Sony is relaunching PlayStation Plus in June, but it doesn’t look like everything is going as planned. The Japanese giant’s most recent financial report shows that between July and September of this year, Plus lost 1.9 million subscribers since it started. Hiroki Totoki, the CFO of Sony, said that “there hasn’t been a lot of momentum.” Despite this, the company’s sales have gone up by 10% at the same time.
As VGC noticed, the report shows that after the much-hyped relaunch, the number of PlayStation Plus subscribers actually went down, from 47.3 million to 45.4 million. Those are still good numbers, almost twice as good as what Microsoft can say about Game Pass, but they are not what Sony would have hoped for, given how much better the subscription service is.
When PlayStation Plus came back, it wasn’t an easy deal to figure out. With the addition of three overlapping tiers that made it hard for potential subscribers to know which tier gave them access to games from which era, it’s easy to see why all the promotional noise in June would have just reminded a lot of people that money was being taken out of their account every month.
People who hadn’t used the service in a long time would have had to figure out which version of the new service they wanted, so it makes sense that they would have just canceled instead.
Even more surprising is that the rebooted offers, which let you play hundreds of old PlayStation games for a monthly fee, haven’t brought in a large number of new users. Sony’s decision to not include new first-party games and instead charge a defiant $70 for them could turn off many people who see Game Pass going in a completely different direction.
These numbers are in line with a trend that has been going on since the fall of 2021 when the number of subscribers began to go in the wrong direction. Last summer, Plus had 48 million customers. By winter, that number had dropped to 47.4 million. Even though the site was relaunched, it looks like that trend has continued, as the number of users has dropped by 2.6 million since last year’s peak.
But because there are now more expensive tiers, Sony is making more money. It went up 10% to 116 billion ($788 million), which, as VGC points out, means they are making more money per subscriber, even though the number of subscribers is going down. But if things keep going this way, that won’t work for long.
When asked about these numbers during an earnings call, CFO Hiroki Totoki said, as translated by VGC, that he thought it was because people went back outside after the worst of the pandemic and because the number of sales of third-party games and the PlayStation 4 was going down.
He added, “In the second quarter we renewed our services and there hasn’t been great momentum as a whole,” before laying some of the blame on a lack of “aggressive” ad spending.
Totoki went on to tell the investors that “very good titles” and better advertising should help turn things around. “We think we are able to recover,” he concluded.
In January of this year, there were 25 million Game Pass users, which was up from 18 million the year before. So, Microsoft is still a long way behind Sony, but its position is getting worse.
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