Sony Explains Why PS4 Online Play Will Not Be Free

During Sony’s E3 2013 press conference, the company announced that the PlayStation 4 will require a PlayStation Plus subscription for online play.  Unlike the PS3, the PS4 will have a subscription based service required for online play, similar to how a gold subscription is needed for Xbox Live.  In an interview with Famitsu translated by Kotaku, Sony Worldwide Studious president Shuhei Yoshida explains why online play on the PS4 will not be free.

“The main pillar for the PS4 will be online play,” says Yoshida.  ” We’re developing many new ways to play and connect which requires a large investment of resources.  Considering the cost, to try to keep such a service free and consequently lower the quality would be absurd. We decided that if that’s the case, then it would be better to receive proper payment and continue to offer a good service.”

Yoshida did mention that a PS Plus subscription would only be needed for “real time online play,” and that online features that didn’t happen in real time did not need a PS Plus subscription.  I’m guessing that this means video services like Netflix will be free to all users, but competitive multiplayer matches in Call of Duty will require PS Plus.

In addition, if the main account on the PS4 has PS Plus, then all other accounts on the console will have access to the benefits of the subscription.  It seems like the subscriptions are console based, not account based, but we won’t know the concrete details of how all of these online services work until we actually get the consoles in our homes.


The interview also delves into how Sony will not abandon the PS3 just because the next generation of consoles is approaching.  President of Sony Japan Hiroshi Kawano says that the transition between the PS3 and PS4 will be gradual, and the PS3 will not be left out to die.

“It’s been seven years since the release of the PS3 and the console continues to sell at a constant pace, plus we have many upcoming titles,” says Kawano. “We have no intention of immediately shifting from the PS3 to the PS4.”

Sony has shown they can properly make a smooth transition between generations with the PS2 and PS3.  Microsoft and Nintendo both left out the Xbox and GameCube out to die a painful death as the Xbox 360 and Wii were approaching.  Sony, however, had quality software for the PS2 even as the PS3 was launching.

The PS4 launches this holiday season for $399/€399/£349.