Cross-game party chat coming to PS3 (with strings attached) [Update]

Update: A Sony representative reached out to us, saying "Cross-game voice chat was not announced as part of PlayStation Plus." The feature was not officially announced at E3, however sources familiar with the situation say that this incentive will be announced at a later date. "The new offering provides subscribers features such as frequent discounts on PlayStation Store content, free and exclusive access to select games, full game trials, early invitations to select betas of popular games, and new functionality such as content downloads and updates which will automatically be "pushed" to the PS3 system."

Cross-game chat is coming to the PlayStation Network! According to our sources at the company, Sony will offer cross-game chat, which allows PSN members to talk to each other, even while playing different games. However, the oft-demanded feature does come with one large caveat: chats can only be initiated by PlayStation Plus members.

PlayStation Plus members will be able to send invites to any member of the PlayStation Network, free or paid. Up to four PSN members can be in a party chat, however at least one participant must be a member of PlayStation Plus. The chat will discontinue if all paying members disconnect.

While some may be disappointed that such a hotly demanded feature is closed behind a pay wall, the service is still technically available to free members. So long as you're popular and have friends that pay for PlayStation Plus, you should be able cross-game chat and keep your free ride, too.