PlayStation Plus Premium isn't the Game Pass competitor Sony hoped for as subscribers fall
Sony's revamped PS Plus service hasn't resulted in an uptick in subscribers
➡️ The Shortcut Skinny: PS Plus subscriptions fall
📉 The total number of PS Plus subscribers fell for the third quarter running
🙈 Sony’s revamped PlayStation Plus launched in May, but subscribers haven’t risen
🐱 Stray is the only game to have launched on day one on PS Plus Extra and Premium
📈 Microsoft missed its Xbox Game Pass growth target, but subscribers still increased by 37%.
Sony’s new PlayStation Plus Premium service hasn’t resonated with consumers, it seems, as the number of PS Plus subscribers fell from 47.3 million to 45.4 million in the company’s third quarter.
Sony revealed the figures in its latest earnings release, which showed that its subscription service has declined again for the third quarter in a row, suggesting that people aren’t rushing to sign up for either of the new PlayStation Plus offerings.
PS Plus was overhauled in May and June this year, adding two new tiers: PlayStation Plus Premium and PlayStation Plus Extra. The tiers offer a library of hundreds of games to play in addition to the usual monthly PS Plus free games.
PS Plus Premium tier also includes classic PS One, PSP, and PS2 titles, though Sony has been noticeably slow in bringing new games to the service.
“PlayStation software sales continued to be lackluster and still-declining PlayStation Plus subscriber numbers are concerning,” Toyo Securities analyst Hideki Yasuda told Bloomberg.
However, Sony shared that revenue per PS Plus subscriber is up 21% YoY, which will no doubt have been boosted by those who subscribe to PlayStation Plus Premium, which costs $17.99 a month.
The drop in subscribers doesn’t stack up particularly favorably to Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass service which, despite missing its target for the second year running, grew by 37%.
Microsoft admitted that console Game Pass subscriptions have stagnated, partly due to a lack of major first-party releases, but its seen considerable growth on PC, an area which Sony is now focusing on more.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom for Sony, though, as the company has now sold 25 million PS5 consoles (thanks, VGC). The PS5 is still being outpaced by the PS4 in terms of life-to-date sales, but supply has improved.
Can PS Plus bounce back? 🤔
In my PlayStation Plus Premium review, I bemoaned the lack of day-one releases, the high subscription cost, and the fact that the majority of titles available were already on the now-defunct PS Now or were previously given away for free to existing PS Plus subscribers.
However, I believe PS Plus Extra is a great option if you’ve managed to grab Sony’s console in the latest PS5 restock, as many of the best PS5 games are included. However, for those who are already in Sony’s ecosystem and who tend to play games when they release, there’s little incentive to subscribe.
In fact, I still haven’t renewed my PlayStation Plus subscription after it expired, as Sony admitted that it sees PS Plus Premium and Extra as added value options for PlayStation gamers, developers, and publishers – not a direct competitor to Xbox Game Pass, which frankly makes no sense.
Sony has firmly ruled out releasing its first-party games onto PS Plus at launch and still expects PS5 owners to pay $70. Those titles will eventually join the PS Plus games catalog but expect to wait up to “six months, three months, or three years” according to Sony’s head of PlayStation indies, Shuhei Yoshida.
The only way PS Plus will become a more tempting proposition is if Sony can provide a more compelling reason to join the service, and day-one releases of indie games and third-party titles would certainly help matters. However, it seems that Sony isn’t prepared to follow Microsoft’s lead in that department.
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