A post on Kotaku from late yesterday offers up a report supplied by anonymous sources that claim to have the inside scoop on what Sony will announce during this evening’s big event. According to the report, the PlayStation 4 will launch this November, its two SKUs will cost between $429 and $529, will have smartphone/tablet connectivity similar to Microsoft’s SmartGlass, and will require a premium online service subscription to access the majority of the system’s online capabilities.
The report claims that the subscription service will be called PlayStation World, and would replace the PS Plus service that the PlayStation 3 and Vita both enjoy. A key difference, of course, is the fact that PS Plus charges users yearly in return for discounts on digital content, early access to games and betas, and regularly updated free games. For the length of the console’s life, going online has been blissfully free of charge—a stark contrast to Microsoft, which has always charged users a yearly fee to get their Xbox 360 consoles online and to take advantage of services that Sony offers for free.
That Sony would be joining Microsoft in charging for online access is disappointing, but not terribly surprising. It’s no secret that the Xbox 360 has beaten the PS3 in console sales, despite the fees to access Xbox LIVE Gold, creating something of a never-ending revenue stream that I’m sure Sony would love to get a piece of. Microsoft has proven that gamers are ready and willing to shell out fifty bucks a year for services that Sony’s been giving away.
Of course—all of this is speculative until we get confirmation one way or another from Sony. And since their big announcement will begin at 6 p.m. Eastern tonight, we’ll probably get at least some answers about what they’ve got planned for their next-generation of consoles. Until we know for sure, though, we’ll just have to hope that Sony’s just kidding about that whole “charge you to go online” thing.