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Analysts: Sony could defray costs by stripping down PSN’s free services, employ more “freemium” content

Saturday, 14th April 2012 20:25 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

As Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai restructures the firm with a renewed focus on the PlayStation brand, and looks to “increase sales” via downloadable titles and subscription services through PlayStation Network, analysts believe consumers may soon see a vastly different PSN than what they’ve become accustomed to.

Spealing with GI International, Wedbush’s Michael Pachter said it was unlikely Sony would go the Xbox Live route with PSN by charging for it, but he does foresee the firm stripping down what is free and what is not.

“I think it’s unlikely that they will require a fee, but think they will strip down the free version to multiplayer and not much else in order to encourage people to pay the fee, said Pachter.

Billy Pidgeon of M2 Research agreed, citing the cost of providing networked services, explaining Sony could “defray those costs” while also benefiting from “the currently employed freemium model,” and charging for “enhanced, tiered and incremental items, services and add-ons.” He said that the firm should also look into partnering with more subscription services such as Microsoft did with HBO, ESPN and others.

“The PlayStation Plus program provides great incentives for subscribers, and Sony can get more revenue from advertising, item transactions and specialized services to enhance specific aspects of online gameplay such as custom content and rules for use for individuals, guilds and other groups,” he said. “Sony should also move quickly to shift paid content other than gaming to the network.”

However, Asif Khan, CEO of Panoptic Management Consultants feels Sony should go another route by not “making so many products,” as streamlining the product line “would lower costs” and help curtail the company’s “downright atrocious” profit margins.

Khan also said he feels SCEA would be “better off as a spun-off company,” but Sony would never allow it as SCEA has “some of the best margins and earnings growth in the entire organization.”

Hirai announced earlier this week Sony would be reducing its headcount across the corporation by 10,000 during fiscal year 2012, the restructuring process would end up costing the firm ¥75 billion yen.

Earlier this week, the firm also reported a ¥520 billion ($6.4 billion) annual loss for the financial year ending March 31, due to additional tax expenses from the US.

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24 Comments

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  1. Christopher Jack

    Sony will not strip down what is currently available, the analysts kept shouting this following the announcement of PS+. I believe they’ll have a larger emphasis on alternative multimedia services for the PlayStation consoles though, their current offerings are a bit of a mixed bag in my opinion. Sony should be aiming for an iOS like ecosystem.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Razor

    If online play on PS4 is free I will be amazed.

    Where are those people going to go in protest? Microsoft?

    LOL

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Erthazus

    I don’t know about PS4, but Sony won’t charge for the multiplayer in PSN for PS3 because games like DUST 514 is the reason why they won’t do it.

    It’s the only thing where Sony understand something in this generation.

    But if they will start selling multiplayer in PS4, i won’t buy their system. I’m not a sheep to pay a lot of money for the online component. That’s just retarded.

    + they have the worst online service and the best one – “Steam” is Free. So i’m not sure that after 4$$$ billion loss and 10000 fired people Sony is completely NUTS.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. OrbitMonkey

    Eh, we’ll see. Free online play is a big draw for Sony, so I’m betting on more subscriber services.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Lord Gremlin

    Look, all Sony needs to do is bring EU PS store on par with US. Profit problem solved.
    As for PSN, they will never charge for online play because they already started focusing on free-to-play games. They will search for options though…

    My dream here is a PS+ feature allowing you to buy item from any region on a single account ( as long as it’s not banned in your country, like MK in Australia).

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Aimless

    Shifting existing features behind a pay wall would be idiotic and unnecessary.

    If Sony want to generate more income from PSN there’s far easier and less controversial methods to introduce, such as allowing people to pay a nominal fee to change their PSN ID.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. Clupula

    I know if Sony suddenly started charging for online on the PS4, I wouldn’t go online on the system. Probably wouldn’t even buy the PS4.

    But we have nothing to worry about since it’s Pachter saying it and the man is always wrong.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. OrbitMonkey

    @6, sad I know, but I’d like to know just how many 360 users pay each year to change their username. It’s something I’d do from time to time.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. LOLshock94

    if i have to pay then my turds3 is going in the bin

    #9 2 years ago
  10. OrbitMonkey

    ^ is that the best you can do? Take a nap chum.

    I like FailStation3, Xbox 3shitty and Nintendo Weak myself, but I’m sure theirs better out there ;-)

    #10 2 years ago
  11. LOLshock94

    turdstation 3, any better?

    #11 2 years ago
  12. OrbitMonkey

    ^ No… Writers block?

    #12 2 years ago
  13. DarkPyroZXA

    if they made it a subscription service for the PS4, I’d pay for it, as long as its cheaper than Xbox Live for a year membership, and if i could change my PSN ID i would pay for that as well, be a great idea, but these changes wont happen for a while, i hope

    #13 2 years ago
  14. LOLshock94

    @12 wtfs writers block?

    #14 2 years ago
  15. Unlimax

    F2P is the future .. No “fully” subscription fee’s sony i beg you !

    #15 2 years ago
  16. K-V-C

    sony said psn will always be free in one interview i read

    #16 2 years ago
  17. Gadzooks!

    They need to start charging and actually spend the money to bring PSN up to a respectable level. XBL beats PSN hands-down on every feature.

    #17 2 years ago
  18. OrbitMonkey

    @17, What do you care? You haven’t used it in a year apparently? Why the sore arse?

    #18 2 years ago
  19. Christopher Jack

    PSN isn’t even nearly as bad as everyone’s acting, & I also facepalm when I hear someone complain & say that the XMB is complicated- It’s stupidly easy to use, only problem is how slow it can be in-game. PSN’s biggest problem is social connectivity, the actual online gameplay is often just as good & sometimes better than XBL depending on the developer.

    #19 2 years ago
  20. Gekidami

    ^ Its hard to use the XMB when your hands are as damaged as theirs, what with all of the knuckle-dragging.

    #20 2 years ago
  21. Christopher Jack

    & I say that as someone who no longer even owns a PS3 while still frequently plays on a 360.

    #21 2 years ago
  22. mojo

    i will never pay for a gaming network.
    Thats just ridicoulus.

    look at steam. its the best service out there and is completely free.
    u cant argue that.
    so theres no foundation whatsoever to start taking money for a inferior service.
    Live is even worse.

    #22 2 years ago
  23. Telepathic.Geometry

    Well, in fairness, online gaming requires infrastructure, so although I don’t pay for it now (well, not explicitly/directly anyway), it seems reasonable to charge something for it. I certainly couldn’t say that it’s outrageous to be expected to pay for it…

    #23 2 years ago
  24. Gadzooks!

    News this morning: PSN down for 13 hours.

    Unusable, but still free…. right? That’s awesome.

    /Pays a pittance per year
    /Uses working, fully featured online service.

    #24 2 years ago