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PlayStation Plus has become a "nice weapon in our arsenal" says Sony

PS Plus is "contributing in a big way" to PSN sales, Sony informs us

Sony's online efforts have come a long way in the last six years, and while some would argue that Xbox Live is still superior, one unique differentiator for PlayStation Network is its PlayStation Plus offering. In fact, one industry veteran close to Sony told us recently that Sony has "drastically undersold" the value of PlayStation Plus. Sony appears eager to change that, if you ask John Koller, VP of PlayStation Home and Handheld Consoles.

Koller, who also oversees all PlayStation brand marketing, told GamesIndustry International that PlayStation Plus has seen a big rise in interest and that Sony is going to put some significant weight behind marketing the program from here on out.

"PlayStation Plus is fantastic. This is going to be a significant part of our marketing efforts over the next 6, 12, 24 months. This is a big part of what we do. The amount of value that you get from PlayStation Plus is significant. Since E3, we've seen a significant rise in PlayStation Plus adoption and we'll be utilizing this," Koller said.

"This is a nice weapon in our arsenal that we'll be utilizing and it's just a great value for a consumer that's coming in. If you look at a consumer that's coming in in year 6 or year could call them a later adopter and giving them an instant game collection, which is what PlayStation Plus provides, has really proven to be successful. So this is going to be a very important part of what we do here over the next few months. You'll see it at holiday. You'll see it even beyond that with various integrations into our ecosystem."

PlayStation Plus is offered for either 3 months at $17.99 or a full year for $49.99. Subscribers gain access to a wide variety of games, early access to demos and betas, discounts on PSN content, 1GB of cloud storage for game saves, and 1-hour trials of full games for select titles. It's an interesting idea, and it's certainly helping to communicate the value of digital to gamers.

"Some of PlayStation Plus' benefit is getting consumers more comfortable with digital content who may not be. Obviously, there's the current PlayStation 3 consumer who tends to be fairly comfortable with digital and we have a great DLC sales and full game downloads and those types of things. But the new consumers who are coming in in particular, which is what I'm looking at here, if we can introduce them to PlayStation Plus and this instant game collection idea, you're bringing them into a world that may be a bit foreign to them if they don't own a system this current cycle. So that comfort level is important to us, it's important to publishers, it's important I think to most people in this industry that we get them comfortable with digital content," added Koller.

So far, so good for Plus. While Sony Computer Entertainment America couldn't share exact figures on the number of Plus subscribers, a spokesperson did tell us that customer satisfaction rates are at the highest ever at 97 percent while renewal intent rate is at 93 percent. "The success of PS Plus is contributing in a big way to driving overall PSN sales, as our last quarter was the biggest in terms of transactional sales in PSN's six-year history," she noted. "The immediate consumer reaction was completely off the charts, and membership sales more than doubled during the week of E3."

We'll be bringing you our full interview with John Koller tomorrow. We talked about Sony's holiday positioning for PS3 and Vita, price cuts, the competition, and much more.

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Latest comments (10)

Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator 8 years ago
A Playstation Plus of mass destruction?

The 'free' games collection have been a great incentive for gamers to sign up to it. I admit being sucked in by it!
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Nick Quackenbush Lead 3D Artist, Interceptor Entertainment8 years ago
Agreed. The discounts + free games have more then paid for the price tag of a year of service.
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Patrick Williams Medicine and Research 8 years ago
A nice move for Sony would be to include movie rebates on playstation plus.
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Show all comments (10)
Curt Sampson Sofware Developer 8 years ago
One of the brilliant things about Plus is that the free stuff they give you expires with your PSPlus subscription. It's just human nature that people find the thought of losing something they already have far more disturbing than not getting something they don't have, so when re-up time rolls around, there's a certain compulsion to renew that wouldn't be there otherwise.

Basically, that and a few exclusives (particularly the Uncharted series) are all that keep me spending money on PlayStation content. Otherwise my PS3 would just be a video player at this point. That they can keep even someone who rather dislikes Sony as a customer (albeit spending only a small fraction of his game budget on them) says quite a bit about the attractiveness of this program, I think.

So mainly, it's a matter of promotion to get the knowledge of what a great deal this is out to the unwashed masses.

It might also help to include with the system a disc containing (locked) copies of some of the PSPlus content, so that new subscribers can install their first 30-50 GB of games from disc, rather than having to download them. Particularly in the U.S. and other countries with somewhat limited consumer Internet infrastructure, even a single full game (6-12 GB) can take quite some time to download.
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Michael Vandendriessche Studying Computer Science, K.U. Leuven8 years ago
I've been a happy PS+ member since it's first day (minus a few weeks where i forgot to renew and was too lazy to buy a card. Really glad they announced the option to pay with PayPal). PS+ introduces me to many games I wouldn't otherwise have played. It surprises me why they're not pushing it so much in advertisements. It's tons of great games for the price of one.
The only downside to this is I need to buy a new harddrive to store all the games on!
I kinda miss the 'fun for one time only' games though. I have no time to play all the current games in detail.
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Darren Geiger Programmer/Developer/Artist 8 years ago
Fantastic service, although they should add some social utility to the service as well.

They have a virtual suggestion box on their blog and I haven't seen them implement customer suggestions in the past two years.

I have to admit I'm confused that auto downloading system updates isn't a standard feature. Especially in light of the fact that the system was hacked two years ago.

I don't have a Paypal option yet, when does that happen? I'll finally be able to purchase stuff from the UK and Japanese store

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Darren Geiger on 28th October 2012 11:15am

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Peter Dwyer Games Designer/Developer 8 years ago
The free games got me too. Especially as they are usually AAA titles.

I think Sony are really on to something here. If they maintain the free games and discounts (something that Microsoft will have to follow next gen) and fix the peer to peer aspects of game matching. They have a service to rival Live. The only thing letting it down this gen is that it can't be properly integrated into their platform and that is due entirely to the silly architecture of the Cell processor. It is impossible to run the types of background services that Microsoft are able to dedicate a full CPU core to. Because of that their service can't be fully integrated into any games without causing unacceptable performance hits.

If the architecture of their next offering is correct (and based on dev kits it has to be) then they will not have that problem next time around. Cores to spare :)
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Nick Parker Consultant 8 years ago
I realise this comment is perhaps a little late but I have a question to anybody still reading it, a question which the above comments answer but I'd like a few more views. Is there a feeling out there that PlayStation plus could become a viable long term digital eco-system for Sony content?
Also, Peter Dwyer mentions next gen dev kits; would the industry expect PS4 by the end of 2013 or is 2014 more realistic? Many thanks.
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John Bye Lead Designer, Freejam8 years ago
customer satisfaction rates are at the highest ever at 97 percent while renewal intent rate is at 93 percent
I'm not surprised, it's a fantastic service. I've had many times my money back already, between the discounts, the free games and the free one hour trials. They should really give a one month free trial with new PS3s, so late adopters and people replacing older units get to try it out. Now that would really drive subscriptions.
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Hakki Sahinkaya8 years ago
I don't get the math for Sony but as a consumer I love PS+.

One SLIGHT problem is sometimes if I'm not sure about a game, where-as I would have went for it previously, I now think "I'll just wait until it's on a PS+ discount or free". So it stops me buying SOME games. It's literally like one or two though.

But yes PS+ is the best service Sony came up with this gen and I absolutely love it.
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