The PlayStation 4 won’t be offering players free access to the multiplayer portion of its games, which is a fact that some people with pre-orders might not even have realized. Sony was able to slip this news right in between the rampant E3 cheers after the price and lack of DRM were announced, so the inclusion of online multiplayer into the PlayStation Plus model is something that hasn’t been too publicized.
However, Eric Lempel, vice president of Sony Network Entertainment and head of global marketing, wants fans to know that the money is going to a good place. Users will be paying for multiplayer so that new features can be added to the Plus suite.
"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]," he said to GameIndustry International. "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."
Lempel still argues that it’s an improvement over Xbox Live, pointing to the Xbox One’s inability to provide Netflix to non-Gold users.
"What I will say is we kept everything else free to the user,” he continued. “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."
Expect more jabs and sly remarks between Microsoft and Sony and we approach the dawn of a new generation.