PlayStation Plus, the premium PlayStation Network service that provides subscribers with a rotating library of free games and other digital benefits, will play a "prominent role" in PlayStation 4, Sony has confirmed.
In an interview with Sony Computer Entertainment Europe PlayStation Blog manager Fred Dutton (remember him?), SCEE boss Jim Ryan said PS Plus take-up has trebled over the last 12 months - and Sony is keen to keep the momentum up for the release of its next-generation console.
"We're very happy with the service that we've been able to offer with PS Plus," he said.
"It's been really well received - the value is quite extraordinary and the take-up has trebled over the course of the past year.
"We definitely see that as a core part of the way forward. We're not yet in a position to disclose our plans for the future of PlayStation Plus, but there will definitely be a prominent role to play for it in the PlayStation 4 landscape."
Meanwhile, Ryan said SCEE will continue to work towards achieving parity for the EU PlayStation Store compared to the US and Japanese PlayStation Stores.
SCEE has endured criticism over the EU Store, which has seen content delayed and, in some cases, such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, not released at all.
"I think we're getting a lot better and are a lot tighter than at any point in our history in having a coordinated approach across Europe, and also with colleagues in the US and Japan," Ryan said.
"I think we get a little better with every year that passes, with every major release that passes. We localise into more and more languages, which we see as really important in maintaining the strong market share that we have in continental Europe - which we intend to preserve."
With Sony's recent announcement of the PS4, due out "holiday 2013", the PlayStation 3 has found itself somewhat overshadowed.
"Where does the PlayStation 4 announcement leave PlayStation 3?" Dutton asked.
"Typically history can help us only so far here," Ryan replied. "We're actually still selling PS2s in regions such as the Middle East seven years after we introduced PS3. There are a number of reasons why the transition might be a bit more accelerated this time round, but PS3 is a very important part of our portfolio, certainly in 2013, 2014 and probably beyond that."
Ryan pointed to the PS3's list of upcoming games, which includes God of War: Ascension, The Last of Us and Beyond - but didn't mention Gran Turismo 6 as his colleague Michael Denny did.
"And there's other stuff yet to be announced, which is highly significant too," Ryan added, perhaps alluding to GT6.
""There's a lot coming on PS3 and it's going to be very important to us for some time yet."