Sony slashes cloud gaming prices before Google rival launches
Sony is permanently slashing prices on its cloud gaming service by as much as 50% just as multiple tech companies are moving closer to launching competitive offerings.
Starting Tuesday, Playstation Now will cost $9.99 a month instead of $19.99; $24.99 for three months versus $44.99 previously; and $59.99 for a full year rather than $99.99. Current subscribers will see the price drop on their next billing cycle.
The price reductions come at a time when Microsoft is rolling out its public preview of Project xCloud and Google Stadia has been selling preorders ahead of a November launch. Stadia’s subscription service costs $9.99 a month, although a controller will cost extra.
Grace Chen, Sony VP of Global Services, explained in an interview with CNN Business that the new entry-level $9.99 price represents “the price point that people are used to paying for their entertainment services.” She denied that Sony decided to drop the prices to match its competitors.
Even though Sony arrived in the market in 2014, its cloud gaming service is at a disadvantage in some ways to newcomers. Both Microsoft and Google’s services will work on mobile, bringing the experience of console gaming to the smartphone. And while Microsoft still hasn’t announced a business model for xCloud, Google is testing multiple ones, including a free version of Stadia.
Chen said Sony currently has nothing to announce concerning whether it will release a free or mobile version of PlayStation Now.
“Sony definitely wants to be in the big picture,” said David Cole, an analyst at research firm DFC Intelligence. “But they don’t want to lose out because of pricing.”
Chen said Playstation Now currently has about 700,000 paid subscribers and that the company is anticipating a 50% increase in subscriptions year over year following the price reductions.
In addition to cutting prices, Sony is also adding new games Tuesday for a limited time: “God of War,” “Grand Theft Auto V,” “inFAMOUS Second Son” and “Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End.” Those games will expire by January 2 next year. Sony said it will add new games available for a limited time each month for subscribers.