Sony Computer Entertainment technology platform boss, Masayuki Chatani, has brought up the notion of “monthly fees” in reference to the PlayStation Network, something they’ve held off from doing since it was first introduced in 2006. In an interview with Nikkei Japan, Chatani said that Sony will “face difficulties” if it continues to follow the “sell-and forget model.”
“Servers and the like have running costs… after we sell the hardware, though, we continue to sell products such as content and services,” he said. “We expect to see considerable growth in digital content, such as game download services, avatar items and the like. We can also accept payment in a growing number of ways. In addition to single-payment packaged software, there are also schemes like monthly fees or per-item charges. I think this variety of payment methods will bring about a diverse range of playing methods, too.”
We’ll wait it out and see what actually happens before jumping to conclusions, but we’re inclined to believe Kaz Hirai when he says that while a subscription model for premium content is planned, the current free services — the most important thing, online play, among them — will remain free.