In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, SCE Europe boss Andrew House has suggested that the company is taking a serious look at implementing something similar to EA's Online Pass -- which requires those who buy its titles used to pay $10 to play them online -- with its first-party games. "On the principle of making online portions of the game available or unlocked from the disc-based release for a fee, we're broadly supportive of that," House said. "And we're exploring actively the same option for our own content."
House admitted that such a system could be perceived as contradictory to Sony's long-running pitch of PlayStation Network's free online play model. "In terms of just a charge for basic online play, that's something that we have to talk about a lot more," he said. "We struggle with [that] a little bit because we feel very vindicated and base a lot of the success of PSN today -- a 70 percent connection rate across consoles -- on the fact that we've removed that major initial barrier to entry."
Still, Sony has already dabbled with charging to enable online play for used (or, in the following instance, likely pirated) PSP titles like SOCOM Fireteam Bravo 3. In this case, the game included an online activation code which, if already used or otherwise non-existent, could be replaced for a $20 fee.