Source: A report on VG247.
What we heard: The VG247 article cites "a highly placed source" with the tidbit that Sony will unveil a PlayStation Network subscription plan at next month's Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles. According to the article, the service will carry an annual cost less than £50 ($72). For that money, subscribers will get a premium package apparently centered on one free PSN game per month (from a choice of up to four different titles) and access to a streaming music application that will also be unveiled at E3.
Speculation in the article suggests that the streaming audio service would be able to run in the background while users played games. One feature that will apparently not be exclusive to subscribers is cross-game voice chat. The VG247 source emphasized that Sony won't "gimp" its free PSN service in order to attract subscribers to the premium offering.
Sony first revealed its plans for a subscription-based PSN service last November. At the time, Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Kaz Hirai released a statement confirming that the current level of PSN service (including online multiplayer and connection to services like Netflix and Facebook) would remain free.
So if Sony isn't charging for online play, what can it expect gamers to shell out for, especially with an annual £50 fee? At a price like that, something amounting to a Game-of-the-Month club might be the only real option Sony has. Even then, without must-have features and assurances that gamers will get their money's worth, a premium PSN subscription sounds like the sort of option that's easily ignored. And if Sony actually comes through with those killer features, won't standard PSN users feel like their service has been gimped regardless?
The official story: "We don't discuss rumors or speculation."--A Sony representative.
Bogus or not bogus?: Not bogus that Sony's already said it would have a premium PSN subscription and that it will be less than £50 annually. As for the rest, Sony should shed a little light on that at E3.