Currently everyone’s going crazy over the PS4. Yes, the system itself is great. The games are pretty good, and we’re seeing a lot of ongoing series. Examples include Final Fantasy XV, (Originally Final Fantasy Versus XIII) Kingdom Hearts 3, and the ever so popular Call of Duty. Before you ask, yes I know that Sony is taking shots at Microsoft, and yes the PS4 is currently outshining the Xbox One.
All of that is fine and dandy, but let’s take a break from the hype and examine something that was overlooked. PS4 online multiplayer is not free. What in the world?
In comparison, Sony has always had the advantage over Microsoft in terms of online expense. Via Ps3, you can play online as much as you want, while the Xbox 360 requires a monthly fee just to play. Either Sony is getting money hungry now, or they want to lose a sum of their gaming population.
I’ve been hearing quite a few fans blindly accepting the new change. “Oh, it’s just five dollars a month what’s the big deal?” “Thanks to the change, we will be rid of the trash online.” “If you can’t manage five dollars a month you shouldn’t be playing video games.” Wait one second, if we’re so accepting to this who is to say they won’t increase that “low amount” of five dollars to ten, or maybe even to fifteen, and so on. Again what gives?
Many gamers are young. In fact, a plethora of gamers are still in the educational system. They don’t have money to waste on additional internet costs. Few even have money to their name. So yes, if that small amount doesn’t make a difference, then who does? During the first few days of release I can see the following scenario playing out.
A gamer goes and purchases the new PS4 system. They buy a game along with the console. When they return home, they waste little time setting everything up. They are having so much fun with their game, they want to display their skills online.
Oops, the gamer forgot you can’t play with others without paying. Cough up the cash. That video gamer pays up, gets tired of the game tosses it to the side. They don’t have enough money to maintain PlayStation Plus, and there’s no use for them to pay due to lack of games.
Thus, this creates a lack of income for Sony. I can’t speak for everyone, but majority of the people on my friend’s list don’t have the resources to maintain a membership.
So what does this mean for gamers and producers?
I feel gamers will invest less in multiplayer. The use of the PlayStation Store and other online features will continue as normal, as they are not affected. Certain gaming communities will be damaged by the required pay. Small niche multiplayer titles such as BlazBlue, Arcana Heart, and Guilty Gear (mostly anime fighters) will see a decrease in online players, unfortunately. I predict that large series such as Street Fighter, Call of Duty, Naruto, etc will remain populated.
Judging from E3, it seems like producers were aware of the addition, and games are centered around single player. The pattern will likely continue for most of PS4’s lifespan, unless Sony decides to alter their decision.
The decision may not seem that major, but I found it disappointing. For someone who plays online multiplayer a lot, I will not be paying. If I wanted to do that, I would get an Xbox.
For those planning on picking up the system, is online multiplayer a major factor of gaming, and will you pay to play with others?