Shuhei Yoshida says due to "large investment of resources" for online play, keeping service free would have been "absurd."
Sony has explained why a PlayStation Plus subscription will be required PlayStation 4 titles online. In the latest issue of Famitsu (translated by Kotaku), Worldwide Studios boss Shuhei Yoshida said that it would have been "absurd" to keep the service free, considering the "large investment of resources" Sony has made for online infrastructure.
"The main pillar for the PS4 will be online play. We're developing many new ways to play and connect which requires a large investment of resources," Yoshida said.
"Considering the cost, to try to keep such a service free and consequently lower the quality would be absurd. We decided that if that's the case, then it would be better to receive proper payment and continue to offer a good service."
Currently, Sony does not charge a penny for online play for the PlayStation 3. PlayStation Plus subscriptions are offered for $50 per year and current memberships will carry over to the PS4.
The move puts Sony in line with Microsoft, which currently mandates Xbox 360 users have an Xbox Live Gold membership ($60/year) to play games online and access features like Netflix.
Elsewhere in the Famitsu issue, Sony Japan president Hiroshi Kawano said just because the PS4 is the main show moving forward, support for the PS3 is not ending anytime soon.
"It's been seven years since the release of the PS3 and the console continues to sell at a constant pace, plus we have many upcoming titles," Kawano said. "We have no intention of immediately shifting from the PS3 to the PS4."
"With the 2014 launch of our cloud service in the US allowing users to play PS3 games on the PS4, some people may switch consoles from the PS3 to the PS4," he added. "But that'll be a gradual process, and to say 'we're releasing a new console, so trade in your old ones for it' would be a maker's ego talking, plain and simple."