Sony Considers Fee-based PSN

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It’s emerged that Sony, which has long touted the fact that its PlayStation Network (PSN) service is free as a selling point over Microsoft’s Xbox Live, has been considering making a “premium” PSN service available to those who’ll pay.

Word comes from Kotaku that Sony has been conducting some fairly interesting surveys in an attempt to ascertain whether or not the PlayStation 3 owning public would actually pay for the use of PSN, in much the same way as Microsoft offers a free Xbox Live Silver or a fee-based Gold membership for its Xbox 360.

What is perhaps most interesting about the proposed for-pay version of PSN isn’t just that it introduces new services (and we’ll talk about those in a minute) but that some of the current, free options look set to become pay-only, including things as simple as Facebook connectivity, which is, at best, a minor headache to use and at worst an absolute plague of worthless status updates… it seems something strange to charge for.

When it comes to new services Sony might introduce in the event that it does opt to introduce a for-pay arrangement on PSN, there are a few interesting titbits around. Among the most interesting is the option to trial a full version of a game for one hour, which is interesting. Another is an extended warranty offered on the PS3 itself, which is only more intriguing.

The one feature we’d be really curious to see is “Cloud Storage Space for Games,” which we’d imagine takes a similar form to Steam’s cloud storage options for saved games and option data. Another is Catch-up TV, though there’s no word on just what that might be yet.

Certainly, if PSN can offer something genuinely interesting then we’ll be curious as to just how many people will sign up for it. Persoanlly, I’d be on board if it offered cloud-based save data, trials of full versions of games and access to games in beta, which all seem to be on the list of potential candidates.

You can check out the full details of the survey over at Kotaku.

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