Sony: PS4 'social features' won't require PlayStation Plus subscription
While Sony will require a subscription to PlayStation Plus in order to access the PS4's online multiplayer functionality, all of the system's "social features", along with auto-updates, will be free to all users.
"If you choose not to subscribe we are still gating relatively little in many senses, so access to online catch-up TV and online movie services sit outside of the gate, for example," SCEE UK & Ireland MD Fergal Gara told VideoGamer.com. "The social features of PS4 and PS4 games sit out of the subscription service.
"Things like auto-updates on PS4 sit outside of PlayStation Plus, so we're trying to be as balanced and as fair as we possibly can. If you choose to pay the subscription, yes, you get one important element of modern-day gameplay, but you also get fantastic value in games, including the PlayStation Plus Edition of DriveClub."
As the site points out, auto-update functionality had previously only been available to PS Plus subscribers on the PlayStation 3. Gara also failed to clarify exactly what "social features" means in terms of the PS4. Is he referring to the console's video uploading and sharing functionality?
As for the subscription requirement to play PS4 games online, Gara explained it will allow Sony to "invest significantly" in PlayStation Network to help "lower downtimes and improve its performance." As a current PS3 owner, I'd gladly pay to ensure server stability and smoother connections. I'm pretty sure we're all tired of the lengthy maintenance downtimes.
PlayStation Plus currently costs $49.99 a year; existing Plus memberships on the PS3 and Vita will be extended to cover the PS4.