We feel like we are in a good virtuous cycle with the studios where the investment delivers success, which enables yet more investment, which delivers yet more success. We like that cycle and we think our gamers like that cycle.
[In terms of] putting our own games into this service, or any of our services, upon their release... as you well know, this is not a road that we've gone down in the past. And it's not a road that we're going to go down with this new service. We feel if we were to do that with the games that we make at PlayStation Studios, that virtuous cycle will be broken. The level of investment that we need to make in our studios would not be possible, and we think the knock-on effect on the quality of the games that we make would not be something that gamers want.
Ryan also talks about the pricing structure of the three new tiers for PlayStation Plus. There will be the Essential, which is the same PS Plus there is now at $10/month; Extra, which gives access to a library of PS4 and PS5 games for $15/month; and Premium, which adds on game streaming, timed trials, and access to PS1, PS2, PS3 and PSP games for $18/month. While the monthly cost is higher than Xbox's Game Pass, Jim Ryan has mentioned that more than two thirds of subscribers do so at the annual rate, so Sony has emphasized putting value on that option. "What we are delivering is that, for a 12-month subscriber, and that is the great majority of people, the monthly subscription rate for PlayStation Plus Extra will be $8.33. And for PlayStation Plus Premium it will be $9.99. We think, for what people are going to get, this is a terrific value proposition. And one that simply wouldn't be possible if we were to put our studios' games into the service upon their release."
While Ryan believes games subscription services are important, he doesn't think they are everything. "With platforms, it is seldom just one single thing that makes a platform really attractive. It's a combination of many things. And having a really strong service proposition definitely helps." He continued, "Subscription has certainly grown in importance over the course of the last few years. Our PlayStation Plus subscriber number has grown from zero in 2010, to 48 million now. And we anticipate, for our services, that we will see further growth for the subscriber number. But the medium of gaming is so very different to music and to linear entertainment, that I don't think we'll see it go to the levels that we see with Spotify and Netflix."
Finally, Ryan touched on the topic of live service games as an alternative form of games subscription, believing that they will ultimately be more important and lucrative. "Some of the live service [games] that are proving very successful these days, and I'm not restricting this comment to console, they're effectively subscription services in themselves. And they're very much tailored to the needs of the gamer who loves whatever game that they spend hours and hours with, month after month after month. That phenomenon of the live service game... that has, in a very large part, fuelled the enormous growth in the gaming industry that we've seen over the last ten years. I think that trend towards live services will continue, and if you look for a model in our category of entertainment, which supports sustained engagement over a long period of time, live services games arguably fit that bill better than a subscription service."
As Eurogamer reported last month, transcribing an investor meeting, Sony plans to release ten live service games by March 2026. According to Sony exec Hiroki Totoki, this was a big reason for their purchase of Destiny developer Bungie in January. "The strategic significance of this acquisition lies not only in obtaining the highly successful Destiny franchise, as well as major new IP Bungie is currently developing, but also incorporating into the Sony group the expertise and technologies Bungie has developed in the live game services space. We intend to utilise these strengths when developing game IP at PlayStation Studios as we expand into the live game services area."