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Had the PS3 outsold the 360 sooner, pay to play may not exist on home systems

I know many will probably see this as a fan centric piece. Those of you that do so are welcome to do exactly that. However for all the new ways and ideas that have come along this generation in particular to grab customer money, none is more exploitive than the act of making people pay to play online. Microsoft started it and next generation, Sony will follow suit. Sony's Playstation 3 has more units sold than Microsoft's Xbox 360 now. However, it happened far too late as the damage to home system gaming has already been done. It took nearly the whole duration of the generation for the PS3 to surpass the 360, and as a result the damage will be everlasting.
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Many people seem to be under the belief that Microsoft always made you pay to play online. When in fact, that's simply not true. Ask anyone that had the Xbox 360 during the first year and a half of its existence and they'll be able to tell you they didn't have to pay to play. The problem is, because of the long time they the 360 had alone on the market combined with the vast marketing, Microsoft saw a chance at potential exploitation, and they took it. Once they had enough market share, it was easy to take online play from the silver to the gold account because the 360 was the "it" system according to the media and that would force people to conform to the pay to play ideal.

Sony's Playstation 3 has always been free to play for online gaming. However, because Microsoft has made paying to play common, Sony will be making people do the same with the Playstation 4 (with the exception of f2p games and apps). However, had Sony grabbed market share and outsold the Xbox 360 sooner, the idea of paying to play online might not have existed. It's a simple reality. Had Sony done so sooner, Microsoft wouldn't have been able to afford to potentially exploit their customers because they would have been on the backend of the sales spectrum. So making people pay to play online would have almost been suicidal at that time.

Right now, if preorders can be trusted, the PS4 is going to outsell the XB1. And to be fair, most people should want that. Because if they don't, all those restrictive protocols that Microsoft recently reversed can very easily be reinstated.

Paying to play online could have been haulted. Hopefully, we all as gamers have learned our lessons this generation about accepting things we shouldn't.


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