When things are free, in anything in life, there is a general tolerance when things aren’t 100% with what is being offered. Get a free meal at a restaurant and, if you’re not paying for it, you’ll give it more lenience if it isn’t the greatest meal you’ve ever had. If someone gives you a great new TV for nothing, you’ll let it slide that it doesn’t have as many USB or HDMI ports that you would like it to have if you had of laid down your cash for it.
What I’m leading to with these analogies is that when we pay for things we expect them to perform to an adequate or sufficient level that we are used to or to what a competitor can give us. When Sony had issues with its PlayStation Network back in the PS3 days, it was often defended as it was free so one wouldn’t expect perfection and I agree with those sentiments. It was the main difference between Sonys online network and Microsoft Xbox Live service which had been a paid service since its introduction in 2002 for $49.99 US. With the launch of the eighth generation of consoles, the PS4 and Xbox One, Sony announced that it would now charge for its online service, the same as Microsoft did. Sony announced that the cost of the service would help create and maintain the infrastructure associated with the PSN service and, if it would provide a better service, than many console owners would accept it even though the PC space does not have anything subscriptions necessary for online play. A benefit of the subscription is that subscribers get the benefit of free games every month, much like the Games With Gold feature on Xbox Live. But as we see in late Janaury, the PSN went down more than once and if it’s not impacting all off psn, it is still affecting a substantial amount of subscribers. Again in February we see the service go down once again. Problems were seen with the PSN many times over the beginning years of the PS4 but it is shame for gamers, that in 2018, the service struggles to maintain a high percentage of uptime. As a paid service, Sony should be making it their number one priority to make sure the service is both secure and reliable for their paying customers.
If the reasons for Sony implementing a paid service were to help with the costs associated with providing a better and more reliable service, then why does the PSN have so much downtime? Sony servers go offline for scheduled maintenance quite often which is in stark contrast to Xbox Live where there is no scheduled maintenance that takes the network offline. Each service can have interruptions but it seems Sonys service is constantly plagued with downtime. Never great for users, but in 2018 with a paid service, a paid service that increased by $10US at the end of last year is simply unacceptable. Sony, you are now judged by a much higher standard since you now charge for the service, have increased the cost over the years, but have failed to rectify the problems associated with the network going down regularly.
With a market leading position, a large number of paying customers for your online service and the exclusive marketing rights to huge games such as Destiny 2 and Star Wars Battlefront II, games which are based on their multiplayer component, it’s time for you to take the PSN to the next level, a level which Microsoft has been on for years. If you’re going to charge your customers to use the network then you owe it to them to deliver a service that’s worthy of their investment and time and that has infrequent down time. As it stands now, gamers all too familiar with reading articles discussing Sonys troubles with keep a reliable PSN service.
Apart from these interruptions, PS4 owners have also been constantly asking for the feature to be able to change their PSN usernamenwhen they wish. A glaring ommission from the service since its introduction, Sony hasn’t given a time frame whereby the feature will be included if at all. Microsoft charge an additional fee of $10 for a user to be able to change their Xbox Live Gamertag, a costly exercise for something we view as so simple but even so, at least the feature is avaiable should a user choose to do so. Sony really must give a time frame for when this long overdue feature is to be included and, once again, this is in a paid for service that has recently had its cost increased.
Sony, Its time to dip into your pockets lined with the PSN yearly fee subscription money, and implement the features users are requesting and providing a service that is reliable, secure and, most of all, accessible. Think about the countless millions of PS3 fans who followed you into the even more successful PS4 generation, buying your games, buying your hardware and subscribing to your online service. So pay back their loyalty and give them the service they are after.