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Sony discusses monthly online fees

Japanese CTO talks subscription model and other payment schemes for online content

Sony has once again hinted at plans to charge for online services via the PlayStation Network, specifically mentioning the prospect of monthly fees - although for exactly what products remains unclear.

In an interview with Nikkei Japan, Sony Computer Entertainment executive vice president and chief technology officer Masayuki Chatani was asked how Sony was managing the high costs associated with running a service such as the PlayStation Network.

"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," he said.

"We can also accept payment in a growing number of ways," he added. "In addition to single-payment packaged software, there are also schemes like monthly fees or per-item charges."

Although there was little context to his answer it may be that in terms of monthly fees Chatani was only speaking in reference to specific titles, such as massively multiplayer online games.

However, there have been persistent rumours that Sony may be considering an Xbox Live style subscription model for the PlayStation Network a whole.

Last month Kaz Hirari stated categorically that current services would continue to be offered free of charge, although the company may begin to charge for unspecified new premium content and services - some using a subscription model.

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David Jenkins