European PlayStation fans are not going to be pleased, as Sony has announced price increases for PlayStation Plus in the region. Annual subscriptions to PlayStation Plus in Europe, including the United Kingdom, will rise 25% or more from €49.99 to €59.99 or £39.99 to £49.99. Monthly and three-month subscriptions are also being raised. Three months will be raised from €19.99 to €24.99 or £14.99 to £ 19.99 and monthly jumps from £5.99 to £6.99. Pricing may be adjusted slightly depending on the user’s country.
Sony sent notification of the changes by email to all current PlayStation Plus subscribers, but did not attempt to explain the decision or try to justify it. The message simply acknowledged the change and offered guidance should subscribers no longer choose to resubscribe. The pricing changes won’t officially go into effect until August 31, so PlayStation Plus users have at least a month to decide whether to maintain their current payment structure or decide on a change.
In April Sony reported near-record profits for the PlayStation division, falling just short of the prime PlayStation era in 1998. Sony says there are a total of over 26 million PlayStation Plus subscribers worldwide, as of May 2017. That’s an increase of over 6 million subscribers since reporting in June 2016. Price increase or not, Sony’s PlayStation online services are more popular than ever and only growing. While the European market is unique in many regards, it’s unlikely different in this.
The reaction from European PlayStation Plus subscribers is understandably negative. Many are saying that they’ll unsubscribe as a result of the price increase. Others are simply venting over Sony’s lack of justification for the price increase, but won’t dedicate themselves to unsubscribing. Considering Sony’s current domination of the console market, the PlayStation 4 more than doubling Microsoft’s Xbox One install base in Europe, it’s doubtful that there will be too much of a direct backlash over the price increase. Though Microsoft is likely writing a new marketing campaign for the Xbox One X launch even now, since an Xbox Live subscription remains at €49.99 or £39.99.
Sony’s price increase is coming at a very specific, strategic time. September will mark the start of the year’s season of major video game releases. PlayStation players will have to wrestle with the decision of unsubscribing during the midst of huge console multiplayer game launches. Both Destiny 2 and FIFA 18 arrive in September, followed by the November releases of Call of Duty: WW2 and Battlefront 2. PlayStation is likely going to win over most of its detractors with this 2017 line-up.
As noted, PlayStation Plus subscribers have plenty of time to think it over. 25% is a healthy price increase to be sure, but when you’re already spending €49.99 or £39.99 a year to play online games with friends or strangers, what’s another €10/£10?