As part of Sony’s commitment to gamers, online multiplayer on their consoles has always been free. Up until now, as they’ve just announced that using online multiplayer on PS4 will cost gamers money.
There are few things as great as a good freebie; a free sample of food when you go shopping for groceries, the coupons offered in magazines and best of all, the freebie of online multiplayer. Free online multiplayer is something that Sony have pioneered since the days of the PlayStation 2, but at this year’s E3 conference, which took place in Lost Angeles, Calif., the tech company announced that when the PS4 is released later this year, for the first time ever, they’re going to charge for online multiplayer.
What is PlayStation Plus?
At the moment, Sony offer a service called ‘PlayStation Plus’ which is a bonus program for PSN users that has really taken off. With PlayStation Plus, you get free games every single month that you stay subscribed to it, from blockbusters like Hitman: Absolution and Mass Effect 3 to critically acclaimed indie titles such as Critter Crunch and Stacking. PS Plus also provides discounts and often gives early or exclusive entries to betas. The only catch is that PS Plus costs you the price of one game for a year’s subscription, although it does give you over 20 free games in that time.
The plan is that Sony will set PlayStation Plus up as the service that provides you multiplayer on PS4. You’ll have to pay for a PS Plus subscription in order to get access to the online components of a game, but, as an incentive, you’ll get free PS4 games, discounts and beta entries, just like before.
Sony also say that PS Plus will start doling out free games right from the PS4’s launch, with the company promising consumers that they’ll get at least one free PS4 game per month from the very first month of the PS4’s release.
The first game set to be given out on is the recently announced title ‘DriveClub’, which, as the name would suggest, is a game about team racing. It employs leaderboards and teams, letting you set up your own challenges and groups of speed loving racers who want to tear up the tarmac with you. It’s the perfect example of a launch title and an even better example of freebies done right.
Another important component of Sony’s PS4 and PlayStation Plus plan is that those amongst the masses who already have PlayStation Plus accounts will be able to roll these over to their PS4’s, should they purchase one, meaning they’ll be able to receive free games on their PS3, PS4, PSP and PS Vita consoles, which is a pretty sweet deal.
The key thing here that Sony have reiterated multiple times since the announcement, is that online gaming on the PSP, PS Vita and PS3 will remain free, as it currently is, it’s only the PS4 multiplayer that will cost you.
Sony haven’t announced full pricing details for PlayStation Plus, but they have said that it will cost less $5 a month.