Sony to unveil 'premium' PSN subscriptions?

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Sony to unveil 'premium' PSN subscriptions?

Postby ben0635 » Thu May 20, 2010 6:52 pm

One of Sony's biggest selling points for the PlayStation 3 is the free PlayStation Network, the PS3's online hub for gaming downloads, video rentals and multiplayer gaming. Now rumor has it that Sony is poised to start charging for "premium" PSN subscriptions, complete with such enticements as free monthly games and streaming music.

According to VG247, a "highly placed" source claims that Sony may unveil a "large-scale monetizing scheme" for the PlayStation Network as soon as next month's E3 gaming conference in Los Angeles, and that the new, paid PSN subscriptions could be a "major part" of Sony's E3 presentation — so big, says VG247, that we probably won't see another would-be Sony bombshell (the rumored PSP 2) — until later this year. (Bummer.)

Let me stress that this "premium" PSN chatter is only chatter. Then again, Kotaku points out that Sony was circulating a survey about paid PSN options just a few months ago.
Anyway, back to the story. According to VG247 and its anonymous source, the premium PSN plan wouldn't foist charges on any existing free services on PSN, such as the online gaming and video stores and multiplayer matchmaking.

Instead, for what amounts to about $72 a year, premium PSN subscribers would get to pick one free PSN game a month from a selection of two to four options, and might also get a music service similar to Pandora or Slacker that could stream tunes during a game.

Left unsaid in the VG247 story: the fate of several enticing features in the Sony survey mentioned by Kotaku, including the ability to back up your saved games in the "cloud," free access to PSOne and PSP "mini" titles and PS3 and PSP themes, and one-hour trials of full games. (Now, that would be cool.)

Sony has always flaunted its free PSN as a key selling point versus Xbox Live, Microsoft's online gaming service for the Xbox 360. Any Xbox 360 gamer can access Live's gaming and music stores with a free Silver membership, but you need a paid Gold subscription (starting at $49 a year) to game online with your pals — a service that's free on the PlayStation Network.

An Xbox Gold membership is also required to share photos or stream Netflix videos, as well as to access Facebook, Twitter and the Last.FM streaming music service from the Xbox Dashboard.

Sony has neither confirmed nor denied any PSN "premium" plans.

Personally, I have no problem with the idea, so long as everything that's currently free on the PlayStation Network — particularly multiplayer matchmaking — remains free. And assuming the price is right, of course (maybe more like $49 a year rather than $70).

I'd probably be most interested in the premium features that weren't mentioned in the VG247 story, such as cloud-based storage for game saves (so long as you can keep a local copy as well) and the one-hour trials of full games.

Would you be interested in a premium PSN subscription? How much would you be willing to pay, and what features would you expect?

Source: Yahoo News
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