Sony’s PlayTV update charge sets a dangerous precedent
Sony has revealed it will be charging owners of PlayTV – a digital television hardware add-on available in Europe and Australia – to upgrade the system’s software.
As stated on the PlayStation Blog:
“The guys at Cambridge put a great deal of effort into this update and, unlike the previous free updates, we will be charging a reasonable amount for the new features.”
I believe this sets a dangerous precedent that could have serious repercussions for the future of updates. Think I’m being paranoid? Take a look at DLC.
It started out innocently enough – a few extra levels or characters for a few quid. Then it started becoming more sinister. Extra content that would normally be included on the disc started being ‘Premium’ content, costing you extra to play the stuff that just a few years before would have been free.
Then it progressed into how things are now – we rarely see a game released that isn’t supported by a ton of DLC. Barring Final Fantasy XIII, what big-name releases are there that have eschewed DLC? A handful at most. Then look at things like Sonic Adventure, which is charging players to unlock the sections which were unlocked for free in the original release. Not only are you expected to pay again for the game, you’re expected to pay once more for features you had the first time you paid for the game.
A spin-off of the DLC obsession has introduced Project $10, which has seen those of us (most of us) who purchase games second hand unable to actually play some of the damn things online without paying another premium to unlock it. All of this comes from the seed of DLC.
And so Sony is introducing this charge for an update – a charge for a piece of hardware that only a small percentage of PS3 owners have. It’s an experiment to see what the reaction of PlayTV owners will be. Will they revolt? Ignore it? Or just blindly gobble it up?
If it’s the latter, you’ll probably start seeing a few experimental charges levied here and there for bigger updates to add-ons. To games. To the PS3 itself.. ‘Hey, why not purchase this Premium update – with cross-game chat!’ they’ll say. ‘We know these features might have been offered for free in the past, but this is Premium so offers far more value!’ they’ll throw in.
And this is without even mentioning that many of the new features being added to PlayTV are already available on other, dedicated digital TV systems out of the box.
Soon enough, we’ll be paying a fee every time we want to switch on our damn consoles.