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As Xbox Games Pass marches on, Sony is losing PS Plus subscribers

Sony has surprisingly confirmed it is shedding PS Plus subscribers, with over a million gamers leaving the service in the last few months.

During the company’s most recent earnings report, Sony revealed PlayStation Plus members are down from an all-time peak of 47.6 million in early 2021, to 46.3 million in the three months up until the end of June 2021.

It’s the first time there’s been a significant drop – we’re talking 1.3 million here – since the online service’s inception back in 2006.

There are a couple of possible and plausible explanations for this. New PS5 owners may have subscribed to take advantage of the PS Plus Collection of the hottest PS4 games and not kept it up.

It’s also possible more people were happy to subscribe during lockdowns and increased time at home, during the pandemic, and are no longer finding the same amount of time to spend gaming in order to justify the expenditure.

It’s unlikely there’s been a considerable switch from PS Plus to the arguably more attractive proposition offered by Xbox Game Pass and its Ultimate extension, but that may be a factor too.

Also concerning for Sony is the drop in monthly active PlayStation users during the same period. The most recent three-month span saw the company register 104m active monthly users, compared to 114m during the previous quarter.

Speaking in a conference call following the data drop, Sony’s chief financial officer Hiroki Totoki blamed the drop on a relative return to normal activity and the opening up of other entertainment options for gamers.

“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 (via VGC). “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.”

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