In a recent investor presentation, Sony announced the current number of subscribers to their PlayStation Now service tops 2.2 million users.
Initially released in 2014 in North America, PlayStation Now was initially focused on streaming older titles from previous console generations. This particular feat was made possible, from a technical perspective, by Sony’s acquisition of Gaikai in 2012. However, subscriber numbers remained low until September of 2018, when Sony allowed the option for players to save PlayStation Now titles to their consoles for offline play. Sony noted in their presentation that in the six months after that decision, subscriber numbers broke the one million mark, and that number has doubled over a year.
As promising as those growth numbers are, however, it’s still only a fraction of its much more successful competitor, the Xbox Game Pass. Despite coming in three years after PlayStation Now, Xbox Game Pass currently has over ten million subscribers. At least some of this success can likely be attributed to Microsoft’s policy of putting first-party Xbox One new releases on the service at the same time they make their physical launch. However, PlayStation Now arguably has the more extensive catalog of games available, while Xbox Game Pass is more of a curated experience.
It stands to reason that PlayStation Now numbers will continue to grow as time goes on. What Sony does to encourage that growth, however, is a matter of conjecture. The ability to save games to a console provided a boost. And the expansion of their catalog to offer more recent titles certainly didn’t hurt. Whether they will decide to follow Microsoft’s move and start putting up titles at launch is unknown at this time. Imitation is, as Microsoft has demonstrated, the sincerest form of flattery. Sony may want to keep that in mind as they move to grow PlayStation Now further.