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Opinion Business Platform Sony says it’s not worried about a recent dip in PS Plus and active users

IbizaPocholo

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ibiza

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.

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.”

 

SlimySnake

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So 10 million people just stopped playing video games even though they just sold 10 million PS5s?

Their revenue was down 15% from Q1 of last year and that reflects these numbers. MS's revenue was down 6% even though they had no big releases like Sony did with Returnal and Ratchet. I would say its cause for concern.

Do we know Nintendo's Q1 numbers compared to last year? Warzone, FF7 and TLOU2 were big sellers for Sony in Q1 last year, but the drop from Q4 to Q1 is a bit weird because Sony had nothing launch in Q4. So what kept 109 million people engaged between Jan and March? And why didnt Xbox see a similar drop?

I wonder if 100 million is simply the ceiling for consoles. I know they all want to sell billions of consoles but the console market averages out to 100 million every gen. 104 million active users is still pretty amazing in the grand scheme of things but I dont see much growth after this.

EDIT:
Nintendo released their numbers today. Revenue down 10%
So
MS down 6%
Sony 15%
Nintendo 10%
 
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Onironauta

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At what price?
I mean it makes sense, but you cannot merge users from one day to the next one. It takes years.
They should at least decrease the price for people who subscribe to both services. It should be slightly cheaper than Xbox Gamepass
 

reksveks

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Do we know Nintendo's Q1 numbers compared to last year?

Nintendo is tomorrow morning


Also expecting a drop in rev YoY of 4%. I do wonder how that breaks down in terms of hardware vs content. Hardware is going to look like rubbish compared to ps5.
 
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SlimySnake

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Nintendo is tomorrow morning


Also expecting a drop in rev YoY of 4%. I do wonder how that breaks down in terms of hardware vs content. Hardware is going to look like rubbish compared to ps5.
Yeah, I remember the stock shortage last year when I was trying to buy a switch lite for my son. Had to rush to a target like 20 miles away one morning after a friend told me they had some in stock. Now I see them everywhere even the Ring Adventure games are just sitting there on store shelves.

Nintendo also had Animal Crossing last Spring so i am expecting a bigger drop than just 4%. MS said that they made up the sales drop thanks to better gamepass numbers and we see the Sony wasnt able to do that despite two AAA game sales, and Nintendo has no gamepass or any big releases so I dont know. I do remember lots of people lining up to buy Pokemon Go the day Returnal came out but thats no Animal Crossing.
 

DenchDeckard

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I don't quite get how you can sell so many consoles and see such a drop in subs and software sales. Also a huge drop in active users. So people are buying the ps5 not subbing or buying games and also not playing the console?

Like wtf?
 

elliot5

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People are likely going on vacation, getting out of the house, going back to work, whatever the reason they're not spending as much time at home. They may be unsubscribing because PS+ offerings haven't been great or their year sub they bought is expiring and they aren't resubbing.. playing more F2P games than paid stuff, who knows. I'm sure Sony will do fine and it'll increase again once COD and Battlefield launch lol
 

SlimySnake

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I don't quite get how you can sell so many consoles and see such a drop in subs and software sales. Also a huge drop in active users. So people are buying the ps5 not subbing or buying games and also not playing the console?

Like wtf?
I had the same thought when MS posted a 6% drop last week. It makes zero sense. They should NOT be bleeding users when they are selling new consoles at a record breaking pace.

But Q1 of last year was different. Everyone was home with nothing to fucking do and it seems they all poured stimulus money into games. I think parents got sick of their kids being home all day and went out and bought them games and consoles. I know I did.

MS didnt reveal drop in users from what I recall, but they did say that gamepass subs increased from last year which helped them offset the loss in revenue. If Nintendo posts a similar drop to Sony (since they dont have a gamepass like sub) we can chalk it upto covid. If not, I think 100 million is just the ceiling. At this point, any new console sales are probably to gamers who owned a PS4. They arent tapping into a new audience.
 

McCheese

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I barely play my free (sic) playstation plus games these-days due to the quality and quantity of Gamepass, seems counter-productive to play a 9 month old already discounted game when I could be playing a brand new release on gamepass. Not sure how Sony competes without either committing to the same business model (I hope not!) or lowering their price so folks keep both.
 
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Dec 29, 2018
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They should at least decrease the price for people who subscribe to both services. It should be slightly cheaper than Xbox Gamepass
Easy for you to say.
Business doesn't work that way. You can't just drop prices to below your competition on a whim. We don't know the details regarding Xbox's financials with Gamepass.
Sony may be in a wait and see mode or competing with Gamepass head-on may not be financially possible for them. We don't know.
 

Marty-McFly

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Yeah, I remember the stock shortage last year when I was trying to buy a switch lite for my son. Had to rush to a target like 20 miles away one morning after a friend told me they had some in stock. Now I see them everywhere even the Ring Adventure games are just sitting there on store shelves.

Nintendo also had Animal Crossing last Spring so i am expecting a bigger drop than just 4%. MS said that they made up the sales drop thanks to better gamepass numbers and we see the Sony wasnt able to do that despite two AAA game sales, and Nintendo has no gamepass or any big releases so I dont know. I do remember lots of people lining up to buy Pokemon Go the day Returnal came out but thats no Animal Crossing.
Even with a drop Switch will still sell well over 20 million this year, which relatively speaking, is better than the PS4's best year on the market, and PS4 did phenomenal. Nothing is going to be as big as last years Covid surge. It was a statistical anomaly that will not be repeated.

Switch sold 28.8 million units, which are astronomical best ever console numbers.
 
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SlimySnake

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I'm sure Sony will do fine and it'll increase again once COD and Battlefield launch lol
This is why Sony needed an FPS or multiplayer game of their own in the Spring. I remember shaking my head at Shawn Layden saying he didnt want to compete with Activision and EA over the FPS mp userbase, well now you go 3 quarters without an FPS and people simply unsub.

Hopefully this teaches them the importance of not pigeonholing themselves into single player narrative driven games. As much as I love them, you have to invest in ALL genres to have a diverse portfolio. They shouldve been alternating between Socom, Killzone and Resistance every year in Spring.
 

JaksGhost

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With most lockdown restrictions ending in the US and other countries along with the availability of the vaccine during that quarter I can see why player/sub counts are dropping. More and more people are putting the controller down and going outside instead finally. I did nothing last year except work-from-home, FaceTime family/friends, and play my backlog. That has now changed since I'm back in the office and able to freely travel since receiving my shots in January.
 

elliot5

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This is why Sony needed an FPS or multiplayer game of their own in the Spring. I remember shaking my head at Shawn Layden saying he didnt want to compete with Activision and EA over the FPS mp userbase, well now you go 3 quarters without an FPS and people simply unsub.

Hopefully this teaches them the importance of not pigeonholing themselves into single player narrative driven games. As much as I love them, you have to invest in ALL genres to have a diverse portfolio. They shouldve been alternating between Socom, Killzone and Resistance every year in Spring.
They'll likely release a F2P multiplayer game (which is why they're partnering with those fresh studios right no?) but that doesn't require PS+. It'll obv help with engagement and money from MTX though which is what matters in the end.
 

ethomaz

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This article titles has nothing to do with the actual text.

25% of PS5 owners never played Astro’s Playroom... that is what the text is saying.

His weird and big if "

#1: Everyone who owns a PS5 console has played Astro’s Playroom

"
 
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DenchDeckard

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I had the same thought when MS posted a 6% drop last week. It makes zero sense. They should NOT be bleeding users when they are selling new consoles at a record breaking pace.

But Q1 of last year was different. Everyone was home with nothing to fucking do and it seems they all poured stimulus money into games. I think parents got sick of their kids being home all day and went out and bought them games and consoles. I know I did.

MS didnt reveal drop in users from what I recall, but they did say that gamepass subs increased from last year which helped them offset the loss in revenue. If Nintendo posts a similar drop to Sony (since they dont have a gamepass like sub) we can chalk it upto covid. If not, I think 100 million is just the ceiling. At this point, any new console sales are probably to gamers who owned a PS4. They arent tapping into a new audience.

nailed it. I’m sure nintendo will see a huge drop due to animal crossing, or am I completely losing my sense of time? i seem to remember that being huge in lockdown. Your post makes sense though. Everyone was at home, investing time into gaming. I wonder how the numbers compare to ps4s launch, but that wouldn’t add up because the Ps3 wasn’t as successful, right?

last year was such an odd year, so we will just have to see How the next half of the year goes.
 

Marty-McFly

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This article titles has nothing to do with the actual text.

25% of PS5 owners never played Astro’s Playroom... that is what the text is saying.
It's not quite that simple. If this info in the link is true though, it's could be the reason why PS Plus and active users is lower, possibly due to scalper activity, which is actually a good thing for Sony because that means the numbers of subs and active users will eventually improve signficantly.

"While there has not been a widespread event like this for PS5 games, there currently exists a way to calculate the total number of users for one of the launch titles, Astro’s Playroom. Astro’s Playroom is specifically intriguing because not only is it arguably one of the top five exclusives currently available, but because it is included for free with every console. Sony wanted to prove the capabilities of the PS5 controller with this title, and, in my opinion, Astro’s Playroom did an exemplary job putting those features on display. However, PlayStation seemed to unveil something else during Astro’s Playroom — the total number of worldwide players interacting with the game. We can calculate this amount in a similar way to the “My PS4 Life” formula by looking at the percentage completion for a particular trophy for the game:

Run Astro Run! Trophy — “Got a total Speed Run time of 7 minutes or under”

At the time of this writing, the percentage of people who had accomplished this achievement was 6.0%".
 
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GHG

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Do we have numbers from previous years? Kinda hard to say anything just based on this when 2020 was such an anomaly.

They addressed that in the quotes in the OP.

Every other tech company is facing the same issue right now, the amount of activity this time last year was never going to repeat itself a year later when the world is gradually opening up.
 

ethomaz

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It's not quite that simple. If this the info in the link is true though, it's could be the reason why PS Plus and active users is lower, possibly due to scalper activity, which is actually a good thing for Sony because that means the numbers of subs and active users will eventually improve signficantly.
"

Adjusting for Assumptions

Of course, making a bold statement such as the one above requires several assumptions, so let’s dive into those:

#1: Everyone who owns a PS5 console has played Astro’s Playroom

"

It is that simple.
His math only shows that 25% of PS5 owners never played Astro Playroom and he assumes everybody that never played Astro Playroom never used their PS5 lol
 
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Aug 28, 2019
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So 10 million people just stopped playing video games even though they just sold 10 million PS5s?

Their revenue was down 15% from Q1 of last year and that reflects these numbers. MS's revenue was down 6% even though they had no big releases like Sony did with Returnal and Ratchet. I would say its cause for concern.

Do we know Nintendo's Q1 numbers compared to last year? Warzone, FF7 and TLOU2 were big sellers for Sony in Q1 last year, but the drop from Q4 to Q1 is a bit weird because Sony had nothing launch in Q4. So what kept 109 million people engaged between Jan and March? And why didnt Xbox see a similar drop?

I wonder if 100 million is simply the ceiling for consoles. I know they all want to sell billions of consoles but the console market averages out to 100 million every gen. 104 million active users is still pretty amazing in the grand scheme of things but I dont see much growth after this.

IIRC wasn't Microsoft's revenue drop due to less computer/tablet/laptop etc. Surface sales?

In any case, I guess Sony's small drop in this area can be put on people wanting to go out more. From what I understand Q1s in general are always softer especially compared to Q4s of the year prior, because the Q4 is fueled by Black Friday and Christmas holiday shopping events, and Q1 has no such things. Most big software releases also happen in Q4 while Q1 tends to be more quiet. Neither Sony or Microsoft's Q1 (gaming wise) were particularly noteworthy in terms of big software or exclusive releases.

It is very interesting, though, that Microsoft's been able to retain and even grow engagement with their services, just goes to show that Sony's business model is leaning more heavily into moving larger bulks of hardware in general. Though I'm somewhat curious how many PS5s (and Series Xs', to an extent) are being hoarded by scalpers, as that could be eating into things as well.

It's not quite that simple. If this info in the link is true though, it's could be the reason why PS Plus and active users is lower, possibly due to scalper activity, which is actually a good thing for Sony because that means the numbers of subs and active users will eventually improve signficantly.

Yeah, I'm thinking scalper activity with PS5 in particular could be hurting active user numbers, but if the scalpers don't move those units fast enough and Sony gets a lot more PS5s in the distribution chain, they (the scalpers) will be forced to sell their units at MSRP , nullifying the main reason for scaling them.

They might potentially have to sell for lower than MSRP actually because they lack the convenience factor of a real retailer (and associated securities).
 
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The Shepard

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It most likely went up because of all the Lockdowns the world over because of covid. The UK at least has no lockdown atm, maybe more countries are like this.
 

ReBurn

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This article titles has nothing to do with the actual text.

25% of PS5 owners never played Astro’s Playroom... that is what the text is saying.

His weird and big if "

#1: Everyone who owns a PS5 console has played Astro’s Playroom

"
I've had my PS5 for two weeks and have not yet played Astro's Playroom. If anyone is using trophies from that game to track anything then their numbers are definitely off.
 
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Markio128

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Even with a drop Switch will still sell well over 20 million this year, which relatively speaking, is better than the PS4's best year on the market, and PS4 did phenomenal. Nothing is going to be as big as last years Covid surge. It was a statistical anomaly that will not be repeated.

Switch sold 28.8 million units, which are astronomical best ever console numbers.
That’s a fucking ridiculous way to gauge player engagement with a console. I’m guessing that close to 25% of PS5 owners haven’t played the game, at least played enough to gain a trophy.
 

Marty-McFly

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I barely play my free (sic) playstation plus games these-days due to the quality and quantity of Gamepass, seems counter-productive to play a 9 month old already discounted game when I could be playing a brand new release on gamepass. Not sure how Sony competes without either committing to the same business model (I hope not!) or lowering their price so folks keep both.
I think it's expected subs and active users will be down early in the PS5's life due to the nature of the launch. Things will pick up next year.


"

Adjusting for Assumptions

Of course, making a bold statement such as the one above requires several assumptions, so let’s dive into those:

#1: Everyone who owns a PS5 console has played Astro’s Playroom

"

It is that simple.
His math only shows that 25% of PS5 owners never played Astro Playroom.
His methods have been posted so people can draw their own conclusions. I removed the article because I don't want to be continually quoted.

I tend to think this would explain a lot of things.
 
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Duchess

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I binned off my PS+ because I basically didn't have any use for it. Personally, I found that PS Now offered me more.
 

SlimySnake

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nailed it. I’m sure nintendo will see a huge drop due to animal crossing, or am I completely losing my sense of time? i seem to remember that being huge in lockdown. Your post makes sense though. Everyone was at home, investing time into gaming. I wonder how the numbers compare to ps4s launch, but that wouldn’t add up because the Ps3 wasn’t as successful, right?

last year was such an odd year, so we will just have to see How the next half of the year goes.
Animal Crossing was released in march so the majority of day one sales wont be included in their Q1 of last year, but you are right, it was huge and continued to chart every month after launch.

Someone posted PS3, PS4 and PS5 console sales in the other thread. 4.5 million, 10.4 million and 10.1 million respectively. So yeah, PS3's engagement numbers should be much much worse.
 

TGO

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My PS+ ran out two week ago, I only realised yesterday because it said subscribe on the Playstation Store. 😂
 

Fbh

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Haven't been subscribed for around a year now.
Partially because my internet sucks at the moment. But also because the only multiplayer game I play these days is Rocket League which is now F2P, and the discounts on the store have kinda sucked for a while now.
 
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ethomaz

is mad because DF didn't do a video on a video of a video of a video on PS5
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I've had my PS5 for two weeks and have not yet played Astro's Playroom. If anyone is using trophies from that game to track anything then their numbers are definitely off.
Exactly.
 
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