Sony is letting everyone with an internet connection take advantage of its PlayStation Network multiplayer services for one weekend only. Beginning yesterday, March 20th, anyone with a PS4 can play games like Battlefield Hardline, Dragon Age: Inquisition and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare with their friends absolutely free.
Sony announced what it’s calling Free Multiplayer Weekend for the PS4 in a post on its PlayStation Blog earlier this week, and understandably users are excited. Until March 22nd anyone with a PS4 can open up the multiplayer modes in their games and play alongside friends and family. To be clear, Sony isn’t unlocking PlayStation Plus completely so users won’t be able to download any of the free titles that PlayStation Plus members normally get. Still, free PlayStation Network multiplayer is a pretty big deal for anyone who purchased a PS4 gaming console. That’s because many upgrading to the console are shocked to find out that Sony now forces them to pay for a subscription if they want to play with their friends online.
Microsoft was the first to introduce paid multiplayer services with its original Xbox console. At the time Sony didn’t offer such a service but rolled one out with its PS3 video game console. The PS3 was expensive, but Sony was able to lure users in with the promise of free multiplayer access. Since it was first released, playing with friends on he PlayStation Network hasn’t cost PS3 uses a dime. The same isn’t true for the PS4 though.
Citing the need for a more robust PlayStation Network, Sony confirmed before launch that the PS4 would require a PlayStation Plus subscription for users to play games with their friends. In addition to multiplayer access, PlayStation Plus members get exclusive discounts on popular games and downloads of relatively recent PS4, PS3 and PS Vita games at no additional charge. When users stop paying for PlayStation Plus these free games stop working. Clearly, Sony is hoping that giving users a taste of what they can expect from the service will help boost PlayStation Plus subscriptions.
Sony says that PS4 users shouldn’t find it difficult to take advantage of Free Multiplayer Weekend on the PS4. Inserting the game disc or starting the digital game and opening the multiplayer is the only thing users need to do to get going. Sony doesn’t require users to hand over their credit card information to take advantage of the promotion. Payment information is required for users who decide to sign up for PlayStation Plus after Free Multiplayer Weekend on the PS4 has wrapped up.
PlayStation Plus costs $9.99 a month or $49.99 a year. Setting up PlayStation Plus directly on the PS4 means automatic charges for users once a month, once every three months, or once a year depending on which plan they choose to go with. PlayStation Plus can be paid for with prepaid cards purchased at local retailers too. Those cards also come in increments of a single month, three months and one year. To use those buyers simply take the prepaid card for the domination they want to the register. When the prepaid PlayStation Plus time is up, users simply purchase a new card or add their credit card information so that the service renews on its own when it comes due.
For those keeping score, Microsoft also sometimes offers Free Xbox Live weekends to boost the profile of its Xbox Live Gold subscription for the Xbox One and Xbox 360. Both the Xbox One and Xbox 360 require that users have an Xbox Live Gold subscription before they can play with their friends online. Xbox Live Gold costs $9.99 a month or $69.99 a year.