Since its debut, PlayStation Plus has lost 1.9 million customers
Is the service in trouble, or are larger concerns to blame?
Sony reported in its most recent financial results that PlayStation Plus lost approximately 2 million users between July and September 2022, following its relaunch in June.
The program’s subscriber base declined from 47.3 million to 45.4 million when Sony introduced tiers to the service, which at its most basic level includes online gaming, extra features like as cloud saves, and a couple of free titles each month. At the Extra level, the new tiers provide you access to a huge portfolio of PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 titles, while the Premium level gives you access to classic games and game streaming.
Sony is not entirely without hope. Despite a drop in the number of PlayStation Plus subscribers — and a drop in overall monthly active users from 103 million to 102 million — network services income, which includes PS Plus subscription revenue, climbed by 10%. This is most likely due to users joining up for higher levels.
Sony chief financial officer Hiroki Totoki revealed on an earnings call recorded by VGC that “there hasn’t been a huge momentum overall” for the revived service. He admitted that Sony had not actively advertised it and projected a rebound in the future with “greater advertising.”
In conclusion, Sony’s findings and Totoki’s statements portray a picture of a corporation going through a difficult time, with “more people going outdoors” as the coronavirus epidemic subsides, a dry games release schedule, and a limited supply of new PlayStation 5 systems owing to chip shortages. Halfway through its fiscal year, the business had only sold 5.7 million of the 18 million consoles it had hoped to sell.
However, according to most reports, the PS5 stock situation is fast improving. Sony said it produced 6.5 million consoles in the previous quarter and believed it could meet its 18 million objective. Sony finally has some huge titles to sell — and a consistent supply of consoles to sell with them — with the recent release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and the upcoming red-hot exclusive God of War Ragnarok. Next quarter’s results are expected to be substantially better for PlayStation.
The question is whether these market factors are to blame for PlayStation Plus’s dwindling usage, or whether the program has deeper issues. The redesigned service has been chastised for its perplexing, fragmented membership tiers and lackluster vintage game portfolio. It is frequently contrasted to Microsoft’s Game Pass, which most people think is better marketed: The game selection is better curated and, unlike PlayStation Plus, provides new titles on day one, including some significant exclusives – something Sony has ruled out for PS Plus.
In January 2022, Game Pass memberships stood at 25 million, far fewer than PlayStation Plus, although the comparison is not like-for-like – Xbox Live Gold, Microsoft’s basic online-play option, is not included, and the amount of Gold users is not announced by Microsoft. Because Microsoft’s information is more opaque than Sony’s, it’s difficult to determine if Game Pass is performing any better.
The true litmus test for the redesigned PlayStation Plus will be whether subscription numbers rebound in accordance with the predicted increase in PS5 sales and overall active users in the near future. In three months, we’ll find out.