Will PSN Become Less Free?
Author: Pete Haas
published: 2012-04-14 23:02:36
As Sony tries to return to profitability, one part of the company that could undergo radical change is the PlayStation Network. Some analysts believe that Sony will move closer to a premium model for the online 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' Michael Pachter told GI.biz.
M2 Research's Billy Pidgeon seconded the idea: "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," he said.
PSN already offers a PlayStation Plus program to players. The subscription-based service provides members with discounts as well as early or exclusive access to demos, betas and other content. Presumably they would expand this program in order to make PSN more profitable.
Pidgeon added that Sony should try to sign up more media partners for PSN. For example, competitor Microsoft has teamed up with other companies to bring ESPN, HBO Go, and other entertainment content to Xbox Live. Pidgeon believes that cable television will become a key market and that Sony needs these partnerships to keep up with Microsoft as well as Google and Apple.
I think it's accurate that they'll never charge for PSN multiplayer - at least in this generation of consoles. Free multiplayer has been a major selling point for the PS3 for so long now. Sony would have a shit-storm on their hands if they reversed that decision.
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