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PlayStation Plus Hasn't Had This Few Subscribers Since PS5 Launched

Because Sony is a publicly-traded company, it is required to publish a financial report every quarter. In the U.S. the second fiscal quarter runs from April to June, but in Japan the second quarter runs from July to September — as such, Sony Group Corporation published its second quarter 2022 financial report on Nov. 1, 2022, detailing its earnings and providing other statistical information of import to investors. One particular statistic that stands out is listed in the Investor Relations supplemental material in regard to PlayStation Plus, Sony's live service gaming platform. 

After the PlayStation 5 launched in late 2020, the service reached an all-time high of 48 million PlayStation Plus subscribers in the third quarter of 2021. According to Sony's most recent report, though, the number of PlayStation Plus subscribers has now dropped to its lowest point since the launch of the PS5.

In Sony's second quarter of 2021, PlayStation Plus had 47.2 million subscribers, but by the second quarter of 2022 it lost nearly two million subscribers — totals are down to 45.4 million, just under a 4% reduction. PlayStation Plus received a major revamp to add tiers and expand its services in June, the month before Sony's second quarter began, and PS5s are coming back in stock, but so far these factors don't appear to have helped retain subscribers.

Why subscribers are down, and what Sony is doing about it

According to VGC, which translated and transcribed an earnings call Sony held on the same day as the financial report, Sony Chief Financial Officer Hiroki Totoki blamed "more people going outdoors" and declining PlayStation 4 sales and active users for the reduction in PlayStation Plus subscriptions. "In the second quarter we renewed our services and there hasn't been great momentum as a whole," Totoki said. "In the future we are going to have more penetration on PS5 ... we think we are able to recover."

Totoki may very well be right as PS5 production has ramped up these last few months and supply shortages have, for the most part, been sorted out. If more players can get their hands on a PS5, the console could overtake the PS4 and generate more PlayStation Plus subscriptions. Totoki also mentioned the upcoming "God of War: Ragnarok" and recently-released "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2," which shipped with PlayStation exclusive perks, as being sources of making up this revenue. 

PlayStation Plus subscriptions have steadily been on the decline since reaching a post-PS5-launch peak of 48 million subscribers in the third quarter of last year, but it's not such a drop in revenue that the service is going under — 45.4 million subscribers is still a massive number, and the new tiers of the revamped PS+ may yet yield higher profits for the company. Totoki doesn't appear to be too worried about the losses, and added that "PS5 engagement is quite high, so in Quarter 3 (2022) we expect some recovery."