In response to the massive success of Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass, Sony has revamped its PlayStation Plus subscription service by uniting it with PlayStation Now and adding the ability to access a game database.
Lewis Ward, head of games research at IDC, said the redesign of their subscription service was “overdue”.
The new service is available in three tiers – PlayStation Plus Essential for $9.99 USD ($59.99 per year), PlayStation Plus Extra in the middle for $14.99 USD ($99.99 per year) and PlayStation Plus Premium which tops out at $17.99 USD per month ($119.99 per year). ). Essential is very similar to what’s currently on offer, while Extra gives access to a database of 400 games from PS4 and PS5, while Premium gives access to 700 games available on a much wider variety of PlayStation consoles.
While Sony is the market leader in console sales despite chip shortages and inventory issues, some aspects of their new service may turn users off. Xbox Game Pass has become hugely popular thanks to a huge database of games, including those available from day one. PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan has said that releasing brand new PlayStation titles by subscription is “not a route we’re going to take with this new service”.
Some triple AAA exclusives will be present on the service according to Sony, which announced 6 games including Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, God of War and Death Stranding. However, the lack of games on the platform is a concern, and many of the advertised games were top sellers, meaning many potential users are unlikely to subscribe because they already own copies.
Releasing games on the subscription service has proven effective in significantly increasing consumer engagement. In reference to Xbox Game Pass, VP of Xbox Game Creator Ecosystem and Experience Sarah Bond explained that “Engagement in a game when it enters a subscription increases eight times a than it was before, and members are actually spending 50% more.”
However, Sony continued to disagree that games benefit from subscription service launches and believe games would seem less important to customers and lose quality. “The level of investment we need to make in our studios would not be possible, and we believe the ripple effect on the quality of the games we make would not be something gamers want.”
By doing their best to avoid making their games less meaningful and important, they have reduced the meaning and importance of their subscription service.