Should PSN and Xbox Live Be Free?

Would it be the worst thing in the world if PSN or Xbox Live were free?

You’ve already shelled out for a new console and expensive games, so why should you have to stick your hand back into your pocket for the privilege of playing people over the internet?

A necessity that you (or your parents, if you’re lucky), pay out for as well. I think it stinks that it’s something else that we are expected to pay out for or be left behind. If, you’re like me, and you’re lucky enough to have both a console and a PC then I wouldn’t dream of subscribing to PSN or Xbox Live as any game that I want to play I normally do through Steam or Origin without the fuss of monthly subscriptions or annual fees.

Gaming is an expensive habit. I remember saving up enough money to buy Super Smash Bros. on the N64 and that was £50 (they probably saw me coming), but the point is that not much has changed. Paying £40 to £50 is now the norm and if you want anything collectable or the special edition then prepare to look further behind the sofa than you have ever done before. So given we are only going to have to ‘tighten our belts’ in light of all things financial, would it be criminal if we asked Sony and Microsoft to make their services free?

The answer to that rather half-hearted plea would probably be a big fat no. The monthly fees are there to keep the servers running and ensure that everyone has the best online experience. Yet I pay for my internet and I find that playing games on Steam or Origin is smooth and problem free (unless you’re playing Battlefield 1 but that’s another story). Would it be something that maybe either company would consider? Like I said before, we already pay a lot for new releases and new consoles along with any of the other paraphernalia that comes with owning an Xbox or Playstation. Gaming as a habit is not cheap so in the grand scheme of things, foregoing the £5.99 a month or so it costs to be part of Xbox Live or PSN would help quite a lot of us out.

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By making it free, I think it would encourage even more people to get online and experience the joy and utter helplessness of playing other people over the internet. Whilst paying something like £5.99 doesn’t exactly exclude everyone, it certainly stops some.

Considering the benefits of actually subscribing to an online service, you get a lot of bang for your buck. Free games to download, online storage, and beta’s to be a part of. Personally, I’m not sold on the online subscription – Origin and more importantly Steam give you a lot of benefits without the cost.

So, should Xbox Live or PSN be free? Well, technically, they already are for a short period of time. You can trial either to see if it’s right for you and for what they’re asking that’s the same as a Netflix account and that pays for itself after the third season of In the Thick of It or Dexter. I personally think that it should all be free. Especially with the onset of VR, I believe that things will only get more expensive.

Since both Microsoft and Sony are not short of cash could they not at least give it a go? Make it free for three or six month period and see how many people sign up and get involved. It could be worse and it could get even more people involved in console gaming. Both Microsoft and Sony have a horde of followers and the number people going out and buying consoles is only going to increase.

So keep it simple, make it free, encourage more people to get involved and then if people want extra content such as beta exclusives, pre-release content or something similar then you can charge them a fee, but to just play people over the internet then I don’t think we should be charged for that. If it doesn’t work then I’ll just get back in my box and be quiet.

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  • Rafoca

    Now that they both give games when you pay monthly, I don’t care anymore. And as a steam user too, I must say that live is better on every aspect, except download speed

  • Mike Jones

    the toothpaste is out of the tube on this one unfortunately….best case scenario would be a split of having a free service that only allows for online play and the ability to use any other subscriptions you already pay for like netflix and then a premium membership that offers whatever free games and other perks they can come up with….pretty doubtful i would say unless there is a big time drop off in either networks usage

  • Actually there’s a new update for xbox that increases the download speeds..my x1 always downloaded games way faster then my ps4 not sure why but ps4 is slow as hell! 10GB shouldn’t take 4hrs my x1 it’s done in 30mins

  • “the toothpaste is out of the tube” is the best phrase we’ve heard all week.

  • Rafoca

    It was always faster than Psn, since last gen, but while I don’t game primarily on PC, I’ve noticed that my download speed on steam reaches the maximum possible.

  • Tamago1

    PS Plus on PS4 is complete garbage tho. Downloads are slow, the service goes down due to maintenance way too many times, the “free” games they been offering are just garbage indie crap, not even decent indies at the very least, and on top of it all they upped the price of the subscription. Now this is some BS. Live at least offers AAA games and a much more robust online service overall.

  • Crashtacular

    Things like online storage and the free monthly games should need a membership but online should NOT.

  • GrimmyReaper

    Yes, absolutely.

    First of all, the games on both Live and PS+ aren’t really worth it IMO. They are old cheap games and maybe unless you have a PS3, Vita and PS4, the price isn’t justified.

    But the biggest problem is this.
    Both companies claim it’s for dedicated servers. When they say this and then force people to pay to play online, I expect dedicated servers for every single game ever released. The servers that people supposedly pay, are for the PS or XBOX servers, but they don’t. And if Steam not only does it faster, better and give far better deals for free, why can’t PS+ and Live?

  • cromthelaughinggod7

    A lot of pc games have bugs in it as well. The horrible thing about pc playing online is everyone hacks. You don’t see that on consoles like that. Which is why fps numbers are very low online for pc. No one wants to play cod, bf1 with a bunch of people who are using aim bot or hacking tools and you can’t kill them. I will pass on that.

  • GrimmyReaper

    What do bugs have to do with anything? I didn’t even mention that.

    And hacking on console is just as easy as on PC these days because of the architecture and if hackers are discovered, they are taken care much faster on a PC than consoles.

    See, Blizzard hosts the servers on PC and consoles. That’s why hackers in that game are perma banned rather fast. But when the game uses peer to peer servers, hackers on consoles can only be stopped if Sony or Microsoft decide to do something.

    And considering their service is still rather poor, especially cause you pay for that, hackers actually have it much easier on consoles. PS+ and Live should be top tier online gaming and they aren’t.

    Here’s the thing. Paying for online, unless maybe if it has dedicated servers, is never acceptable because it means they use peer to peer where the devs don’t need to provide any servers so what are you paying for then?