PlayStation Plus will be required to play online multiplayer games on PlayStation 4. However, Sony says the cost will ultimately benefit the consumer.
"We decided that on PS4, because we want to continue to invest and improve our new services, we've asked the most engaged consumers in the online activities to share the burden with us so that we can continue to invest," Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida said. Continuing the service for free on PS4 would put pressure on Sony to cut costs, and that would be at odds with the goal of providing "very robust and great online services going forward."
"On PS4, the online connectivity features such as second screen, auto downloads and share features--these are one big pillar of the PS4 experience and we will continue to invest in this area to expand and improve these online features and services," Yoshida told CVG.
Current-gen gamers need not worry about the Plus requirement being retroactively applied, however. "What we internally discussed and decided is that we will continue the free access to online play on PS3 and Vita, so that's clear," he said.
On the bright side, PlayStation Plus will continue to offer the well-received Instant Game Collection bonuses, and one Plus membership gives you the benefits across PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and Vita. Having a Plus membership on PS4 will net you a "Plus" edition of DriveClub, and the indie games Don't Starve, Outlast, and The Secret Ponchos.
"In addition to that we add one digital game every month, so they get high quality indie games as well on top of what they get on PS3 and Vita," Yoshida said. "So hopefully that makes people's decision easy to join PS Plus."