Another free multiplayer weekend is coming to PS4 on August 8, Sony announced (opens in new tab) today.
The freebie was revealed alongside the latest batch of free PS Plus games (opens in new tab). From 12:01am on Saturday, August 8 through midnight on August 9 (local time), all PS4 multiplayer modes will be free to play. In other words, the usual PlayStation Plus subscription requirement will be lifted. You'll still need to purchase any multiplayer games themselves, obviously, assuming they aren't also free-to-play. Then again, lots of free-to-play multiplayer games don't require a PS Plus subscription to begin with, so that's really a non-issue.
Sony usually holds these free-to-play multiplayer weekends for two or three days at a time every month or so, and it's been maintaining that pace this year. We're expecting to see a few more free weekends ahead of the holiday launch of the PS5 (opens in new tab), which may affect how PlayStation Plus is structured and/or priced.
With Xbox removing 12-month Xbox Live Gold subscriptions from sale (opens in new tab), it's looking more and more like both platforms are going to overhaul their online infrastructures considerably in the coming generation. It's possible that multiplayer will no longer be behind a paywall on next-gen consoles, and that may in turn trickle down to current-gen consoles like PS4. That's just speculation, mind you, but it's not off the table. For now, free PS4 multiplayer weekends like these are the best way to sample online modes without signing up for a subscription.
Phil Spencer says Xbox Game Pass is now unlikely to come to other platforms (opens in new tab). That may sound silly, but it was being considered at one point, especially on Switch.