Sony says it’s not worried about a recent dip in PS Plus and active users
Corporation blames decline on 2020’s stay at home boost to gaming
Sony has indicated that it’s not concerned about a recent decline in PlayStation Plus subscribers and monthly active users.
In the company’s Q1 financial results published on Thursday, which cover the three months ended June 30, Sony reported total PS Plus subscribers of 46.3 million, which is up 1.3m year-on-year but down by over 1 million compared to the two most recent quarters.
According to eight years of data collated by Resetera, it’s the first time PlayStation Plus users have significantly dipped between quarters during this time period.
The corporation also reported a decline in monthly active users during June 2021, which represents a decline of 10 million year-on-year. Sony says its monthly active users are the estimated total number of unique accounts that played games or used services on the PlayStation Network during the last month of the quarter.
Speaking in a webcast following publication of the results (transcribed by VGC), Sony’s chief financial officer Hiroki Totoki blamed the decline on last year’s stay-at-home restrictions and the increase they had on game activity.
“Of course, 104m is not a strong number, but are we looking at it as a declining trend? We don’t think so,” he said. “We are trying to analyse different elements, but there are no conspicuous trends that we can capture. Maybe this month or next month we will have to continue to watch and do an analysis.”
He added: “At the risk of repetition, may I say that last year the stay-at-home demand was so significant in hindsight, so compared to that period last year as a trend of course [it’s declined]. [But] compared to fiscal 2019 there is an increase.
“So, we will monitor the situation carefully and we will deepen the engagement and enhance the platform, therefore during the coming fiscal year we will take actions to support this business.”
Despite the dip in active users, Sony maintained on Thursday its goal of selling 14.8 million PlayStation 5 consoles during this fiscal year. The company recently claimed that PlayStation 5 has become Sony’s fastest selling console after topping 10 million sales globally.
The console hit the milestone on July 18, about eight months after its launch on November 12, 2020.
This means PS5 achieved 10 million sales just under a month quicker than the PS4 managed following its November 2013 launch.
And last week Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan claimed in a GamesIndustry.biz interview that PS5 had seen double-digit growth in terms of engagement compared with PS4’s launch window.
“Engagement on the platform is the highest that we’ve ever seen whichever way you look at it,” he said.
“Whether it’s the number of people measured by a metric such as MAU [monthly active users], or whether it’s the time that these people spend playing games. Both of these metrics are showing very significant double-digit growth compared to the launch window of PS4, the previous high-water mark.”
Microsoft claimed last month that its Game Pass subscription service was “growing rapidly”, though it’s not published subscriber figures since the 18 million subscribers claimed in January (which was up from 15 million in September 2020, according to Microsoft).