Here's why Sony is charging for online gameplay with the PlayStation 4
As most are aware, Sony will require users subscribe to PlayStation Plus in order to play games online on the PlayStation 4. This, of course, is a change to the policy in which gamers are accustomed to with the PlayStation 3, a system which allows online play for no extra charge.
According to Sony's Jim Ryan, requiring users to subscribe to PlayStation Plus will lead to improvements in the overall quality of PlayStation Network.
"We are making huge investments to improve the quality of PSN, and also wanted to be sure that consumers can buy the console for 399, so we felt that recovering the cost of these investments by including online multiplayer within PS Plus with its fantastic value Instant Game Collection (which will include PS4 as well as PS3 and PS Vita games) was the fairest way to achieve this."
As someone who already subscribes PlayStation Plus, I obviously don't mind the requirement. PlayStation Plus in its current form offers tremendous value for subscribers. While it's not needed for PlayStation 3, it does offer customers free games each month along with hefty discounts -- sometimes in addition to already discounted games!
It also helps that the PlayStation 4's other features aren't restricted behind the pay-gate of PS Plus. Even if you decide not to subscribe, many of the PS4's social features and apps will be readily accessible. PS Plus is only required for online multiplayer, so if that's not your bag then no worries. You'll still get the same quality service -- or better, actually -- that you do with PSN currently.