THE BUZZ: Analysts believe that Sony could strip down its free service to only offer multiplayer gaming.
They don’t expect Sony to adopt a full subscription based system similar to Xbox Live, but it could easily remove free features to create a paid service.
“I think it’s unlikely that they will require a fee, but think they will strip down the free version to multiplayer and not much else in order to encourage people to pay the fee,” Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter told GamesIndustry.biz.
Billy Pidgeon of M2 Research also agreed with Pachter: “Providing networked services for online gaming is not inexpensive, and charging for these services would help Sony defray those costs. I think Sony would best benefit by continuing to build out on the currently employed freemium model, charging for enhanced, tiered and incremental items, services and add-ons to add value to the online gaming experience.”
“The PlayStation Plus program provides great incentives for subscribers, and Sony can get more revenue from advertising, item transactions and specialized services to enhance specific aspects of online gameplay such as custom content and rules for use for individuals, guilds and other groups. Sony should also move quickly to shift paid content other than gaming to the network,” he added.
The PlayStation Network is currently down for maintenance, and is scheduled to be out for around 13 hours.
EGM’s TAKE: With Sony recording a major loss this year, the company must be looking at new ways to generate income. A paid for version of PSN may answer that problem. Sony currently has a massive untapped market of around 90 million PSN subscribers who all use the service for free. It would be impossible for them to charge for online gaming as it would cause a major backlash from fans who have enjoyed a free service for many years, however, it could quite easily take the other services that PSN offers and make them part of a paid subscription. It’s certainly a route that Sony could take, but whether they will risk alienating fans is iffy.
Would you pay for a subscription if Sony offered one? Leave your thoughts below.