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Sony to Charge Monthly Fees For Online PlayStation 4 Gaming

PlayStation 4: The Smackdown
PlayStation 4 goes on sale next week in the U.S.

Users will have to pay $9.99 monthly or $49.99 annually, to play multiplayer online games on the system, which goes on sale this month in the U.S. and Europe.

TOKYO -- Gamers on the Sony PlayStation 4 (PS4) will have to pay monthly fees to play games against online opponents on the new console through its PlayStation Plus portal.

The PS4 goes on sale on Nov. 15 in the U.S. for $399, on Nov. 29 in Europe for €399, and on Feb. 22, 2014 in Japan for 39,980 yen.

Online gaming on the PS3 and portable PS Vita consoles are currently free. Monthly charges in the U.S. will be $9.99 monthly, $17.99 for three months or $49.99 for a year. The monthly fee in Europe will be €6.99, with similar discounts for longer plans. In Japan, the monthly fees are set to be 500 yen.

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A spokesperson for Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI) in Tokyo confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that multiplayer online gaming for the PS4 would only be available through PlayStation Plus.

PlayStation Plus is expected to deliver more social network functionality and an enhanced online playing experience, such as chat with opponents, which is already available on the rival Microsoft Xbox Live platform.   

The SCEI division last week announced a loss of $8 million (800 million yen) for the second quarter, on a price cut for the PS Vita and lower sales of the PS3 before the launch of the new console.

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According to the SCEI spokesperson, 80 to 90 percent of PS3 players currently access the Internet through their consoles, though the company doesn’t provide figures as to how many play multiplayer online games. With much of the casual gaming market shifting to playing on smartphones and tablets, Sony and Microsoft will have to look at ways to increase revenue from their hardcore gamers.

Twitter: @GavinJBlair