Amid all of the E3 2019 hype and news, it seems Sony is making a surprising change. PlayStation Plus subscribers across Europe and Japan have begun receiving emails from Sony confirming that the service will be seeing a significant price increase. Notifications have also been delivered to subscribers through the PlayStation 4's messaging system. Reports from subscribers in Germany, France, Sweden, Switzerland, and Japan have confirmed the price increase, which will go into effect on August 1.
Based on early reports, the price change is different in every region. However, the one common thread between all price changes is that the one-month subscription is rising significantly. In Sweden, the price is being raised from 75.00 krona to 95.00, or 26.6%. In Switzerland, the price is being raised from 7.90 CHF to 9.90, or 25.3%. Japan's monthly price is being raised from 514 Yen to 850, up 65%. Both Germany and France's price is being raised to €8.99.
The trend across Europe appears to be bringing each region's price to around $10 after conversion. $10 remains the monthly price in the United States. Japan's monthly price remains quite a bit lower, less than $8, but a 65% price increase is already significant and could just be the first step as it's brought in line with other regions.
Sony hasn't officially commented on the PlayStation Plus price increases and is unlikely to, given past price increases. In August 2018 Sony made a much broader price increase in Europe, raising the monthly cost up to €7.99 in all regions. Three-month and annual memberships were also raised in proportion.
What's likely happening is an annual passthrough by Sony, price increases have come to Europe in 2018, 2017, and prior, to bring certain regional pricing in line based on currency fluctuations with the United States pricing used as a baseline. However, it seems odd that regions like the UK or others in Europe aren't seeing similar adjustments. Perhaps Sony's only changing the price in regions where currency fluctuations have resulted in large divergences from the standard. For example, the UK pricing is only around 10-15% lower than in other regions.
Whatever Sony's reasoning for raising PlayStation Plus pricing, it's unlikely to be received positively. PlayStation Plus, no longer offering PlayStation 3 or PS Vita games as part of its subscription, is offering less value than ever. That's likely to change with the launch of the PlayStation 5, expected in 2020, but current subscribers are unlikely to take comfort in that for the time being.