Game Pass, PS+ Both Struggle to Find New Subscribers – Next-Gen Console Watch

Welcome back to Next-Gen Console Watch, our show following all the news and rumors on the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series. I’m Daemon Hatfield, and this week I’m joined by Ryan McCaffrey, host of IGN’s Xbox podcast, Podcast Unlocked, and Max Scoville, host of of IGN’s PlayStation podcast, Podcast Beyond.

This week we take a look at gaming subscription services from Microsoft (Xbox Game Pass) and Sony (PlayStation Plus). We also discuss the recent reveal for the price and release date for the PSVR 2.

0:00 – Intro
0:38 – Xbox Game Pass and PlayStation Plus Slowing Down
8:58 – PSVR2 Price Revealed
19:19 – Poll Results & Outro

Foreign [Music] Console watch our show following Everything happening with the PlayStation 5 and Xbox series X I'm Jimin Hadfield and as always I'm joined By Max Scoville host of IGN's PlayStation podcast podcast beyond hey How's it going Great and Ryan McCaffrey host of IGN's Xbox Podcast Unlocked greetings And we've got so much to talk about this Week we finally have a price and release Date for PlayStation VR2 I think the Price is uh coming in a little bit Higher than many of us were expecting Lots to dig into there but our big topic This week is that both of these Platforms have their own subscription Service and both of them are Experiencing their own Growing Pains so Xbox and Game Pass Game Pass is Profitable for Xbox but growth has Started to slow for for Game Pass Overall and then uh over on PlayStation Plus Sony is actually losing subscribers They've lost lost almost 2 million Subscribers since the whole revamp Earlier this year so let's try to dig Into it starting with Sony and Playstation according to the company's Latest Financial reports Sony's Multi-tiered Playstation Plus Subscription service has dropped from

47.3 million at the end of June to 45.4 Million in the three months leading up To September 30th that's a decrease of Four percent now Sony highlighted that The ratio of Gamers subscribe to the Service is significantly higher on the PS5 than it is for the previous Generation PS4 console Max is that Surprising to you so there are a lot of Factors here uh the PlayStation 5 thing I think it makes sense because obviously I think the kind of people who are gonna You know throw down 500 bucks at launch For a new piece of Hardware also the Kind who are gonna be like yeah you know I'll sign up for the subscription Subscription thing Um but there are a few things going on Here first of all um I think a lot of People just double down on entertainment During the pandemic and things are Starting to open up again so people are You know touching grass as it were also Just you know subscriptions are kind of Down across the board like a Netflix and HBO Max both had like subscriber drops In in the millions and it's you know There's plenty of other factors at play Here the big one of course is uh you Know Sony introduced the modified PlayStation Plus sort of three-tiered Approach to things which you know has Been divisive yeah I mean do you think This this is actually people saying you

Know nope I do not like the new service I'm unsubscribing because they could Have just kept you know the lowest tier And things wouldn't have changed for Them right I don't think it's that's I don't think It's that simple you know I I think this Is honestly uh Probably like sort of a natural drop for Things Um and you know in the same way that Like Game Pass seems like a pretty cut And dry deal right there but apparently They're having trouble meeting their Goals too Um I don't know I think there there is a Weird sense of like looking at the you Know the highest premium tier for PlayStation Plus it it's it's it sounds Expensive and then you look at it on Paper and it's actually like a you know It's about the same as as game pass but I think the fact that there's two other Cheaper options makes it sort of seem Um a little bit nebulous there Well even with a four percent dip and Now 45.4 million subscriber subscribers That's still roughly twice as many as Xbox game pass has 25 million I think is The most recent publicly reported Numbers that we've seen so over on Xbox Phil Spencer has been making the rounds Recently talking a lot about Game Pass And about other things like the whole

Activision Blizzard acquisition uh some Of it's quotes are that we're seeing Incredible growth on PC for game pass on Console I've seen growth slow down Mainly because at some point you've Reached everybody on console that wants To subscribe Ryan what do you make of That we've been talking about Xbox game Pass for years now best deal in gaming But it has been years now like are you Think they're really just reaching all The Xbox owners out there that would be Interested in in Game Pass no not even Close uh their problem is uh it's a First party game problem it's the same Problem we've been crying about all year Uh we thought last year was the the dam Breaking and US finally getting some High quality consistent first party Releases 20 22 has shown us that is not The case and so to Max's point I agree You know it's people cancel Subscriptions for things that they're Not actively using you know most of us Here I think if we pulled the entire IGN Staff most of us tend to I don't think Hardly any of us carry a 12-month Subscription a year for anything uh you Maybe have one or two that are kind of Your backbone but you pick and choose I'm gonna like I just I just canceled Hulu I had I had a month of Hulu wanted To catch up on some shows and now I'm Good I don't need that anymore I'm good

Till the next you know next round of Shows that I want to catch up on pops up And there just haven't been any big First party tent pole games uh no big Exclusives on Xbox in all of 2022 They've been good games good stuff on Game Pass don't get me wrong but as far As stuff that would make you want to Jump back in and go because it's not Just one game that you want to subscribe To Game Pass for it's going to be a Larger swath of games all hitting at the Same time and in 2021 they had that they Had a great second half of the Year Particularly the fall this year that has Not been there so no I think it is it is Purely a function of a lack of content Unfortunately So then next year next year rolls around If we do finally end up getting Starfield red fall Diablo 4 soccer 2 Would you expect to see significant Growth in Xbox game pass subscribers Next year I don't know if it's going to Be significant but yes it's going to Start to grow again because I also think We're going to be seeing a price Increase on Game Pass next year Phil Alluded to that uh without explicitly Saying game pass prices will go up next Year he suggested that software and or Game Pass and or Hardware uh prices will Be going up sooner rather than later and I think Game Pass is naturally going to

Be Definitely the one of those three that Does I don't think Hardware will I think Software probably will that's going to Go up to 70 bucks with next year's big Games maybe even Starfield might or Redfield whatever the redfall pardon me Whichever the first one is they might Just go ahead and and enact that for 2023 but I do definitely think game pass Prices will go up and I do think the the Growth will continue uh whether they hit Their goals I don't know what their Goals are because Microsoft doesn't like To publish concrete numbers Unfortunately Um but yeah I think Brighter days are ahead for Game Pass Yeah the actual quote from from Phil Spencer's I do think at some point we'll Have to raise the prices on certain Things but going into this holiday we Thought it was important to maintain the Prices we've held price on our console We've held price on games and our Subscription I don't think we'll be able To do that forever What what sort of a price increase would You imagine we might be looking at Ryan Well it's so it's 10 for basic console Game Pass and 15 for Game Pass ultimate Uh I think you probably throw on two to Three dollars there I think we're I Would I would put my money on 12 bucks

11.99 a month for vanilla Game Pass and Probably either 17 or 18 I'm not sure Which which way they'll they'll fall There for ultimate I would I guess Pessimistically default to the higher Number 18 bucks a month for Game Pass Um I don't think they'll jump right to 20 for for ultimate I think it will be Uh there'll be a step between so yeah Probably uh I'd probably put my money on 12 for basic and 18 for ultimate at some Point next year probably if I if I were To uh make an educated guess on that I Think it's going to be after the Activision Blizzard deal closes because At that point they'll add a ton of stuff To Game Pass Diablo 4 is supposed to be Out by that time Um so that that's a major tentpole uh so Yeah I think I think about that time Microsoft because they're not going to Want to do it in Q4 at the holidays when When people are really shopping and a Little more price conscious and making Making uh purchasing decisions based on Many choices I think they would they'd Probably try to get it out of the way Earlier in the year and that that time When the Activision Blizzard deal closes Seems like a natural that's it for me Definitely a smart way to go about it I Mean I think they've got some sort of Tricks up their sleeve where we've seen Them kind of experimenting with like the

Family approach to Game Pass and if you Go I mean Netflix kind of did a similar Thing where they're like hey if you want You know 4K streaming and up to seven Different accounts for all your in-laws Or whatever they have and it's like this Is more expensive and it's like you're Raising everything anyway but like if You kind of sort of you know distract People with a sort of sleight of hand of Like oh but we have we added new stuff Over here you know so I don't know if They really if they like really hype up Xcloud and like Family Sharing I think That could kind of help you know Disguise the fact that they are just Raising prices Well it's interesting times for both of These Services Xbox game pass is very Well established at this point PlayStation Plus has been around for Several years as well but just recently Revamped into something a little bit More like Xbox game pass so we'll Continue following the uh the fortunes Of both of these subscription Services Very closely here on the show but let's Switch gears to psvr2 uh Max we just Found out today when this is being taped On Wednesday of this week February out February 2nd February 22nd next year 550 dollars fifty dollars more than what The PlayStation 5 costs here in the US And the same as what it costs in certain

Other parts of the world where they had To raise prices earlier so I'm seeing Kind of like Two reactions to this one being like That's that sounds crazy expensive much More than I was expecting and also that Uh the other the other reaction would be Like well actually sounds pretty Reasonable considering the specs of this VR unit so what was your reaction Max so Initially I was my eyes popped out of The sockets in their head and I said Mamma Mia that's too expensive for a Funny hat but um in hindsight it's not That different from what we had with the First PlayStation VR which was 400 bucks At launch and it was around the same Time that the PS4 got a price cut to I Think 349 yeah and at the same time There were some hidden costs with the First psvr because the camera and the PlayStation move controllers were sold Separately so you wound up kind of Paying about 500 bucks give or take Anyway uh so for them to kind of come Out be like everything you need to to Wear this funny hat is in the Box it's You know 550 bucks that seems expensive But it's also you know paired with the Fact that the PS5 is still pretty pretty Shiny and new and still at its full Price that it had it launched and also More expensive in some parts of the World which I it's it's I would say

Weird timing to announce something this Expensive you know you can again you Could probably sort of soften the blow By being like hey the PlayStation 5 has Gone down in price and here's our cool New peripheral that you can buy with it But Um that doesn't seem to be what's going On these times I have to think there's a Reasonable chance that Sony intended for It to be 4.99 but the inflation and the The part the cost and supply chain stuff Has forced them to revive well forced as They have chosen to revise that uh just As just as they have increased the price Of the PS5 itself in in non-north American territories I I don't know I can't prove it until we Somebody Point Blank ask Sony and when We get a straight answer and they'll They'll never give us a straight answer On that uh but yeah it wouldn't surprise Me if they were aiming for 4.99 and just Weren't able to hit that for whatever Reason Well the original psvr on PlayStation 4 Ended up being a pretty Niche peripheral Uh with a relatively small audience a Five percent attach rate Um you know I just I don't know what Sony's like internal goals and Projections are and what they consider a Success but I I would just have to Imagine the r d for that device

Creating their their own holy original VR device would have to be pretty high I Would guess they were probably hoping For more than single digit attach rates And also for any VR game developers out There That you know you just you know the Potential audience you're making a game For on Playstation is pretty small that May sort of limit the enthusiasm psvr Game devs have For making games for that platform so I Just think whether or not this price Actually does make a lot of sense for The specs I think it's still too high For most people to get over the their Like mental block that this thing costs More than the console itself Significantly more than the metaquest 2 Even after its price increase although I Know they're in they're not like you Know technically on the same level I Just think it's gonna it's gonna Continue to be a niche accessory Peripheral for PS5 and I don't really I Don't personally see it having a great Chance at getting that much higher Attach rate even even the second time Around I don't know that's a reality VR You know it's been around long enough That it's we've kind of seen how it's Shaken out and Mark Zuckerberg would Really like it if it was the most you Know commonplace ubiquitous thing around

But that's doesn't seem to be the case You know and it I think something they Can do to sort of offset this feeling of It being a niche product that is too Expensive for what it is is Um make it work on PC you know like We've seen Sony putting some of their First party games on PC that seems to be Kind of a hit it seems like they're Opening up going that direction uh you Know it's it's not you know it's it's Sony so it's a little bit proprietary Hardware but I don't see any reason they Couldn't figure out how to plug a USB Cable into a you know compatible gaming PC and let people Tinker around with That yeah I I think I agree I think it's It's gonna be Niche no matter what Unless they were to price it at 199 then Maybe you could break through into the Even let's say maybe that gets you a Quarter of the user base like the Install base but that's you you know There you couldn't make anything worth a Damn Yeah yeah it's like pirate VR it's uh But so VR exactly see Exactly we're coming up with good stuff Here on this show that I hope Sony's Listening but and so to to that end I am glad that this is that the specs Are great even if it means the price is Higher because for me I was very Interested in psvr when it first

Launched in 2016. Even though I mean it was dated from the Jump I mean those move controllers were Ancient even compared to the uh the Oculus Rift on the PC side yeah I know They were left over PS3 peripherals and The camera wasn't good and there was no Room scale so you know we're starting From much better place here with psvr2 To the point where I am interested in getting my hands on This because I think I'm I think over The course of the PS5 generation I'm Gonna see a good value uh because Sony Has shown me that they will commit to The games there were plenty of psvr1 Games I just was pretty uh over the Hardware but by before too long but to The point where it's just it was so Inferior to the PC VR experience that I Just lost interest in playing psvr over The the tail end of the PS4 life cycle But now having a really good psvr2 Hardware Uh I I'm with great controllers out of The gate that are modern and uh and with Room scale I just feel like the Prospects for for vr2's Success are much Higher even though it's still going to Be just as Niche but if if those dollars If if those that works out for Sony That's not my problem I just as long as They're feeding me good games is whether It makes money for them or not but it

Must make them enough to for VR1 must Have been successful enough because they Decided to do it again so even only Reaching five percent of the user base It was there was some Metric of success That was met where they said let's do PSV no I think at one point it was like The best-selling VR headset the small Install base is partially a byproduct of So many PS4s being sold true it's you Know which is a definitely some goal Post moving going on there but like it's What kind of connect was the same way It's like the incredibly successful Peripheral that had a lot of games made For it but I think at the end of the day It was I don't know I think they sold 10 Million at the gate and they got I don't Know what the final number was but you Know it's still it there is the math Does work out for this stuff ultimately And yeah I'm I'm excited for VR too I Mean I I probably said on this show I Know I've said it on Twitter but I Thought we would be it would be 4.99 so 549 is I hate to be wrong on the under Rather than the over but I think I'm I Think I'm still going to try and get my Hands on one but valve Half-Life Alex Let's go this is a no-brainer Port this Is the best game in my opinion of the Last five years and far too few far too Few people have had a chance to play it It's got to come to psvr too I'm gonna

Keep saying it on the show until it Happens I'll back you up on that no we Were talking about this before the show But like I think valve needs to do they Did The Orange Box I think they need to Do the teal box you know like the other Portal color you get the you know the Aperture Labs you get some other Greatest hits of you know valve VR That's come out there and then but put It on pspr Let the console kids take it For a spin Yeah an announcement of Half-Life Alex For psvr2 would have softened the blow Of that price tag a little bit Sony did Announce 11 more games are going to be There at launch uh but as I read these Over I think you're just going to be Hearing a lot of words that maybe don't Mean a lot to a lot of people so 11 Games confirmed for launch uh the dark Pictures Switchback VR Crossfire Sierra Squad the Light Brigade cities VR Cosmonius High hello neighbor search and Rescue Jurassic world aftermath Collection pistol whip VR Zenith the Last city after the fall and tentacular Uh there's also what Horizon called the Mountain though that's your favorite Monster by a mile that's sort of the big One yeah but but you know what yeah why 550 at least give us a playable demo for Free of horizon call the mountain yeah Come on

Actually I don't even know how much are They going to be are they going to be 70 Bucks BPS VR two games with the bundle They announced it's going to be 50 bucks For Horizon right so way I feel like Your your A-list title your A-list Launch title Horizon call the mountain Come on Sony get a free playable demo so That you don't have to spend because Otherwise you're spending 550 and you Can't even do anything with it you got To spend more just to buy the games too Yeah no I mean that was one thing that The psvr did really well is it there Were a ton of demos on there and it was Great and like now going back to our First story like there's demos rolled Into the highest tier of PlayStation Plus but you know if you're if you're Spending almost 600 on a shiny new hat Like maybe you know have some have some Freebies in there let people try stuff Out see what makes them the least car Sick Give it a shot Yeah I don't know 550 out February 22nd Again I don't know what Sony's uh hopes And dreams and and predictions are but I I I think it's got a tough road ahead of It um for for Convincing convincing people to spend That much money for once again Tentacular and cosmonias high in the Light Brigade we've got the results of

The poll from last episode we were Talking about horror games that are out Now and coming to next-gen platform so We ask you what's your most anticipated Next-gen horror game perhaps on Supply Pricingly it's the one that's uh closest To release the Callisto protocol out This December that got 37 of the vote Followed by Resident Evil 4 in Dead Space not too surprising coming in way At the bottom of the list with Silent Hill F Well I know people really want a New Silent Hill game that's the one That's sort of the least known quantity That we just don't really know too much About And then we want to know a poll for you To vote on for next week well Considering we're talking about the Subscription Services Game Pass and PlayStation Plus some people canceling Their their subscription Services what's Your most essential Subscription Service What's the one you you would never Cancel the one you you're going to keep Last is it Game Pass is it PlayStation Plus is a Nintendo switch online or is It something like your Amazon Prime your Netflix your Disney Plus account make Sure to vote at and we'll share The results with you next week which is Going to be a birthday episode Apparently right at least at least the Xbox series is that that out a few days

Or a week before PlayStation 5 I don't Know that information may be lost to the Sands of time in any case who is to say We'll be uh celebrating at least one Birthday next week we might as well just Lump them all together in the same Episode uh we will be back next Friday Same time 6 a.m Civic 9 A.M Eastern with More PlayStation 5 Xbox series X news Thank you to both Max and Ryan thank you To everyone working behind the scenes in Our LA and San Francisco Studios to make This all possible it's quite a large Undertaking my name is Damon everyone Have a great weekend and we'll see you Next week

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