fans, but the free ride for online multiplayer on the company's flagship console will come to an end when the PlayStation 4
debuts to retail next week. In order to frag your friends online, you'll need to pony up for a PlayStation Plus subscription. It's been reported recently that the fee for online multiplayer will run $9.99 per month in the U.S., 6.99 euros ($9.40) in Europe, and 500 yen ($5) in Japan, and that's led to a bit of confusion on the Internet.
To clarify, you can already purchase a PlayStation Plus membership (a single subscription works across PS4, PS3, and PS Vita systems) in one of two available tiers: 12 months for $49.99, or 3 months for $17.99. Back at E3, Sony also introduced a new $9.99/month option, but you can still enjoy online multiplayer with either of the two other payment options. That said, pricing is pretty much in line with Microsoft's Xbox Live Gold subscription, but unlike Microsoft, Sony is only making the subscription a requirement for online multiplayer. A PlayStation Plus membership is not required to view Netflix and other media services.
Outside of online multiplayer access, there are some immediate and recurring benefits to a PlayStation Plus membership. As it currently stands, a membership includes 12 "Hit" games for the PS3 and 6 for the PS Vita for free, new free games added to the collection every month, and exclusive discounts of up to 75 percent on the PlayStation Store. It also features cloud saves, automatic game updates, and early access to beta programs. All of this helps soften the blow that you'll suddenly be required to pay to play with friends online, something you didn't have to do on the PlayStation 3.
Not digging it? Without a PlayStation Plus subscription, you'll still be able to play single-player games for free when you're not busy watching Netflix. Otherwise, you'll have to suck it up like your Xbox 360 brethren have been doing for the past several years now.