Having To Pay For ‘Online Gaming’ on Consoles In 2024 Feels So Wrong

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Are We In 2024 or 2007? Why Are We Still Paying For Online Console Gaming?

Story Highlight
  • Console gamers already pay for the internet and games, so extra online fees seem unnecessary.
  • PC gaming feels better for the simple reason that online gaming is always available without a paywall.
  • Console subscriptions force gamers on a budget to choose between online play and other entertainment.

It’s 2024. We’ve made some strides – Mars is on our radar (sort of), and self-driving cars are cruising around (kind of), but guess what? We’re still being charged extra to play games online with friends on our consoles. Seriously?

In a world where the internet is everywhere and subscription fees are piling up, having to shell out more cash just to play online games on consoles feels old-fashioned, greedy, and just plain rude.

Why it matters: Paying to play games online in this economy seems outdated when you’re connected to the internet and already own the game.

PlayStation Plus Logo
PS Plus is Required to Play the Vast Majority of Online Games on PlayStation.

We’ve Already Bought the Game

The cost of developing and maintaining online infrastructure is undeniable. But here’s the thing: we already pay for it! When we buy a console, the online part is included in the price.

You won’t see a separate charge for it on your receipt. So, why the extra fee after you’ve bought it? It’s like buying a car and then being told you have to pay more just to use the radio. One can make a thousand more analogies about this.

The free-to-play model with microtransactions has shown it can fund ongoing development and online services effectively. Games like Warzone and Apex Legends also end up as exceptions to the subscription rule.

If I can play these games online without PS Plus, why not everything? I understand that these subscriptions help subsidize the hardware cost. However, what’s the point if you end up paying over $300-400 for yearly subscriptions over the console’s lifespan?

Additionally, console manufacturers are keen on increasing prices. PS Plus saw a significant price hike last year, and Sony even went as far as to justify it after PlayStation users spoke out against it.

Xbox Live GOLD
Xbox Live GOLD (Image By Tech4Gamers)

Is This the Age of Subscriptions?

In a world filled with Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, and other streaming services, console gamers are forced to sign up for PlayStation Plus or Xbox Live. It just seems like squeezing every last penny out of us.

It’s a financial burden that pushes people towards choosing between playing online with friends or enjoying other forms of entertainment. FOMO (fear of missing out) is a strong driving force, and console makers are well aware of it.

By putting online play behind a paywall, they make players feel like they have to subscribe just to keep up with their gaming buddies and enjoy their games. It’s a manipulative tactic that preys on the social aspects of gaming.

PlayStation Plus Online Subscription
Console Gamers are Required to Pay Extra for Subscription Services Like PS Plus.

Possible Solutions

Although this practice doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon, gamers are speaking out more and more about their dissatisfaction. If enough pressure is applied, maybe console manufacturers will rethink their strategy.

Companies could provide a free option with rudimentary online functions and a paid option with extra perks, such as exclusive content or discounts. Perhaps they can include online access as part of the purchase price for new games. That way, gamers can avoid paying extra charges every month.

Another option would be moving to PC gaming altogether. PC gaming, while requiring a separate investment in a gaming computer, offers a more open ecosystem.

For all its flaws, PC gaming does not restrict online gameplay. Have you just purchased a new game? Jump right into its online mode with buddies or existing communities.

That’s why it’s a better choice for gamers who prefer online gaming. In addition, several games previously exclusive to PlayStation have been made available on PC, with Nixxes taking the lead in this effort.

Regardless of the platform, the aim should be to make a system that’s fair for both gamers and console makers. The current state of online subscriptions feels old-fashioned in today’s gaming world, even if it ends up being a necessary evil to keep console prices down.

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