Sony might be gaining PS5 sales and ready to ship its 20 million units this year but gamers are jumping ship off its PlayStation Plus subscription service. According to Sony, the company lost a whopping 1.3 million subscribers this year in comparison to last.
At the start of 2020, Sony had boasted about the uptake of the paid service. The company started out strong with 45 million subscribers. By the end of 2020, this number had increased to 47.6 million. However, after its latest financial earnings meeting, the company says that number has since dropped back down to 46.3.
In addition to the monthly PlayStation Plus members, Sony has also seen a decrease in active players. In 2020, the company says they peaked at 114 million active PlayStation gamers connecting to the PSN. This is with and without PlayStation Plus. However, during the first quarter of 2021, this number had dropped to 104 million.
There are a few factors to keep in mind with these numbers. 2020 did mark the start of the coronavirus pandemic that saw hundreds of thousands of people embrace gaming as a new pass-time during the lockdown. Last year, Sony did boast that the lockdown situation around the world caused a surge in online users. These users then subscribed to PlayStation Plus either with a free trial or a 3-month plan.
However, now that the world is somewhat back to normal-ish, a lot of people might have abandoned their gaming hobby to get life back on track. Speaking to VGC, Sony says that while the 104 million active players are not as strong as it was last year, they are monitoring the situation to see what other trends might be affecting their gamer base.
“Of course, 104m is not a strong number, but are we looking at it as a declining trend? We don’t think so,. 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.
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. 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 slow online engagement, Sony has managed to surpass the PS4 when it comes to PS5 sales. The company archived its 10 million sales just under a month quicker than the PS4. Given the ongoing pandemic and the fact that they launched the console in the middle of it, that is quite impressive. Sony says that the engagement on the platform is the highest they have ever seen it. Regardless of the online activity dipping.