Sony caused a bit of a stir when a slide from its recent investor conference alluding to a paid online PlayStation Network subscription service was unearthed by The Examiner (via Destructoid]). With thoughts of a PSN equivalent of Xbox Live Gold worrying gamers, Sony quieted the uprising by assuring VG247 that if any subscription-based service was created, non-paying users would still be able to play their favorite games online for free, as the company stated that the subscription would only apply to "premium content and services."
What could Sony possibly charge for? If they can get the price (way) lower than US$50 a year, certain luxuries like Netflix, Facebook, and pre-release demos could be worth premium pricing. As long as the company keeps online gaming gratis, most customers will remain happy. It should be noted that the subscription model is still in the planning phase, and might not even come to pass if Sony doesn't find it viable. Then again, this is the company that greenlit the PSP Go, so they probably would find just about anything to be a sane business move at this point.