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Do you have to pay to play online on PS5?

The short answer is yes, you need a PlayStation Plus subscription for online multiplayer gaming on PS5.

What is PlayStation Plus and why is it required?

Hey friend! PlayStation Plus (PS Plus or PS+) is Sony‘s premium online service that provides access to online multiplayer gaming on PS4 and PS5. Without an active PS Plus subscription, you won‘t be able to play most games online against or with other players.

Sony introduced the requirement for PS Plus for online play back in 2017. This was to help fund ongoing development and maintenance costs for PlayStation‘s online infrastructure. Xbox Live Gold works the same way on Xbox consoles.

So while no subscription was needed in the early PlayStation 3 and PS4 days, times have changed. For any online PS4 or PS5 game you purchased, an active PS Plus membership is now mandatory.

How much does a PlayStation Plus subscription cost?

PS Plus is offered as a recurring subscription in 1, 3 and 12 month options. Here‘s how much you‘ll pay:

  • 1 month – $9.99 / £6.99 / €8.99
  • 3 months – $24.99 / £19.99 / €24.99
  • 12 months – $59.99 / £49.99 / €59.99

The 12 month plan at $60 annually works out cheapest at just $5 per month. Occasional discounts around the holidays can drop it to $40 or $45.

Based on Sony‘s 48.7 million reported PS Plus subscribers, they generate over $2 billion per year in revenue just from the service! That really shows how essential it has become.

What are the key benefits of PlayStation Plus?

Apart from just enabling online play, your PS Plus membership provides:

  • 2-4 free games per month – Download complimentary PS4 and PS5 games each month to keep forever. Sony gives away $1,000+ in free games annually.
  • Exclusive discounts – PS Plus members save 10-60% on digital game purchases in the PlayStation Store. This discount alone can quickly cover the membership cost if you buy a few games per year.
  • 100GB online cloud storage – Safely backup your precious PS4 and PS5 save files online. Never lose hundreds of hours of progress again!
  • Share Play – Virtually share your gameplay with a friend online through Share Play. It‘s like handing them a controller!

So in summary, PS Plus gives you online multiplayer access, free games, discounted games, and cloud storage. That‘s pretty good value for only $60 a year.

Are there any ways to get PlayStation Plus for free?

Unfortunately ongoing free access to PlayStation Plus is not possible. However, there are a few limited options to get free membership:

  • Free trials – Sony sometimes provides 7 to 14 day free PS Plus trials for new subscribers to try it out. Keep an eye out for these.
  • Giveaways – Occasional contests and giveaways provide free 1 or 3 month PS Plus codes as prizes. Follow gaming news sites for a chance to win.
  • PlayStation credit card – Signing up for a PlayStation branded credit card can come with an offer like 3 months of complimentary PS Plus.
  • Sharing – On your primary PS4 or PS5, other accounts can share your PlayStation Plus benefits. Family members win!

But ultimately, paid membership is required for continuous access to online multiplayer and other PS Plus benefits.

Can you play free-to-play games online without PlayStation Plus?

Yes! Free-to-play (F2P) games do not require PS Plus for online play. Major titles like Fortnite, Apex Legends, Genshin Impact, and Call of Duty: Warzone can all be played online with others for free.

Here are some of the most popular free games available:

  • Fortnite
  • Apex Legends
  • Genshin Impact
  • Call of Duty: Warzone
  • Rocket League
  • Destiny 2
  • Fall Guys
  • Splitgate

The downside is that the selection of quality free games is limited compared to the huge library accessible with PS Plus. But this is a great workaround if you mostly play one or two online F2P games.

What happens if you let your PlayStation Plus membership expire?

If your PS Plus subscription lapses, you‘ll lose access to:

  • Online multiplayer in paid games
  • Monthly free PS Plus games
  • Cloud storage for backups
  • Exclusive member discounts

However, you can simply renew your membership to restore all benefits. Progression and trophies in free PS Plus games are saved so you can pick up right where you left off.

An expired subscription only blocks access to benefits until it is renewed. So don‘t worry about losing anything permanently if you let it lapse for a while.

Is PlayStation Plus worth it for mainly single player gaming?

While PS Plus is most essential for online multiplayer, it can still be worth it even for primarily single player gaming. Here are some of the benefits:

  • Monthly free games provide new titles to experience across various genres. That‘s 12+ free games per year!
  • Member discounts let you save 10-60% on digital purchases and season passes for ongoing games.
  • Cloud storage protects your precious save files from loss or corruption. Never lose a 100+ hour playthrough!
  • Share Play allows a friend to try out games in your library virtually. It‘s like game sharing.

The peace of mind from cloud backups and expanding your library with monthly games make PS Plus still valuable even for solo players. But it‘s ultimately optional rather than mandatory if multiplayer isn‘t needed.

Should I wait for a PlayStation Plus deal?

PlayStation Plus regularly goes on sale around major holidays and events:

  • Black Friday / Cyber Monday (Nov – Dec) – Discounts of 25-50% off.
  • Days of Play (May – June) – Typically see at least 25% off.
  • E3 (June) – Publishers often offer discounts during this gaming expo.
  • Your PSN account birthday – Sony emails a coupon for 15-20% off.

So if you aren‘t in a rush, waiting for discounted PS Plus is recommended. Buying on sale at $40 rather than full $60 price means saving $20.

Setting a price alert for PS Plus deals is useful too. But don‘t wait forever, as you‘ll miss out on free games and online play in the meantime!

Can I share PlayStation Plus with a friend?

Unfortunately PlayStation Plus membership can only be actively used on one console at a time.

However, through console sharing you can share access on your primary PS4 or PS5 with other accounts on that system.

So for example, designate your console as the primary for your PS Plus subscribed account. Any other accounts like family members on that same hardware can play online and access your PS Plus benefits.

But those benefits don‘t extend to other non-primary consoles. Simultaneous usage across multiple systems is limited to one at a time.

Is PlayStation Plus transferrable between PS4 and PS5?

Yes! Your PlayStation Plus membership seamlessly carries over and works on both PS4 and PS5.

If you have an active PS Plus subscription on PS4 and later get a PS5, you won‘t have to purchase a separate membership. Just sign in with your existing account.

All benefits like online play, monthly games, discounts and cloud saves are shared between the two consoles. You‘ll have access on both PS4 and PS5 at no extra charge.

So no need to worry about losing access or having to buy two separate subscriptions.

Is it worth buying PlayStation Plus on PS5 in 2023?

PlayStation Plus is definitely still worth it in 2023 for PS5 owners who:

  • Play online regularly
  • Want free games every month
  • Purchase more than 3 full price digital games per year
  • Have PS4 games with save files to backup

With massive titles like Marvel‘s Spiderman 2, Final Fantasy XVI, Hogwarts Legacy and more arriving through 2023, PS Plus gives you online access and discounts for all the hottest releases.

Cloud storage is more useful than ever as well to secure PS4 saves on PS5 for cross-generational franchises like God of War, Horizon and Gran Turismo.

For multiplayer PS5 gamers, the $60 per year for PS Plus practically pays for itself. But more casual solo players can assess if it fits their budget.

Either way, no PS5 owner should be without at least the core online play enabling PlayStation Plus Essential subscription tier.

The bottom line on PS Plus for PS5

While no longer free, for serious gamers the $60 yearly cost is absolutely justified by the essential online multiplayer access and bonus free games you get. More casual single player fans can decide if the other benefits merit the price.

But at the end of the day, PlayStation Plus is a requirement now for the full PS5 experience including playing online. Thankfully regular discounts make it cheaper to maintain, especially if you time your renewal around the next big sale.