Despite launch issues, Sony claims initial market reaction to PlayStation Plus is ‘extremely positive’
The company expects to grow subscribers to 50 million this fiscal year
Despite some launch issues, Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan has claimed the initial market reaction to the new PlayStation Plus service has been “extremely positive”.
The executive made the claim during a PlayStation business briefing on Thursday, shortly after the revamped service launched in Asia (excluding Japan) on May 23 with some unwelcome surprises for many customers.
Chief among the complaints levelled at Sony was that users who had previously purchased PlayStation Plus subscriptions at a discounted price were being charged extra to upgrade to a different service tier, wiping out savings they originally made buying reduced cost memberships.
Introducing the all-new PlayStation Plus
Having been criticised for a lack of communication on the issue, on Wednesday, two days after the service launched, Sony publicly acknowledged the problem, which it blamed on a “technical error”.
While stopping short of apologising for the problem, Sony thanked users for their patience while the company addressed it. “This error has been fixed and impacted players will receive a credit,” it said.
Sony’s Ryan didn’t mention any launch issues when discussing the service during Thursday’s briefing, in which he said the company hopes to grow the PlayStation Plus subscriber base from 47.4 million last fiscal year to 50 million during the current fiscal year ending on March 31, 2023.
“We’re very proud of the work that we’ve done on this service and it’s only two days [old] so it’s far too early, but the very initial market reaction is extremely positive,” he claimed.
“I think if we execute well as we implement this service, beyond Asia to Japan and then to the US and then to Europe, the possibility for us to significantly grow our subscriber base is really real, particularly as sales of PS5 consoles start to accelerate extremely rapidly.”
The new PlayStation Plus service, which includes three membership tiers (Essential, Extra and Premium), is expected to launch in Japan on June 2, North and South America on June 13, and Australia, New Zealand, and Europe on June 23.
It remains to be seen whether Sony will address another complaint with the current upgrade options, which relates to users who stacked PlayStation Plus subscriptions before the option was disabled earlier this month.
In order to upgrade to a new membership tier, players are reportedly required to do so for the entire duration of their current plan, which in some cases run for years and require making a significant upfront payment.
On Thursday, Ryan discussed how the new tiered system will provide new revenue opportunities for PlayStation.
“The other vector of this of course is that the new service allows us to optimise not only the number of subscribers but to offer the possibility for subscribers to join our second tier of our third tier and access a range of really attractive features and gaming propositions,” he said.
“And if we do that, if we are successful in that, not only will the number of subscribers grow, but the ARPU (average revenue per unit), the ARPU of the subscriber will also correspondingly increase, so there are opportunities along both vectors, the number of subscribers and the ARPU of each of those subscribers.”
During the same presentation, Ryan said Sony will have more than 20 games ready for the launch of PlayStation VR 2.
He also said PlayStation will release two unannounced live service games during its current fiscal year, and that the company expects half of its annual releases to be on PC and mobile by 2025.