The PlayStation Network, currently free to all PlayStation 3 and PSP owners, is to see "paid subscriptions" in the near future, Sony has revealed.
The news comes via a recent Sony investor conference, where one powerpoint slide listed "new revenue stream from subscription" as a feature headed to PSN.
Update: As the internet went bonkers at the prospect, Sony head honcho Kaz Harai has stepped in to clarify what this means and DON'T PANIC gamers, it doesn't refer to pay-to-play.
Hirai told CVG: "SCE will further increase sales by offering users new entertainment through the combination of hardware, software, peripheral and PlayStation Network. Especially in the on-line area, we are studying the possibility of introducing a subscription model, offering premium content and services, in addition to the current free services."
Panic over, PSN will remain free for your usual everyday frag fests, it's just premium services and content that you might have to shell out for, much as you do across the wider internet and well, just about everywhere.
PSN = still free for gaming.