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Is a monthly membership in the PSN necessary just to buy a game now and again to play? I just bought a PS4 and agreed to a trial membership but do I have to continue a monthly membership to shop for games?

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TL;DR You don't need to pay to buy games online, only to play them online with other players.

I think you may have some confusion between the PlayStation Network (PSN) and PlayStation Plus.

PSN is completely free, and is just the name for the PlayStation's content distribution service: you use it to buy movies, games, etc. Technically you need to be a 'member' in that you need to agree to the PSN terms of service to use it, but it will never cost you money and requires nothing special (except an up-to-date console and an internet connection) to be allowed to use.

PlayStation Plus, however, is an optional, paid add-on to the PSN that allows you to play most online multiplayer games and gives you some free games on a monthly basis. You do need to pay to keep a PlayStation Plus membership, but it has nothing to do with purchasing games.

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  • Please note that not all games that have online play, require a PS Plus subscription. For instance World of Warships. Also note that having a PS Plus Subscription you're eligible for extra discounts when shopping (discounts vary based campaigns run on the PS Store).
    – Coreus
    Dec 11, 2019 at 12:50

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