, in which the popular feature of online play requires a Gold membership. We'll let you know if Sony outlines more specific plans.
To be honest. I foresaw this coming long ago, & dont give me that 'Sony said PSN will always be free' talk.
Sony's record of backtracking on promises, is as much as any other business (dual hdmi, 1080p FULL HD standard, backwards compatibility, linux). When they see a revenue stream, Sony are like any other company. Expect to pay for PSN... 'eventually'.....
At least you can still play online for free... we hope.