Right, some of you won’t want to agree with me here but there’s no use in pretending otherwise – Xbox Live Gold provides a more stable, reliable and feature-rich way to play online multiplayer than Sony’s PSN. I don’t think there’s any disputing that. But it costs money – £40 per year, if you don’t shop around.[drop2]Now there are rumours kicking about this morning that the PlayStation 4 is going to lean towards a “premium online service” when it is (oh my god, we hope) announced later today. Those rumours suggest that the new online services will come under the moniker of PlayStation World, a name which will even replace PlayStation Plus.
I think renaming Plus, a service which has blown away anything that PlayStation’s competitors could offer, would be a bit silly. The subscription service is not only very popular but has captured itself a well-loved place in the minds of many a PlayStation fan. Renaming it would be discarding all of that good will and brand recognition. But regardless, there’s a new slate here so it’s not beyond the realms of possibilities.
More interestingly, though, is the assertion that “most” of the PlayStation 4’s online services will be premium, paid-for subscriptions. Personally, I would have absolutely no problem in paying a fee, similar to Live Gold on Xbox, which ensures a similarly robust network infrastructure. With all the talk surrounding PlayStation Cloud – potentially the new name for Gaikai – there might be a lot more than just online multiplayer up for consideration when weighing up the virtues of any paid service.
So, the PlayStation 4 is widely expected to be revealed this evening. There probably won’t be a price for the console until E3 in June, at the earliest, but what about subscriptions and services? The entire industry is learning the incredibly profitability in monthly fees and microtransactions. What would you be willing to pay for and how much?