It doesn’t look like Sony’s relaunch of PlayStation Plus in June is going exactly as planned. The latest financial report from the Japanese giant shows that between July and September this year, Plus lost 1.9 million subscribers since it started. Sony’s Chief Financial Officer Hiroki Totoki said, “There hasn’t been much momentum.” However, the company’s sales have gone up by 10%.
As VGC noticed, the report shows that the number of PlayStation Plus subscribers dropped after the much-hyped relaunch, from 47.3 million to 45.4 million. Still good numbers, almost twice as good as what Microsoft can say about Game Pass, but not what Sony would have hoped for given how much better the subscription service is.
The relaunch of PlayStation Plus was not 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 which era of games, it’s easy to see why all the promotional noise in June would have reminded a lot of people that money is being taken out of their account every month. Since they would then have had to figure out which version of the new service they wanted, it makes sense that people who hadn’t used it in a long time would have just cancelled.
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 big new audience. 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 the wrong direction.
These numbers fit a pattern 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, but by winter, that number had dropped to 47.4 million. Even though the site was relaunched, it looks like this trend has continued, as the number of users has dropped by 2.6 million since last year’s peak.
But because Sony now offers more expensive tiers, it’s likely that the amount of money it makes has gone up. It’s up 10% to 116 billion ($788 million), which, as VGC points out, means they’re making more money per subscriber, even though the number of subscribers is going down. But if this keeps going on, that won’t work for long.
When asked about these numbers during an earnings call, CFO Hiroki Totoki said (via VGC’s translation) that he thought it was because people went back outside after the worst of the pandemic and because sales of third-party games and the PlayStation 4 were going down. He also said, “We renewed our services in the second quarter, and there hasn’t been a lot of momentum overall.” He put some of the blame on a lack of “aggressive” advertising spending.
Totoki told investors that “very good titles” and better promotion should help turn things around. He ended by saying, “We think we can get better.”
In January of this year, there were 25 million subscribers to Game Pass, which was up from 18 million the year before. So, Microsoft is still far behind Sony, but it’s getting closer to Sony.