Sony Entertainment UK boss Fergal Gara has said [via] that charging for online multiplayer on PS4 – the first time the company has done this – helped reduce the price of the console, although it was something Sony had to “agonise over for a very long time.”
On PS4 online multiplayer is now integrated into PlayStation Plus. That means that – for most games – if you want to play against others over the internet you’ll need to be a Plus subscriber. Plus is excellent value though, and most gamers didn’t really have too much to complain about when it was revealed during last week’s pre-E3 conference.
“First of all,” says Gara, “we wanted to introduce the console at a healthy price-point compared with PS3,” and that was apparently “front and centre in our thinking and our planning for years.”
Charging for online, or at least bundling it within Plus, will mean that the service can more realistically approach the levels that Xbox Live does. Gara says that PSN will mirror “the social features you’ve seen demonstrated on more of a world-class network” and has seen Sony “investing in a higher performance network” that will offer “better performance and reliability”.
PlayStation Plus currently costs around £40 a year.
Gara also confirmed what a couple of press releases have mentioned recently: that cross game chat – the ability to talk with other players online who aren’t playing the same game as you, or are in different teams – is definitely in as part of the PS4′s network. “It’s there,” he says.