Sony’s June relaunch of PlayStation Plus doesn’t look like it’s going entirely as planned. In the Japanese giant’s latest financial report, it’s shown that since Plus launched, it’s lost 1.9 million subscribers between July and September this year. Sony’s CFO Hiroki Totoki said there “hasn’t been great momentum.” Despite this, the company has simultaneously seen a 10% increase in revenue.
As noticed by VGC, the report reveals that PlayStation Plus subscription numbers actually fell following the much-touted relaunch, which saw the figures drop from 47.3 million to 45.4 million. Those are clearly still healthy numbers, almost double those Microsoft can boast for Game Pass, but certainly not what Sony would have been hoping for given the enormously improved nature of the subscription service.
PlayStation Plus’s relaunch was certainly not an easy offer to parse. Adding three overlapping tiers, with some confusion among potential subscribers over which tier provided access to which era of games, it’s understandable that all the promotional noise made in June would have served to simply remind a lot of people about the money coming out of their account each month. Given they would then have had to fathom which version of the new service they wanted, it makes sense that those who’d not used it in a long while would have instead just cancelled.
What’s more surprising is that the rebooted offers, with hundreds of classic PlayStation games available for a sub, haven’t attracted a significant new audience. Sony’s determination not to include new first-party titles, but rather charge a defiant $70 for them, could well be putting off many who see Game Pass going in entirely the opposite direction.
These figures follow a trend that’s been seen since the fall of 2021, when subscriber numbers started to head in the wrong direction. Last summer, Plus had 48 million customers, dropping to 47.4 million by the winter. It seems that trend has continued despite the relaunch, with the total now down 2.6 million since last year’s peak.
However, likely thanks to the more expensive tiers now on offer, the amount of revenue Sony is bringing in has actually increased. It’s up 10%, to ¥116 billion ($788 million), which as VGC points out, means they’re currently making more money per subscriber, even if the count is falling. Although, should this trend continue, that won’t work for much longer.
Asked about these figures on an earnings call, CFO Hiroki Totoki (via VGC’s translation) said he believed this was due to a combination of people getting back outside again after the worst of the pandemic, and declining numbers of third-party games and PlayStation 4 sales. 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 investors that “very good titles” should help turn things around, alongside better promotions. “We think we are able to recover,” he concluded.
The last reported figures for Game Pass were 25 million subscribers in January this year, up from 18 million a year before. So while Microsoft is still far behind Sony, it’s very much trending in the opposite direction.