PlayStation Plus Subscriber Numbers Are Down, But Sony Isn't Worried
Sony expects the revamped PS Plus to draw in new subscribers when it launches in June.
Sony's PlayStation Plus has experienced a small dip in members, but the company isn't too worried and expects the service to attract new customers when it relaunches the subscription service in June. In its financial report for the year ending on March 31, Sony reported that it had 47.4 million subscribers during the quarter ending March 2022, a figure that is down by 0.6 million people compared to the previous financial quarter from December 2021.
Overall, that figure is down by 0.2 million subscribers year-on-year, although this is the only the second time that PS Plus numbers have dipped between quarters, the last such occurrence being recorded in the 2021 financial year's first quarter. Active user numbers are also down, with the March total of 106 million users showing a decrease of 5 million people from the previous quarter and 3 million members when adjusted for year-on-year totals.
"Let me give you the overall trend," Sony's CFO Hikori Totoki said (via VGC) when he was asked during an earnings call about the user numbers being in flux. "The total gameplay time is so important. Year-on-year, there has been a decline, but the stay-at-home demand was not so strong between January to February in 2021 compared to the previous year. That's a decrease by 8% compared to January and February in 2022. Compared to the end of March in 2020, there’s a decrease of 5.9 million."
According to Totoki, one of the main reasons for the decrease in numbers was due to the COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home arrangements subsiding, as the impact of the virus had led to a surge in more people engaging in video games while they were at home. This resulted in a "temporary factor" that Sony capitalized on, with Totoki mentioning that engagement numbers were still high and will likely be maintained once the PS Plus revamp is launched.
On the hardware side of Sony, it reported that it had shipped 2 million PS5 units during the latest quarter, with overall sales now sitting at 19.3 million units. FY21 sales increased 3% year-on-year which Sony said was primarily driven by "improvements in the profitability" of PS5 hardware, possibly referencing the slightly revised PS5 model that's now available.
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