Sony says PS Plus is doing fine despite 600k sub drop, and has “great expectations” for PS Plus Premium

PlayStation Plus lost roughly 600,000 subscribers from Q3 to Q4 of the 2021 fiscal year, but Sony doesn’t “see much concern” for the service and has “high expectations” for the impending PS Plus Premium revamp.

CFO and executive deputy president Hiroki Totoki was asked about the service in a Q&A following the company’s annual earnings report (opens in new tab). A supplemental report (opens in new tab) shows that PS Plus dipped from 48 million subscribers in the previous quarter to 47.4 million in the quarter ending with March 2022. Relatedly, the same quarters saw the PlayStation Network’s total monthly active users drop by five million. 

This is one of the few subscriber drops on the service’s record. PS Plus last lost subscribers quarter-to-quarter in Q1 of the 2021 fiscal year, down 1.3 million from the previous quarter – more than double its most recent dip. Before that, it lost 200,000 subs from Q4 of FY2018 to Q1 of FY2019, and 300,000 from Q4 of FY2017 to Q1 of FY2018. 

Totoki was quick to stress that while the subscriber count has been fluctuating, “the total gameplay time is so important” and has been more stable. 

“Year on year, there has been a decline, but the stay-home demand was not so strong,” he said. “Compared to that, there’s an increase by 8% quite recently, compared to January and February in 2022. Compared to the end of March in 2020, there’s an increase of 5.9 million subscribers. The stay-at-home demand was a temporary factor, but after it has subsided, it seems to me that a high level of engagement is maintained. So on a mid-term basis, I don’t see much concern from PS Plus. I’m sure that the high level of engagement will continue. That’s a positive take that I have.”

Totoki also commented on PS Plus Premium, which will begin its staggered rollout later this month in Asia (excluding Japan, which is targeting June 1), with the Americas and Europe following in mid to late June per Sony’s updated release date calendar. 

“We would like it to stably grow and be supported by users so I would like you to have great expectations for this together with me,” he said of the expanded service, which will effectively combine PlayStation Now and PS Plus into a unified subscription with multiple tiers of pricing and features.  

In the same Q&A, Totoki affirmed Sony’s plans to sell and supply way more PS5s this year, though the company is still unable to keep up with demand.

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