According to Joystiq's sources, Sony is set to reveal a premium tier of the PlayStation Network service, labeled PSN+, during its 2010 E3 media briefing. Unlike Microsoft's Xbox Live Gold service, PSN+ will focus on giving paid subscribers additional bonuses without limiting online multiplayer between paying and nonpaying users.
Many of the features included in the premium service mimic those featured in a supposed survey released late last year. Sources tell us that subscribers will have access to a rotating list of PSP Minis and PSone Classics, exclusive in-game DLC, discounts to the PlayStation Store and "first hour" demo access to full retail titles. Following the first hour of gameplay, players will have the ability to purchase the full title; however, demo access will only be available once the entire title has been downloaded.
As PSN+ subscribers, gamers will also receive protection for their consoles with the recently announced PlayStation Protection Plan, as well as exclusive access to the long-awaited cross-game voice chat. Additional features are said to be in the works following the launch of PSN+, including the previously rumored cloud-based saving system.
Joystiq has been informed that PSN+ subscribers will also have the ability to enable an auto-patching feature, which will detect, download and install updates for recently played PS3 titles on the system.
Pricing and a release for the PSN+ service is unknown, though one source speculates PSN+ may cost $9.99 per month. When contacted, a Sony representative said the company does not "comment on rumors or speculation."