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PS4 will make $1.2bn each year from PS Plus, analyst estimates

Plus, research firm claims Xbox Live has made $5bn in eleven years

Sony's decision to put its PS4 online multiplayer services behind a pay-wall will drive consumer spending on PS Plus to $1.2 billion per year, a games business analyst has calculated.

Research firm IHS Electronics and Media said "Sony has already taken a major step towards a more profitable and competitive PlayStation business with a single but significant commercial decision to place online multiplayer gaming behind the PlayStation Plus subscription pay-wall".

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The analyst team estimates that Sony made just $140 million from PS Plus subscriptions in 2012, while Microsoft brought in $1.25 billion. This gulf in spending, say the analysts, will be bridged once PSN multiplayer is only accessible to those who pay a monthly subscription.

Xbox Live Gold subscriptions, which place most online Xbox services behind a pay-wall, has made Microsoft $4.7 billion since its 2002 launch, the research firm claimed.

Microsoft and Sony have not publicly verified the data.

At E3 in June, Sony announced that PS4 multiplayer will require a paid subscription. Sony Worldwide Studios president, Shuhei Yoshida, told CVG that the fee will "fund improvements to the service.

By contrast, at E3 Microsoft revealed Games for Gold, a new service that gives Gold subscribers two free old games per month, which has been likened to the existing PS Plus Instant Game Collection offering.

The two manoeuvres bring both PS Plus and Xbox Live closer together in terms of value added to these online services.

IHS Electronics and Media also claims that the PS4 business will be more intrinsically profitable than the major-loss-making early days of the PS3.

It said Sony's games business was becoming more robust because of "lower research and development costs for PlayStation 4 hardware, additional revenue streams from online service subscriptions and a more aggressive transition to higher margin digital content sales".

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