Yes its relevant. Look at console history. Online didn’t really start till dreamcast when it had modem built in with the system and even that was small as I remember playing phantasy star online. That was more like a test for consoles gamers into playing online with other people. Ps2 had it but you had to buy a mandatory accessory to play it. Do you remember that? When MS came to the picture with the original Xbox , the idea of having an ecosystem where you can see all your friends, getting them to join you and then playing online with them while you sit on the couch. They That form on online gaming never happened before and it was new and ms was the only one at that time and they had for a long time , enough to have a viable market to keep on charging. Whereas for pc it was different. What made it special was being able to connect fast, chat with people you are playing with it and it was reliable and easy to go online.
Ms did try to charge online gaming but failed as pc gamers would never pay, heck a lot still don’t pay for games and instead they pirate them. When steam came out with free online gaming, it was hugely popular and not only that the games itself is super super super cheap. Steam when it came out was the only thing to provide free online gaming with cheap games and good service and now they dominate the pc online market. If anyone new tries to bring in pay for online, all their customer will run to steam. It won’t last hence why ms had to make sure it was free. They know from their past experience and we all know how hugely popular steam is.
Now look at Sony, they tried to introduce free gaming with ps3 . Even though ti was popular, they didn’t make much money if at all. Sony back in ps3 days nearly went bankrupt and was losing a lot of money. Look at them now with paid online service. They are in much better financial state then they were with ps3. Having psn under the pay wall contributed towards.
The free service even though was good (because it was free), it was terrible when paying online as there was lag and didn’t work very well. I used to get disconnected when playing online. If you are talking about nickel dime what about sony mandatory super expensive memory cards that we were force to buy for psp and psvita? What the mandatory accessory for ps2 to play online? What about fault with ps1 and ps2 with the lens problem. Sony went to court with that and we didn’t get any replacement. We were force to by a new console that rectified the problem.