There had been rumours surrounding PlayStation Network becoming a subscription service, but at Sony’s E3 2010 press conference we got the full story. Rather than PSN becoming subscription-based, there will be a new service on top of the existing PSN, known as PlayStation Network Plus. PSN Plus will provide exclusive content such as demos, betas, themes and various PSN Store discounts. The core services of PSN, including online multiplayer, will remain free, and PSN Plus will cost $18 for 3 months or $50 for a year. The rub, however, is that all of the premium content you gain access to or buy via PSN Plus will only be available during the duration of your subscription. What this equates to is “renting” content, something that has met with a certain amount of resistance in the past. We will have to see if Sony clarifies the situation at all, or even backpedals from this concept, during the rest of E3.
Update: It’s actually just called “PlayStation Plus”. No network involved, except that of course it’s still part of PSN.