1. LuigiV


    That argument doesn't really work as well as you think it does when you actually know you're paying for with a PSN+, XBL, NSO subscription. You're not paying for general connectivity (thank god), you're paying for the privilege to allow your online ID to be used for match making. Video streaming services obviously don't make use of your gaming account at all, so it makes sense they're not affected by the paywall (and the same is true for games that use their own account system exclusively, like MMOs) but F2P games do use your online account for match making just like most other games, so them being exempt from the paywall could understandably be seen as an oddity.

    The reason Sony (and may be Nintendo too) grant F2P games an exemption is because the paywall is pretty much bullshit in the first place (they're not covering any additional costs that don't already apply to non-paying accounts too, it's practically pure profit*) but they know that allowing F2P games to be truly free to start is a better business practice, so it doesn't really hurt them to make an exemption. The whole reason the F2P model works is because by having no upfront cost they can attract a lot of players who would otherwise not be interested to at least try the game (and from there some of them can be hooked and made into paying customers). Putting F2P games behind the paywall wouldn't be an issue for those who are already subscribed to PSN+ already but for those who aren't, forcing them to pay out of pocket for a subscription before they can start playing kind of breaks the business model. It's not a pro-consumer policy, it's a pro-publisher policy that happens to be mutually beneficial for consumers.

    *To be fair, you could argue the subscription works the same way F2P games do, where the paying customers are subsidising the free-users, but still, even accounting for that overhead, I'd wager that the profit margin would be ridiculous non-the-less.
  2. This is close, but incorrect. Matchmaking is very rarely hosted by the platform provider, mostly in their own first party games. What you're actually paying for is the ability to use your PSN/Xbox/Nintendo account to be used to log into a MP service. Think of the "Log in with Facebook" buttons on websites. Of course, platform holders are forcing developers to use their account to log in so they can have the paywall on.

    It is true that platform holders aren't hosting any games outside their own. The paywall is pure profit for them, there's no other purpose.

    Also Microsoft did require Live Gold for third party video streaming services before they were being beaten by Sony who didn't require Plus for any of it. Hell, you even had to pay for the web browser!
  3. LuigiV


    Yeah sorry, that was my clumsy wording. That's exactly what I meant by when I said "the privilege to allow your online ID to be used for match making", not that the first parties actually did the match making themselves for third parties.

    I thought that may have been the case with XBL but I never had a 360, so I didn't want to mention that since I wasn't sure. Either way, it doesn't really effect my argument, since I'm talking in the present tense. Definately an interesting tidbit though.