Will The PS4 Charge For Online Services?

Sony discussed a lot of features at the February 20th reveal for the PlayStation 4, ranging from the new features of the DualShock 4 to the social networking features of the system. However, one aspect Sony did not touch on was the online features of the system outside of the new features. Will the service remain free for all gamers? What about PlayStation Plus? To take a look at what Sony might do with the PS4 in terms of online capability, let's take a look at what it currently does with the PS3.

The PlayStation 3, as opposed to the Xbox 360, offers free online play for all users of the system. All users have access to the core features of the PlayStation Network, including online multiplayer, a friends list, messaging friends, accessing the PlayStation Store and using the Web browser. All that is necessary to use these features is an Internet connection.

In addition, the PS3 also offers PlayStation Plus for either $17.99 for three months or $49.99 for a year. PlayStation Plus entitles you to additional discounts on discounted content (for example, all users get 50% off a game while Plus users get 75% off), early access to content, such as demos and betas, and free games every month through the Instant Game Collection program. In addition, the service spans across both the PS3 and Vita. Unlike Microsoft's model, where the company treats free members as second class citizens and restricts large amounts of content, Sony rewards paying members with additional content on top of the always free online features.

So far, this online system is working well for Sony. While there was initially some outcry over PlayStation Plus, as Sony fans were worried about Sony copying the Xbox Live model, fans have greatly warmed up to it as Sony gives users anywhere from $100 - $200 worth of free games and content every month.

However, let's face reality: there is money to be made from making every customer a subscriber. After all, Xbox Live has millions of Gold members, providing a steady revenue stream year after year. Sony could stand to make a lot of money if they followed the Xbox Live model and restricted basic online features. Does this mean they are going to? Most likely not. Sony stands to lose far more by switching price models as fans would most likely be infuriated at their choice and not pick up a PS4 at all. One of the benefits of the PS3 is not needing to buy any extra subscriptions to get all the features of the console; it's a huge selling point for the device.

Will The PS4 Charge For Online Services?With the PS4's shift towards always connected social networking, it is very unlikely Sony would block users from accessing these features unless they pay a fee. With every game taking advantage of the social networking aspects of the PS4, Sony will want as many people to experience the social networking features of the device.

In fact, it's far more likely we will see a tiered system similar to what we already see with the PS3: the basic online features of the device, such as online play and sharing, will be free to all users while users who pay will receive additional benefits. SCE Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida has said as much when speaking to The Guardian:

" We could have gold, silver or platinum levels of membership, something like that. We can do subscription services when we have more content – especially now that we have the Gaikai technology available. With one subscription you have access to thousands of games – that's our dream."

Based on this comment, it seems initially there will be no subscription service at all -- after all, it doesn't make sense for Sony to have PlayStation Plus at the PS4 launch, as there will most likely not be any free games or discounts on PS4 content at the launch of the device. Our guess is to what the PS4 online content tiers will break down to is this:

Basic -- No cost. All online features, such as sharing, online play and browsing the Internet are free

PlayStation Plus -- Similar to today's PlayStation Plus, providing a small assortment of free games, additional discounts and early access to content

PlayStation Plus Gold -- Access to thousands of games, both past and present, via the use of the Gaikai streaming service

Yoshida has big plans for the Gaikai component of the PS4 and for the online service in general, as Sony seems committed to the idea of providing more content for your money, not unlocking content everyone should already have for free. We are confident that all online features you saw at the PS4 launch conference, especially sharing, are going to be free for all users.

What do you think? Will the PlayStation 4 online services remain free? What kind of online services do you want to see with the PS4? Let us know in the comments!

Article by - Joshua Phillips
Insert Date: 03/06/2013

July 16th, 2013 Update: The Answer Is Yes
As we saw at E3 2013, sadly Sony will be charging for online services for the PlayStation 4, specifically online play. A PlayStation Plus subscription will be required for online play for retail games; however, free-to-play games do not require a PlayStation Plus subscription unless the developer or publisher wants their free-to-play game to require one.

Online services, such as Netflix or Hulu, will not require a PlayStation Plus subscription to access them.

A PlayStation Plus subscription will remain at the $49.99 per year price and will include additional benefits, such as free games and access to exclusive demos.

Will this stop you from purchasing a PlayStation 4? Let us know in the comments below!

Update by - Joshua Phillips
Insert Date: 7/16/2013

Talk about PlayStation Plus on our forums!

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Ps4 charging for online play

It would make absolutly no sense to charge for online play. I mow for money and I doubt that my parents would pay for online. Plus, I have to pay for at least half of the cost for the ps4. Since my G1 Ps3 broke, Ive been saving up for the console. I have only $42 so far and Im going into middle school in a few months, so I might be able to get Ala-Carte. And I might not even get it if I dont get a A-B average. They would get more money, but less players... Xbox is going all out this year, Ps4 needs to catch up if it wants to get subscribers on youtube AND gamers because if they charge for online play, I know alot of unhappy gamers who would be willing to make the Ps4 their new target at a shooting range...

made no sense ^

Write a book. Ps4 all day man. You're Xbox one is more expensive also. Which to me. You look very stupid right now.

12 yr olds

Enough said.


Every normal PS player would subscribe for PS PLUS , becuase PS+ gives mahy discounts many free offers, and its jsut cost u like 11.99£ a 3months its nothing and you get many great stuff for that.And if u think thats stupid to pay it than u are stupid.


first off.. x box has always charged for online play.. second of all i own both. and most of the guys i play with do as well. and a majority prefer the ps3, and if the monthly payment of online fixes the only thing wrong with playstation."the online servers" then im all for it. then again i plan on putting another 300 into my ps4 when it comes out. (changing the 500g HD into a 500g SSD) so as an adult who enjoys playing games money is not the issue. i want quality.


Since when has a 500GB ssd sold for 300? Gl with that...most of the time they don't make component upgrades such as going from a hdd to a ssd...they increase the amount of memory but don't typically make it an upgrade like that.

did you read it?

this is why kids shouldnt be aloud to write comments.

Paying for internet

If they charge for internet there will be absolutely NO reason for me to purchase a PS4 for my kids. None! I watch Netflix on the PS3 (and don't use my son's X-box at all because of the subscription issue). I pay for internet at home already...it makes no sense to pay again just to watch Netflix. The kids are also saying they heard that you won't be able to play used games (or games that have been played on another console) on the PS4. If that is true...they are shooting themselves in the foot.

wow your cheep

50 dollars a year. really you will pay 400 bucks but wont pay 50 a year. good less little kids playing with the HC gamers


Why is Ps4 really charging any ways they make more money then xbox. like really charging 50$ a year oh wow i really seen this before not pointing any names but...XBOX 360. come one playstation really need to step up with this bullcrap. if they don't want to lose customer don't start by pissing them off. SMFH!


You should do your research before posting something like this. All online services, such as Netflix, are still free to use on the PS4 system. The only requirement for PS+ now is to play your games online on PS4 (still free online play for PS3). Everything else is still free, but with PS+, you still enjoy all the benefits of being a member (such as automatic game updates, free games each month, cloud saving, etc.); plus at $50 per year, you're still paying less on that than you would on Xbox Live at $60 per year.


You sir need to do some research. Netflix will not require a PS+ subscription, only online multiplayer will. You will still be able to play games offline, trade with friends, play rented games and so on. So unless you play online a lot you will not require a PS+ subscription. Also if gaming is a hobby of the family 4+ dollars a month is pocket change for what you get with the subscription.

29,99 is better :)

I think the price should be like 29,99 for a year... Because the console costs and the games,and new controllers for playing with friends...


If you get a PC game from a physical store and you download it on your computer, most likely it will require a registration number to play online, preventing you from loaning the game to your friend. At the same time you do not have to pay a subscription to get online on a PC. On the other hand, the PS4 will allow you to loan your friends games, but does charge for online access. What I'm getting at is you're essentially "paying" for no DRM which I'm fine doing as I believe PSN will improve with the added profits from subscription costs and will keep giving its plus users "free games". Xbox One is out the picture because you pay extra 10 dollars to hear ghetto players with Kinect mics, and ever so slightly better servers.


Why is Ps4 really charging any ways they make more money then xbox. like really charging 50$ a year oh wow i really seen this before not pointing any names but...XBOX 360. come one playstation really need to step up with this bullcrap. if they don't want to lose customer don't start by pissing them off. SMFH!

Dang Nabit

When My girlfriend called me and said I'm at BestBuy and was thinking of paying you this Xbox for your birthday I said No No no don't buy the Xbox they charge for online play get the PS3 instead. Don't think I'll be upgrading to a ps4 cant see myself with a new recurring bill what is something like I lose my job or money just get real tight light bill or ps4 online bill Hummm let me think. A large percentage of Ps3 online gamers are living check by check or no check at all. Only people that will accept this are rich kids and dudes that don't pay for any bills. And the moment they start charging for ps3 online access i'm listing mine in a eBay auction. starting at $0.99.


The concept of paying to play online when you pay an internet provider bill to play online already is just ridiculous.. Microsoft packed a low-hit punch to the balls with that idea, why wouldn't others follow? Playstation won't fare up to the Xbox One in this case they should keep it cheap and simple so they can keep themselves in business.


Way to distinguish yourself from xbox there Sony. Sony can suck the fart out my bung for this one


not cool man



This F'N Stinks

There is No need to pay to play online. why pay for internet service at all. people in reality already pay for gas money , food, insurance, house bills and other crap. why should sony force to pay online he is just copying the xbox and that's dumb. it was always free since the 1st PS and now this bites. im sorry but I had to say it. everyone in life already pays a lot just to live a life now a days. they should at least keep it going as free nothing more nothing less. just to save money and not waste it. PlayStation is better off Free. paying sucks if you think about life your paying more for food now and the quality is less and smaller . gas is more money. house bills and internet bills are a lot . why pay more money out of your pocket when you can't afford it

PSN Blows

I have bought every new system as it came out. I will never upgrade again if they start charging. So keep your ps4 sony and bite me. You just lost a devoted customer. Sincerely Pissed Off In Connecticut


Lost my money sony


I don't play games very much any more but I have owned every ps unit and would continue but I would never pay a monthly fee to play online therefore I think I am done buying game consoles yet another reason sonys stock is at a 30 year low

Playstation 4 and Online Game Play Cost

I, like so many others, have been purchasing the Sony PlayStation since the first one was released. I still own my play station one, play station two (non operational now), and two play station threes ( one for my nephew and one for me). I've only used the online service since the play station 3 but have enjoyed the free online play and connecting with other players and friends, getting to play games while we are miles apart. With the cost of online service for the Play Station 4, I will no longer be purchasing a Sony game console. My budget doesn't allow for this so with the end of the Play Station 3 games, this will end my relationship with the Sony Play Station. Thank you for the years, as few as there has been for me, of online fun. Will only be playing off line gameplay after that.


I totally disagree. why pay? people are paying for enough nowadays.