PlayStation 3 owners will soon have access to a raft of additional online options when a new subscription service - PlayStation Plus - is launched for the PlayStation Network at the end of this month.
As part of this year's E3 press briefing, Sony Computer Entertainment outlined in more detail its plans to offer additional functionality for a fee - although the company stressed that all existing elements, including multi-player gaming, would remain free of charge.
Among the new options - which will be available in 30-day (Japan and Asia only), 90-day (North America and Europe only) or full-year increments - will be a variety of special offers, including early access to some demos and beta trials.
Users will also be able to unlock full access to certain PS3 downloadable and PSN titles - including PSone archives and Minis - and play them for as long as their membership is valid; while other designated games will be playable for a certain amount of time on a trial basis, before needing to be purchased online.
But one of the more interesting concepts announced involved the option to schedule your console to switch on and automatically download demos, patches or updates at certain times.
The company also announced the membership numbers to its PlayStation Network had now surpassed the 50 million level, across 58 countries - making it the "most connected" console on the market, according to SCEA VP of marketing, Peter Dille.
PlayStation Plus will be priced as follows:
- 30 days: ¥500 / HK$38
- 90 days: $17.99 / €14.99
- 365 days: ¥5000 / HK$233 / $49.99 / €49.99