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Sony has a PlayStation Now Problem

Today, every major gaming company and its subsidiary cousin is aiming to be the "Netflix of games" in some form or another. Xbox Game Pass, Apple Arcade, Google Play Pass, Ubisoft's UPlay+, EA Access, and even Nintendo's Switch Online all bundle together access to dozens or hundreds of games for one low monthly fee.

And then there's PlayStation Now. Sony's service started offering monthly subscription game bundles back in the beginning of 2015, long before most of the competition. But a mix of confused marketing and limited access to Sony's own first-party catalog has left the service to languish with just one million subscribers (compared to a reported 9.5 million monthly subscribers for Xbox Game Pass). Despite its head start, PlayStation Now runs the risk of being lapped by the subscription competition in the market and the public consciousness.

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arstechnica.com
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CP_Company7d ago

PS Now has 50% of market share. how is it Sony's problem? so what is it game pass? apple arcade? google play pass or ubi uplay+?

purple1017d ago

52‰ upon last count actualy.! Probably dropped now as others have caught up but it's still will a murdering everybody else's services.

it's because it costs slightly more, so, profit made, is actually larger, but subscriber numbers are nothing to write home about.

Saying this I'm not sure I think people realise - you pay this money to PlayStation., to Sony... and you can play your games on PCs and tablets etc.. years before everyone else has done it/trying to do similar. People have been so hyped up about this recently.

Also interesting and sort of on mildly related topic

I must say I've had SSD in my vaio laptop for over 8years!

& my 3 year old sony phone is completely waterproof. Something just recently people are talking about / getting interested in.

Sony really are ahead of the game in some respects. Not all but I think people dony realise as they don't shout as loud as other companies.

If only I had invested in Sony stock, 5 years ago.... I'd be a rich rich man.

VenomUK7d ago (Edited 7d ago )

Ars technica: ‘Sony has a PlayStation Now Problem’ - no it doesn’t. The timing of this article is telling, it’s a response to the story yesterday where Sony said they respect their first-party games too much to give them away at launch.

ImGumbyDammit7d ago (Edited 7d ago )

Hardly. If you invested $10,000 you would have close to $30,000. It was trading at $21 this time in 2014 and it sits at $60 today. Where as, if you invested in MS that same $10,000 you would have close to $35,000 in value today/. MS sat around $42 this time in 2014 and now is around $144. So, only people that would be really rich are those that were rich to begin with (e.g investing millions to make millions). You would have been wealthier not rich.

S2Killinit7d ago

Thats a huge return on investment.

rainslacker6d ago (Edited 6d ago )

So...according to this article, not only has MS caught up, but somehow taken Sony from 50% of the market, which would have been at 750K subs, meaning the market is around 1.5 million, to less than 10% of the market, but in less than 6 months, MS now has increased the size of the market 5.5 fold to get 9.5 million subs?

Even at $1, assuming you had XBL to begin with, that's 20% of their console base. That's more than the entire market that existed on PC. That is faster than Nintendo grew the market for console gaming with strong marketing for the Wii, where they actually attracted a bunch of people with a well known and popular brand. Yet, MS has done the unimaginable, and quite frankly, impossible.

+ Show (1) more replyLast reply 6d ago
TK-667d ago

@CP_Company

No it doesn't. You're citing a number found in a Superdata study, but the data was proven to be outdated in less than 6 months. Attempting to cite it now following the PS Now price drop makes that doubly true. There is no way PS Now has retained more than 50% of market spending following the numbers we've received from MS and Sony on these services.

rainslacker6d ago

The article cites another website claiming that MS has 9.5 million Game pass subs with no citation other than it's own statement that they learned that was the case.

The whole article is flawed, because it's unfathomable that MS increased the market that much in the short time they've been offering Game Pass. We're talking from 1.5 million total, to 9.5 million for MS alone in less than 6 months. Even at $1 for a year, or $2 for two, assuming you had XBLG, is quite possible the most amazing increase in subscriber counts in the history of all service subscriptions. Something that would be analzyed beyond belief by businesses, and make huge headlines. Almost 10 million subs in a few months time? Yeah, that's logical. At that rate, MS would already have more subs than they have XBLG subs, and since that promotional price isn't ongoing, it's hard to believe that the number is true.

At least the Superdata reports line up with Sony's own statements about the number of subscribers they have.

TK-666d ago

@rainslacker

"At least the Superdata reports line up with Sony's own statements about the number of subscribers they have."

The Superdata report didn't give us any numbers on Sony or MS' subscriber count. Did you even read the report?

The source for the 9.5million subscribers number for XGP comes from a leak on VGC. If you dont like unsubstantiated numbers then you definitely dont want to use the Superdata report as backing for anything seeing as none of us are willing to pay for that info.

We also know know that XGP has at least "millions and millions" of subscribers from MS themselves. Sony at the same time anounced they had 700k subscribers. I'm not sure what your comment is meant to be trying to do. The information from the report is easily proven to not be valuable in the current market.

"We're talking from 1.5 million total, to 9.5 million for MS alone in less than 6 months"

Easily within the realm of possibility with the offers and expansion Into the PC market. This is all very weak if it's to combat the idea of the Superdata reports inaccuracy.

rainslacker6d ago (Edited 6d ago )

No, they didn't give sub numbers. But they gave revenue reports, which could then be used to extrapolate other numbers. Game Pass and PSNow were pretty much the same price for a while, with Game Pass being more expensive under normal pricing conditions, which would suggest that MS actually had fewer actual subscribers, except they had so many promotions. Superdata though was about revenue, and MS wasn't making that much revenue off game pass based on the extrapolations made from their own revenue reports for the time that report came out. Superdata wasn't wholly accurate, but it wasn't that far off the mark.

And no, we don't know that Game Pass has millions and millions of subs. Whenever MS talks about it, they talk about number of people who play games. Or phrase it in such a way to obfuscate the numbers. There isnt' a single thing said by MS that suggest they have millions of recurring subscribers. It's always about games played, or could easily mean total subs over a period of time, but not recurring. MS doesn't report numbers of any consequence....even when they talk numbers, they are meaningless, and they've been like that all gen.

1.5 million total market users, based on Superdata and Sony's own subscriber numbers, to 9.5 million for MS alone....in 6 months. SuperData is maybe off, but probably close enough for discussion. if Sony had less market share, then the difference is maybe 1/2 million, not several million. Before Game Pass went to PC. Before they had that many 1st party games day one on the system. That 9.5 million was June of this year. Not this past month after gears launched. I'm sorry, but that defies all possibility, even with all the cheap subs.

Maybe....and this is a big maybe, they had that many total subs, but no way in hell that is 9.5 million recurring subs. Even for all the hardcore saying they're taking advantage of these cheap promos, that is a small portion of the market, and most of those promos require XBLG, which MS doesn't even have that many more subs than the 3rd party unsubstantiated claim of 9.5 million.

I'm sorry, but 9.5 million in 6 months would not go unnoticed even if MS didn't report numbers. Never. It would make headlines in business journals, and MS wouldn't be moving away from MAU numbers if they had that many people with a recurring sub to one of their services. It would also show much more significant gains in their revenue earnings for services. I said MS would need 3-5 million recurring paid subs to support AAA high profile games day one on the service for the long term....at a cost that was more than $10/mth or $100/yr. When I said that, it was under the notion that they could maybe achieve that over 5-10 years. If they could get even 2-3 million in a measly six months, then that would be beyond impressive, but I just can't believe that happened. They can't even get that many people to buy their console in half a year.

I know you're smarter than to just accept these millions of so called subs as practical or even logical.

TK-666d ago (Edited 6d ago )

@rainslacker

"But they gave revenue reports, which could then be used to extrapolate other numbers."

Yes. Numbers which are now outdated and offer next to no reliable picture of the current market. Any analysis you try to take from this study is not applicable, so extrapolating anything from it, as you're attempting to do, is a waste of time.

Just because you say it "wasn't far off the mark" when it released is irrelevant. The market has changed dramatically since and it's numbers are no longer indicative of the current market or predictive of its future.

"And no, we don't know that Game Pass has millions and millions of subs."

Yes we do... We have the claim from them of millions, and seeing as you're being very charitable to an outdated survey we'll interpret millions as 2/3 million at a minimum. If Sony only had 700k subscribers at the time there's no way the revenue numbers are accurate with the potential growth MS will have seen.

"1.5 million total market users, based on Superdata"

Okay, dude. You're now wasting everyone's time. You're attempting to draw market data from a study which has been conclusively shown to not be reliable. This entire analysis of yours supports itself of nothing.

"I know you're smarter than to just accept these millions of so called subs as practical or even logical."

Millions comes directly from MS. Everything you say comes from a study who's numbers provably false in the current market. I can't offer the same gesture of intelligence if you don't understand the difference in authority in those sources.

Your entire argument starts with the assumtion of the Superdata study being reliable and accurately representative of the current market. We've already shown that's false, so there can be no further discussion if your just going to cite it as fact.

+ Show (1) more replyLast reply 6d ago
ImGumbyDammit7d ago (Edited 7d ago )

You keep propping up made up revenue (not based ion actual facts realated to Sony) . Even Sony's own admittance of 700k subscribes this past May (a year after the study) dosnt' live up to the revenue numbers. Sony has never released revenue numbers for PSNow (again admitted to by the author of study). And before this past May when they specifically stated PSNow had only 700k subscribers they had never announced numbers prior. At the time of that announcement Sony also mentioned that 700k was also 30% growth form the previous year subscribers numbers. Which put at around 550k at the time of this study. Again shows how off that study was.In fact if you calculated the subscription numbers from that revenue (a number the author made up) it showed quite a bit more then the number Sony said it had even a year later.

Game Pass is even on the most conservative estimates has it in the millions of subscribers (stated multiple of times by various MS employees) and is currently dwarfing all other services for subscribers And again I am not saying it is profitable but, it does have the largest growth rate and numbers. And like PSNow is bleeding money to gain market share. In fact, PSNow if anything is bleeding even more money by dropping the subscription in half to be more competitive with GP. And lets not pretend that operating income from that revenue (no matter which of these two services and how much) is anywhere in the black. I bet both are in the red. PSNow most certainly has been for 5 1/2 years else Sony would have not hide its numbers in their quarterly's and GP has been similarly at the very least not generating any large OI since its exitance almost two years ago, Because for two years they have been very aggressive on getting people into the service, which costs money to do so (just ask Netflix).

Meanwhile EA Access is probably the only one of these three that actually makes profit at this point. For several reasons. First they aren't licensing 700+ games (they own everything on their service). EA Access also is not paying for large number servers over the world in order to stream the games on EA Access like PSNow provides. Something at this point GP is not doing either. And if you look that very study the same people keeping showing as proof of something it shows that if you took the revenue and calculated the number of possible subscriptions based on a yearly subscription rate it was larger number (then obviously inaccurate) PSNow's revenue numbers from that same study. Oh , yeah and EA actually shows their service revenue & profit numbers in the quarterly's. So there is actually that last little tidbit.

Kribwalker7d ago

that superdata report they’re referencing is off by millions of subs, but they always try to make it true lol

SamPao7d ago

Mister. Ps+ has 40million subscribers? So thats the biggest subscription service

Automatic797d ago

PSNow had 700,000 subscribers as of 4 months ago, now it's up to 1 million on an install base of 98 plus million, which makes it a little under 1%. How do you guys figure it has 50%. Smh.

TK-666d ago (Edited 6d ago )

The Superdata study referenced spending; not actual subscriber numbers. PS Now was cited as making up 52% of the market, but it seems these numbers weren't reflective of the market at the time of release and certainly arent now.

XGP has expanded to PC, they've done numerous marketing campaigns to get people to subscribe, and MS claims to have "millions and millions" of subscribers. PS Now has dropped in price and revealed to have only just reached a million subscribers. There is no way to see the old Superdata study as accurate given the changes in the market, so while they do have data it is definitely not applicable to the current market.

Fragnum6d ago (Edited 6d ago )

@Automatic

***"How do you guys figure it has 50%"***

I think the 50% they are referring to is PS NOW market share taken from the Superdata numbers (which have been shown to be inaccurate), not the percentage install base that subscribe to the service, which you are right in saying is around 1%.

King_Noctis7d ago

Can you share the latest source for your “data”?

ScoreBunnie7d ago

50% of nothing is still nothing, Xcloud, Nvidia, SteamCloud, Atlas, AmazonGS, and Stadia aren't even out of beta yet. Most of them aren't even in beta. Not to mention Gaiken's tech is outdated to say the least...

+ Show (3) more repliesLast reply 6d ago
PhoenixUp7d ago

PS Now has more content than every other game subscription service at the best long term pricing scheme

Don’t see a problem with that

7d ago Replies(2)
TK-667d ago

I see a problem; the part where its false. Best long term pricing belongs to Humble Bundle Monthly.

Teflon027d ago

It's a sub for game giveaways, not a lending service. Though it is the best service imo. I just wish it would give Canadian pricing on the bundles so I know what I'm paying for things

TK-667d ago (Edited 7d ago )

@Teflon02

"It's a sub for game giveaways, not a lending service."

... Doesn't that make my point even stronger? Lending/keeping wasn't what the OP said; Game subscription service was the classification and Humble Bundle Monthly definitely comes under that.

SickSinceSix7d ago

That Humble Choice though...

PhoenixUp7d ago (Edited 7d ago )

@ Grand

Sony was the first major company to show that a game subscription service can thrive.

PS Now already had a bunch of first party games on the service.

Seems like you just wanna hate on the service just cause

@ TK

How is it false? You need to do basic math

1 month - PS Now $10 vs HBM $12
1 quarter - PS Now $25 vs HBM $35
1 year - PS Now $60 vs HBM $132

CaptainTravel7d ago

It says right in the description, 1 million psnow monthly compared to 9.5 million Game Pass.

PhoenixUp7d ago

When you have a $1-$2 promotion no shit XGP would have that high a subscription count.

TK-667d ago

@PhoenixUp

The part where you said "LONG TERM". HBM offers better value for it's price no matter how hard you attempt to spin this. Thinking that basic math is all you need to determine value is a very smooth brain take.

Once that year of PS Now is up you have nothing left. With HBM you keep everything. By definition, that is better LONG TERM PRICING. Want to replay that game you played on PS Now 4 years ago? Better open up that wallet and start paying again.

ImGumbyDammit7d ago (Edited 7d ago )

" game subscription service can thrive."

But it hasn't thrived. It has lost money for 5 1/2 years. Sony hides PSNow revenue and expense numbers within other accounting categories. They would not be doing that if it was anyway in the black and even noted their disappointment in PSNow revenue in several Sony meetings with investors. And finally after 5 1/2 years crossed 1 million subscribers. Which is less than 1% of the current PS4 user base. That is not thriving.

"PS Now already had a bunch of first party games on the service."

PSNow prior to this recent change with marquee content (UC4 & GOW) to be in the catalog for 3 month spurts it had actually only 4 first party games on the service. None of which were games released after 2015. By any count I don't think people would consider 4 a bunch.

gamingunited6d ago

@ImGumbyDammit

Man, you just lie non-stop, practically everything you said was made up.

The whole first paragraph is 100 percent made up.

The second paragraph is just lies that prove you have no idea what your talking about. There are WAY more than four Sony exclusives on the service.

Do you even think anyone won't see though such obvious lies?

+ Show (2) more repliesLast reply 6d ago
CaptainTravel7d ago

If Sony didn’t see a problem then why the drastic price drop? Game Pass for pc offers the best deal out there imo. No online fees, able to download and play natively on pc, and brand new titles.

I will try psnow as well but at 720p, streaming and all older titles it surely is less desirable. Of course on the ps4 it is a lot better since you can download ps4 games.

Anon19746d ago

I've been using PSNow for myself and my family for a couple of years now and it just gets better and better while the price just recently dropped. Honestly haven't even looked at game pass before. Just checking it out now and nothing is really blowing my skirt up, and only 100 games? Aren't there over 800 available now on PSNow for only $60 a year or 9.99 a month? Same price as Xbox Game pass but 700 fewer games? Yeah, I'm good, thanks.

nowitzki20046d ago

"But it has no search engine"

alb18996d ago

Keep paying for psnow and I will keep on gamepass..... everyone is happy. Options are never a bad thing.

Anon19743d ago

I completely agree. Competition isn't a bad thing. Actually, after reading this and learning a bit about Gamepass, I picked up an Xbox One used over the weekend and figured I'd give Gamepass a try. Nice to introduce my 9 year old to Halo. Playing through the original with him was a weird, sunrise/sunset kind of moment for me as a parent. :D

+ Show (3) more repliesLast reply 3d ago
Italiano12345677d ago

When u mostly give gamepass away for a dollar there should be 40-47 million subscribers. Lol

King_Noctis7d ago

One dollar for one month you may add. Unless that one month is counted as an eternity for you.

Spenok7d ago

I have bought 5 months of the service, every time cancelling it the day I subbed so I wouldn't be charged after. EVERY time I have resubbed I paid only a dollar or two depending on the deal at the time.

I.E. I have paid $6-$10 for half a year of service.

King_Noctis7d ago (Edited 7d ago )

@spenok

That’s a loophole that not alot of people know about. Your average gamer would just sub and let it auto renew.

rainslacker6d ago

You had to have XBLG to get that price.

Seriously though, no way MS is at almost 10 million subs. That's quite literally something that would make headlines, even if it was sold cheap as hell. That's quite possibly one of the most impressive adoptions speeds of any service in the history of services. All from a company which has been struggling all gen, hasn't had huge impact on PC gamers, and whose own userbase isn't even overly impressed with their efforts this gen.

The article that reported that number just said they learned that number. They didn't say anything about where they learned it, so they could have quite literally made it up, and to date, I haven't seen that being spread around as if it were true. If that article made it to N4G, it'd be failed, because the claim wasn't backed up by a single source or shred of proof.

nowitzki20046d ago

They were giving away free weeks with pop tarts as well.

rainslacker6d ago

I hadn't heard that, although I knew they had various promotions like that floating around.

Automatic796d ago

Fanboys have been using that $1 excuse for years and here we are, two year anniversary and Xbox GamePass still doing fantastic.

Zerobalance7d ago

The problems is how to make more money. As a pc player, who is not interested in console, maybe l would play PlayStation now if it where like GamePass. Day in date. But it ain't so who cares.

nowitzki20046d ago

Gamepass offers only about 50 games on PC.. PS now gives you every game thats on ps now.

SegaGamer6d ago

The difference is that I need to stream PS Now, and streaming is an awful way to play games. PS Now also doesn't even have basic features on pc, like a search bar.

CaptainCook6d ago (Edited 6d ago )

Xbox Game Pass is still in beta on PC. You can download games natively on PC with Xbox Game Pass, vs PS Now streaming PS3/PS4 games that's limited to 720p. I know which service I'll get on PC.

nowitzki20046d ago

@captaincook like you were ever going to support anything sony lol

SocialDanny1236d ago

I think we can all agree that this business model is hard to money and you need Big Money to sustain. Something Sony doesn't have.