Sony recently made public its earnings announcement for FY2018, with one of the key standouts being that its streaming service, PlayStation Now, is building quite a bit of momentum.
PlayStation Now is Sony’s swing at cloud- and subscription-based gaming. It’s got a library of more than 750 games from the PlayStation 4, PlayStatin 3 and PlayStation 2, all of which you can get unlimited access to for a monthly or annual fee. PlayStation Now used to be a strictly streaming program but, last year, they started allowing players to actually download the games to their home console.
According to comments in the earnings announcement from chief Financial Officer Hiroki Totoki, that last note seems to be a big cause for PlayStation Now’s renewed momentum. Once they started letting players download the games, according to Totoki, their engagement with said games double. In other words, if folks were playing PS Now games for an hour a day when streaming was the only option, now they’re playing two hours a day with the games downloaded. That makes sense, since folks tend to feel more comfortable and have fewer issues when they’re playing a game straight off of their own hard drive rather than streaming it from a server.
Combine the renewed interest due to the ability to download games with an additional nine European companies gaining access to PlayStation Now this past fiscal year, and Sony is looking at an increase in subscribers of more than 40 percent. That puts them at about 700,000 subscribers right now, with more folks giving the service a try each month.
It seems pretty clear that PlayStation Now will be a big focus in the years ahead. Google is trying to get the streaming-only party started and Microsoft’s own games service is doing extremely well. Sony is likely looking to compete in that market moving forward, so expect to see additional enhancements to PlayStation Now in the coming years, as well as specs meant to take advantage of the service with Sony’s next big piece of hardware.
At $20 a month or $100 for the year, it seems like a pretty costly gaming luxury. For folks who aren’t interested in playing the absolute latest games and don’t care about owning physical copies, though, $20 a month for a hell of a lot of gaming might be exactly what they’re looking for.