Greg’s already discussed at length the various options Sony are considering for what has been dubbed PSN Premium, but one of the features not mentioned on the list (which did appear to cover every other angle possible) is paid subscription for games. Currently the closest thing we’ve got to a continued, steady revenue stream for developers is the episodic content model (such as that seen in Blue Toad or Siren) but going down the route of a full subscription service is one step ahead.
Over the weekend some PS3 users (including myself) were asked to take part in a survey by a third party, and one of the questions relates to this very matter. “How likely would you be to subscribe to a service like this in the future?” asks the questionnaire referring to a hypothetical paid subscription service for films, music or games. Well, this could infer a number of things – an ad free Vidzone (as Greg pointed out) or some kind of Netflix-esque affair for European PS3 owners.
Regardless, it’s the ‘games’ bit I’m interested in. Massively multiplayer online games like World of Warcraft could easily run on the PS3, both in terms of online infrastructure and visual grunt, but without a paid subscription service in place it’s unlike to tempt the likes of Blizzard. If Sony can get a decent monthly sub model up and running then there’s no reason why such games wouldn’t find their way onto the PlayStation platform. Not that we’ve not had such options on consoles past.
What the PS3 really needs is a decent online community title, with persistence and a sense of consequence. The Dreamcast, bless it, introduced me to Phantasy Star Online and it’s still the single most played game I’ve experienced in all my gaming years. If Sony can come up with something equally engaging (and over broadband, this time) I’d happily put down a tenner a month – it would be a welcome change of pace from the me-too FPS flooding the market. How about you?