PlayStation 4 users will have to pay for online multiplayer in the next-generation, and Sony’s Eric Lempel has stressed that this necessity comes from the explosive growth of both PSN and PS Plus.
Speaking with GI.biz, vice president of Sony Network Entertainment and head of global marketing Lempel said of the need to charge for PSN on PS4, “There’s a ton of value in the network. We’ve built up the network over the years and made a significant investment… and it’s quite honestly hard to keep everything [free].
“The network’s gotten so much better and it’s completely redesigned on PS4. And the investment in Plus gives the user a ton of value, so putting multiplayer in there will continue to help us build the network up for our users. It’s a massive infrastructure to run this thing, and now with some of these social features there’s a lot going on.”
Sony will still offer several facets of PSN and its app services for free however, and Lempel believes this gives PS4 the edge over Xbox One, where an Xbox Live gold account will be required for most services. “What I will say is we kept everything else free to the user,” he stressed. “So for example, we’ve got 11 partner apps right off the bat… that are not gated at all. This is something our competition isn’t doing,”
He revealed that Sony has seen “significant growth” in both PSN and PS Plus activity over the current cycle, with some 150 million registered PSN accounts worldwide. Lempel believes that PS Plus will be worth paying for and added, “If you really look at the value you get from the instant game collection, especially if you have multiple consoles, it’s an unbelievable value. Right off the bat, these two games we’re giving away on day one are over $30, so it’s a great deal for the user.
PS4 is out November 15 in the States and November 29 across the UK and Europe.