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Sony has detailed some of the changes due to be implemented to PlayStation Plus with the arrival of PlayStation 4, telling VideoGamer.com that both auto-updates and the "social features of PS4" will not require a PlayStation Plus subscription to access.

Catch-up TV and online movie services will continue to be free to all PS4 users, although an additional fee may be required to access back-catalogue PS3 titles once the Gaikai streaming service is introduced next year.

A PlayStation Plus account will also be required to access PS4's online multiplayer functionality – something Sony says will allow it to "invest significantly" in PlayStation Network to help lower downtimes and improve its performance.

"It is time to charge, but it is time to charge and still continue to deliver phenomenal value," SCEE UK & Ireland MD Fergal Gara told VideoGamer.com during E3.

"A PlayStation Plus subscriber for PlayStation 4 comes away with a hell of a lot. First of all, the subscription applies across all three platforms [PS4, PS3 & PS Vita], so if you have the three platforms then you have an instant game collection on all three. So that's hugely powerful in its own right. But it is true to say that the online multiplayer element for PS4, you do require the subscription in order to [make use] of that.

"If you choose not to subscribe we are still gating relatively little in many senses, so access to online catch-up TV and online movie services sit outside of the gate, for example. The social features of PS4 and PS4 games sit out of the subscription service... things like auto-updates on PS4 sit outside of PlayStation Plus, so we're trying to be as balanced and as fair as we possibly can. If you choose to pay the subscription, yes, you get one important element of modern-day gameplay, but you also get fantastic value in games, including the PlayStation Plus Edition of DriveClub."

Auto-update functionality had previously only been available to PS Plus subscribers on PS3, and though it isn't yet clear what Gara means by PS4's "social features", it's possible he could be referring to the console's broadcasting and video upload features.

The service seems relatively more open than Microsoft's Xbox LIVE service, too, which blocks users from accessing services like Netflix and 4OD unless they're an Xbox LIVE Gold subscriber.

Whether PlayStation Plus users will be required to pay an additional fee for access to PS3 title streaming through Gaikai, however, is still undecided.

"In short, we haven't decided," said Gara when asked whether the firm plans to introduce additional PlayStation Plus tiers to accommodate backwards-compatibility streaming. "The Gaikai developments are exciting. The Remote Play feature which we're particularly excited about not just benefits PS4 but PS Vita - that uses some Gaikai technology.

"But secondly, the full cloud gaming service comes a bit later – we announced that 2014 will start to see that introduced for PS3 titles in the US, and we'll start to see a gradual increase in consoles, titles, devices and countries involved as we go forward, so there is a plan there to bring the PlayStation experience to more devices out of the cloud using the Gaikai that will broaden over time.

"Will that be part of PlayStation Plus? I genuinely don't know. Will that require some other, different charging mechanism? Perhaps. We just haven't sat down to answer that question yet."

PlayStation 4 launches worldwide this Christmas.

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User Comments

Matr1xOne's Avatar

Matr1xOne@ Karlius

I love how fickle the fan boys are. "We will never pay for our ISP and a company to play online it's like paying twice" well yes that is right it's two different services. Now it all seems ok. Lol.

Yep - Brilliant.
Posted 18:44 on 24 June 2013
Ecosse's Avatar

Ecosse@ dav2612

Thats what I found as well.

PSN certainly (for me) was never that bad, most of the problems I had came from a crap line to my house.

As soon as I was online at a mates house with a fibre connection never really had probs.

Completely agree that Sony need to make sure that PSN is good from the word go.
Posted 13:32 on 18 June 2013
pblive's Avatar

pblive

Sony have already said they are upgrading their servers again for the PS4 and the subscription will retroactively help pay for this.

Online wasn't such a big deal when this generation started and it was Microsofts foresight which allowed them to get the edge by building a bigger server-side support in. Now that its been established, Sony have a chance to tailor their own servers to the task of bringing PS4 online with all the new features.

Change is only natural and learning from previous platforms is the way forward. Microsoft have added Bluray, Sony have added paid online and both have added services and features borne from the movements in the previous generation.
Posted 13:16 on 18 June 2013
dav2612's Avatar

dav2612@ Karlius

I'm not doubting your facts but I can only go on my own experiences and from the time I've spent on PSN, I've not had issues with online play. I just don't find it as bad as it is made out to be.

As I said, I don't spend a great deal of time online but I've played some big and busy games on PSN without issue i.e. Blops, the last 2 Criterion NFS games, Grid 2 and Motorstorm Apocalypse. I also spent a lot of time online with Motorostorm Arctic Edge on the PSP and it ran surprisingly well too.

Ultimately, I don't think we should expect a free service to match a paid for service but next gen Sony will need to justify that cost with improvements to bridge the gaps that people experience. As an anti-social gamer, it's not likely to affect me much either way.
Posted 10:59 on 18 June 2013
Karlius's Avatar

Karlius@ dav2612

COD is the best example of a game that runs to a substandard level on PSN. Matchmaking is terrible and so is latency and drop outs. On my 16mbps network PSN continually drops out and 360 runs cleanly time after time. The busier the time of day the worse PSN gets.

Why is COD a good example?
Well it's because the game is most played on both consoles and therefore the most used and the most likely to get bandwidth problems.

Why is that significant to other games on PS4?
With the introduction of numerous other streams and utilities including the new sharing service and the obvious increase in gaming volume of traffic (The size of information used to console to server and back) to play the games online this will effect most games but the most popular will become over-saturated quickly and bombing out will happen regularly.

When I run a snooper on my line I can see that Live was running at full capacity and able to utilise all of my bandwidth however PSN wasn't able to utilise the full stream. Download speeds were significantly reduced especially as you say for updates. This was obviously used to push more of their bandwidth to multiplayer. But even when playing online I could see the activity was sporadic at best.
Posted 10:43 on 18 June 2013
dav2612's Avatar

dav2612@ Karlius

I read a lot of criticism about PSN's service and whilst download speeds were always faster on Live, I can't say I've ever experienced any of these lags and drop outs that are mentioned. Admittedly I'm not the biggest online user but I've had my moments (e.g. COD on Live and Motorstorm Apocalypse on PSN) but from my experiences they have been on par in that sense.
Posted 10:18 on 18 June 2013
Karlius's Avatar

Karlius

People are getting a little confused. MS Live infrastructure is far far superior to PSN now. Paying for Multiplayer online is something I have said they would need to do to improve the service since the start of the PS3. Now they launch a new console and start off this subscription hidden after cost of the console announcement.

I love how fickle the fan boys are. "We will never pay for our ISP and a company to play online it's like paying twice" well yes that is right it's two different services. Now it all seems ok. Lol.

MS has had a massive lead over PSN which has now significantly increased. They have used the funding to improve Live significantly and day one the whole dynamic will change. You are all thinking about DRM now but you'll soon be experiencing lag and drop outs on an over saturated system with improvement coming all too late. While Xbox Live users will get a clean secure service improved with 300,000+ servers that has been built ready for a new generation and will only improve over time. This is what MS are good at and nobody can deny that.

You may argue and groan but I won't listen as I am right on this and will be proven so! Drop outs and a second rate service was fine when it was free but now you'll be paying good luck PS4 owners!
Posted 10:13 on 18 June 2013
Lillypaw's Avatar

Lillypaw@ KamSage

atm Rayman and Uncharted are free on PSN+ in UK it now £149 for wifi with Big Littleplanet, Soul Sacrifice or Uncharted. So I got Soul and got Uncharted for free on PSN+
Posted 08:01 on 18 June 2013
Lillypaw's Avatar

Lillypaw

If you Buying PS4 only makes sense to my to have the sub and atm there are loads of 30 day free trial's that don't expire till 31/12/13 so get one of them and try it out when ps4 launches. I've already bought vita to remote play etc and got uncharted and rayman for free thats £50 of games in first week of PSN+ and it only cost me £39.99 for rest of year.

Seems like a WIN WIN to me they invest it in better servers or more of them meaning all the MMO's etc run smooth I'm happy to pay it. Thou I had XBL and in 6 years + I got 2 Kinect games and 1 film free that's it already got more from PSN+
Posted 07:51 on 18 June 2013
mikey126's Avatar

mikey126

so they give me a bunch of crap i dont want for free and charge me to play games...yay?
Posted 06:40 on 18 June 2013
alphafour's Avatar

alphafour

I think any sane person would see that Sony are being quite reasonable even without being compared to Microsoft and their X1/XBL policies.

Microsoft: "You have to pay us to access online multiplayer and a lot of the streaming services... MUWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH"

Sony: "You can access all the streaming stuff for free but we can't afford to give you online multiplayer for free anymore without jeopardising the entire experience... but as a sorry and a thank you for being our loyal customers.. HERE IS A ***** LOAD OF GAMES TO PLAY!"

That's really how it feels from where I stand. I've never really been a fanboy either way I liked both the 360 and the PS3 for different reasons.

There's really nothing to like about Xbox One for me. I never bought a Kinect when I had an Xbox 360 and I don't plan on buying into Kinect now. I'm bored of Halo.. I don't like fighting games.. Forza is.. meh alright.. I don't want Microsoft to so closely dictate what I can and cannot do with my console. Hardly any of the exclusives looked amazing (apart from Quantum Break) and a lot of them will probably reach PS4 eventually.

Perhaps Microsoft is trying to "bring us into the future" but I'm more than happy with the present for another five years or so.
Posted 23:51 on 17 June 2013
Endless's Avatar

Endless@ SATEXAS210

You get what you pay for. You might have been happy with SOny's shoddy implementation on PS3; A lot of people weren't. The only way to improve a service is to put resources into it. Resources cost money.

I too would have liked them to keep it free, I would have accepted a lesser service if it remained free because I dont have the spare funds to pay to access something I get for free outside of consoles. So while I would have liked them to foot the bill for the improvements, it's unlikely to be sustainable as more and more people use the service.
Posted 22:16 on 17 June 2013
SATEXAS210's Avatar

SATEXAS210

LOL PAY FOR THAT ONLINE multiplayer functionality LOL OH WE GET FREE SOCIAL UPDATES SO YOU STILL HAVE TO PAY FOR MULTIPLAYER
Posted 19:39 on 17 June 2013
CoffeeJezus's Avatar

CoffeeJezus

Kam, I feel similarly, purely because there are these free games and it would be ace to put them to good use. I missed the used price drop to £100 that Game did the other week, although they are doing the Console [new] + Soul Sacrifice for £150, which isn't too bad.
Posted 19:06 on 17 June 2013
FamousImposter's Avatar

FamousImposter

I have to say from coming for the xbox side for almost 8 years. I am happy what you guys have done.I switched from xbox to ps3 and January and haven't looked back. I think you guys came out the gate strong and Microsoft wasn't ready for you. Already have more pre orders than Microsoft. Keep up the good work.
Posted 19:02 on 17 June 2013