Sony explains charging for online play on PS4; not abandoning PS3

By Ural Garrett , Updated Jun 27, 2013 11:23 AM EDT

Though there have been massive improvements, the legacy of Sony's Playstation Network has been set in stone this generation due to numerous controversies including hacks and shut downs. 

PSN's only saving grace was that all forms of online multiplayer was free of charge. This will change when Sony releases the Playstation 4 later this year which will require a Playstation Plus membership to engage in online multiplayer. 

Speaking with Weekly Famitsu (translation by Kotaku), Sony Worldwide executive Shuhei Yoshida said that the change in policy was simply to improve quality as games become more connected.

"The main pillar for the PS4 will be online play; We're developing many new ways to play and connect which requires a large investment of resources," said Yoshida. "Considering the cost, to try to keep such a service free and consequently lower the quality would be absurd. We decided that if that's the case, then it would be better to receive proper payment and continue to offer a good service."  

According to Yoshida, "realtime online play" would require a Playstation Plus account while games that weren't would be free. Also mentioned was that as long as the main account on the console had a Playstation Plus subscription, all other accounts on the console would be treated to the same benefits. 

Sony also remained steadfast in its ongoing support for the current-gen Playstation 3. Hiroshi Kawano, Sony Japan's president, said that the electronics giant won't abandon the system. 

"It's been seven years since the release of the PS3 and the console continues to sell at a constant pace, plus we have many upcoming titles," said Kawano. "We have no intention of immediately shifting from PS3 to the PS4." 

Kawano hopes the transition between the consoles will be smooth process for some.

"With the 2014 launch of our cloud service in the US allowing users to play PS3 games on the PS4, some people may switch consoles from the PS3 and the PS4," Kawano. "But that'll be a gradual process, and to say we're releasing a new console, so trade in your old ones for it would be a maker's ego talking, plain and simple."

The Playstation 4 is set for a holiday release for $399.

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