During an interview with Nikkei Japan, Sony's CTO Masayuki Chatani touches on the growing number of ways the PlayStation 3 has to accept payment, including the dreaded "monthly fees".
Last month during a Sony investor presentation, the company made mention of a potential subscription service for the PlayStation Network. While there's still nothing to announce on that front, Chatani once again brings up the possibility of monthly fees while discussing the cost of maintaining the PlayStation Network.
Servers and the like have running costs, and we would face difficulties if our business depended solely on the sell-and-forget model. After we sell the hardware, though, we continue to sell products such as content and services. We expect to see considerable growth in digital content, such as game download services, avatar items and the like. We can also accept payment in a growing number of ways. In addition to single-payment packaged software, there are also schemes like monthly fees or per-item charges. I think this variety of payment methods will bring about a diverse range of playing methods, too.
It doesn't sound to me like Sony would be charging for the PlayStation Network as much as they would be offering additional services and content on top of what players already get for free on PSN. Of course that's merely speculation.
Would you be open to paying a small monthly fee for easy access to downloadable content and items, or would you prefer to pay as you go?