Xbox started the tradition of locking online pay behind a paywall. When Sony and Nintendo both had free online, Microsoft continually marketed their paid online as superior to Sony's free online when it in fact wasn't. They did this so long that both Sony and Nintendo eventually decided to offer paid online.
But hey guys! Lack of Crossplay is pure evil, and MS is the good guys for implementing Crossplay, and is only looking out for the consumer, unlike that evil, evil Sony Corp!
I seem to remember some of my PS2 games having a monthly fee for online play. (not sure) I wouldn't exactly remember because my dad paid for everything back then and even set up the online for me. He would take things like that out of my allowance.
Also, Nintendo's "free" online hasn't ever really had any features that stacked up to Xbox, especially when it was free. I remember the Wii online being the most laggy mess I ever experienced in gaming.