PlayStation Universe

Opinion: PS4 pricing and pay-to-play gaming

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on 11 June 2013

The PlayStation 4 conference was stuffed full of great highlights. In our videocast shortly after the show, Managing Editor Kyle Prahl described the momentous occasion, where Sony revealed a host of great PS4 games to the public, as “Sony’s finest hour” and I couldn’t agree more. When PS4 launches later this year I’ll be able to play used games, lend them to friends and borrow them with no restrictions imposed by the powers that be. I’ll be able to import games if I want to, share great moments with friends via the new community features and get to play great titles, from blockbusters to indie games, only available on Sony’s powerhouse of a console. All of this and much more I can do for just £349…or so I initially thought.

Sift through the small print and there are a couple of other charges to take into consideration. First up, we have the PlayStation Eye, which will cost £54, though I’d expect that everyone who bought a Move controller will already have one and anyone who hasn't won’t care much for Wonderbook, Move’s only hope. So, that's not really going to be a concern for most.

What could be cause for concern is the fact that people will have to shell out for PlayStation Plus, which everyone will need to purchase if they want to play online. This is a major change from Sony’s PS3 free-to-play multiplayer pricing model and it's actually a policy inspired by the Microsoft camp, who currently charges players to use its online service, Xbox Live.

Over the years, I’ve read posts from many PlayStation fans in forums saying they would desert Sony if the same pricing structure was ever employed. However, it can't now come as a surprise as it’s clear Sony was preparing us for this change with the introduction of PlayStation Plus which has slowly been made more and more attractive as we've headed toward the next-generation of consoles.

Will these gamers stick to their word and not buy a PS4? Well, it's clear some gamers will be disappointed that Sony has gone down this path, despite the blow being softened with a great conference and the offer of Driveclub free to all subscribers. However, I still think the positivity surrounding PS4 which seems to be flooding the internet since the conference and the sheer potential of the PS4 will win over those who have been so negative about being charged for online services.

Let's face it. PlayStation Plus is an excellent service. You get good quality free games each month, access to demos and beta phases early and special deals from the PlayStation Network. The free games alone have paid back what people have put into it. What you get for what you pay out already makes it well worth investing in and what’s coming on the PS4 should make it infinitely more attractive. I just hope that Sony offers discounted family packs for those who have multiple people within a family who want to access multiplayer games. If not, it could be a costly end of year for some.

What do you think about having to pay to play multiplayer games? Let us know below or in the community forums.

Update-  PS Plus on PS4 will support multiple accounts on one system.