This is why they should at least offer 2 PS Plus options, maybe more with PS Now built in. A Plus package with just access to online for around $25 per year, a Plus Premium package with free games, demo's, etc, for around $50 per year, and maybe a Plus Premium Now package for around $75 per year.
Some users will save and go with the cheaper option, but some will pay more and opt in for the all in one more expensive option. Overall the user base should grow bringing in even more money. This money should be spread across many sectors like hardware, software, online, next gen, etc.
While there are more than a few problems, I think the biggest issue is the lack of choice for online. 1 choice for $60 per year and that's it, and it's certainly not bare bones. If PS at least adds another option, or more, especially a much cheaper option, this should help. PS3 is the other problem.
Another question to ask is how much if any of the online price was baked into the PS3 hardware? I have to assume some cost was in there, and that online wasn't completely free, even if it was only a small portion of the msrp. While going from free online to paid probably seems ridiculous, you also got a much cheaper more affordable console right off the bat, but have to pay a fairly reasonable amount over the course of your online playtime on that console. Not to mention PS4's online is considerably better than PS3 in many ways. $600 was too much all at once, so it was spread out over years with PS4. PS was overly generous with PS3 because they screwed up and MS struck Live Gold, but they figured things out, regrouped, and presented a much more reasonable offering overall this time around with the PS4 ecosystem. It's not perfect though, as nothing ever is. Nothing in life is free unfortunately and everything get's paid back one way or another eventually.
Paying for online, even a lesser amount, would be worth it as long as the online system as well as overall ecosystem benefits from it, and could even lead to things like the end of mid gen consoles possibly. If PS can launch another PS3 esque console in terms of hardware and software improvement based on today's tech, for $399-$499, they should be able to go another 6 or more years before needing new hardware, like PS3. This of course would help devs and would mean even better things for games next gen.
I agree about making multiple PS+ tiers for different users. To me, using the Trophy system makes a lot of sense.
PS+ Bronze - Basic Free PSN Account
PS+ Silver - Online Gaming and Cloud Storage (10GB)
PS+ Gold - Online Gaming, Cloud Storage (100GB), Bundled Games, and Discounts
PS+ Platinum - Online Gaming, Cloud Storage (Unlimited), Bundled Games, Discounts, and PS Now
That's just a rough draft, but something along those lines would be easy to understand, while giving PS+ a wider reach, by offering people the ability to pay for what they want.
I don't like the idea of no mid gen upgrades. I really liked seeing the option for either a cheaper smaller console at the fab shrink, or an option that takes advanatage of the fab shrink to offer the most they can deliver. Ideally, for me, we would see PS5 upgrades at 5nm and 3nm next gen. I want the ability to buy the best PlayStation possible when the tech is ready. I never liked being locked out of fabrication improvements, upodated stadards (USB, Bluetooth, HDMI, WIfi, etc.) for years and years waiting until the next console arrives.
Options is always the best choice, whether it be PS+ or Hardware.
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Kevyn B Grams
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