Monday, February 6, 2017

Sony and Nintendo learning from Microsoft's greed

I wrote in November of 2012 how Microsoft is the only company providing a platform with an internet connection, where most online services are behind a paywall. Namely, the Xbox 360. The only thing you could do without paying additional fees was to browse the Xbox online shop an purchase games. Everything else was behind a monthly or yearly subscription paywall, including all forms of online gaming, the web browser, video rental... everything.

Back then none of those restrictions existed on any other platform, including the PlayStation 3 and the Nintendo Wii (and later the Wii U). With them you could freely play online games, browse the net, etc. without paying anything extra.

Then Sony published the PlayStation 4 and, what do you know, they copied Microsoft's idea of putting online gaming behind a paywall. They restricted all online play to PlayStation Plus subscribers only (ie. a monthly or yearly fee that you need to pay). This was not the case with the PS3. The restriction was introduced with the PS4.

(For some reason I don't fully understand, this seemed to go pretty much unnoticed and without much protest. I do not remember any sort of big controversy or backlash for this. It might be because most people were concentrating on Microsoft's draconian plans for the Xbox One, and didn't pay attention to Sony's new change of policy.)

And what do you know, now Nintendo is also copying their idea: They announced that all online gaming will be behind a similar paywall with their upcoming Nintendo Switch. To be fair, though, they are so incredibly magnanimous that the online functionality will be free until fall of 2017! Huzzah!

Because, you know, if it has worked with Microsoft and Sony, why not join the bandwagon? It's free money! Yee-haw!

It's yet to be seen if they will retract that decision due to backlash, but at the moment of writing this blog post they are still fully decided on that plan. I predict that they will not retract it.

1 comment: