PlayStation Plus Reaches 7.9 Million Subscribers

Sony reveals the new figure today during an investor call; also says PlayStation will launch in China next year.

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Sony's PlayStation Plus paid service now has 7.9 million subscribers, executives at the Japanese technology giant revealed today during an earnings call (via GamesIndustry International).

The company did not say how many of the subscribers are PlayStation 4 owners (Sony has sold 13.5 million PS4s to date). However, back in May, Sony CEO Kaz Hirai revealed that around half of all PS4 owners had a subscription.

PlayStation Plus subscriptions are sold by the month for $10, in three-month packages for $18, and as a yearly offering for $50. If all 7.9 million subscribers paid month-by-month, PlayStation Plus would be bringing in $79 million per month. If everyone signed up for a yearly subscription, however, monthly PlayStation Plus gross revenue would be $36.34 million.

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A PlayStation Plus subscription unlocks online multiplayer on PS4 (online multiplayer is free on PS3 and PS Vita), and also gives users perks such as free games every month, discounts on titles, and cloud storage for game saves.

Also during the call, the topic of bringing the PlayStation platform to China came up. Sony management reiterated that they are "seriously evaluating the game business" in the region, explaining that PlayStation should launch in China sometime in 2015. It wasn't mentioned if Sony would bring all of its modern gaming devices (PS4, PS3, PS Vita, PS TV) to China or only certain platforms.

Sony said it is taking a "cautious, step-by-step" approach to releasing PlayStation systems in China, due in part to the country's various and significant regulatory bodies.

Microsoft launched the Xbox One in China in September. Its release marked the first console to be legally sold in the country since 2000, the year China enacted a ban on such devices over fears about the health and mental development of children. This ban was lifted in September 2013. Microsoft sold more than 100,000 Xbox Ones in China during the console's first week.

China is a potentially lucrative market for gaming, as a recent study showed that the number of gamers there is greater than the entire United States population.

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