U.S. Markets closed

Sony Slashes Price of PlayStation Now Video Game Service in Half

Christopher Palmeri

(Bloomberg) -- Sony Corp. cut the price of its PlayStation Now video-game service in half, to $9.99 a month, a reflection of the increasing competition in online offerings.

The industry leader in video games said Tuesday it’s also adding limited runs of top-selling titles to the service, such as Take-Two Interactive Software Inc.’s Grand Theft Auto V, and launching the first global marketing campaign to promote PlayStation Now.

“It’s a combination of us having expanded into 19 territories and all of the learning since we started this service,” Grace Chen, vice president of PlayStation’s global services unit, said in an interview. “Consumers are moving toward this type of price point.”

Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox Game Pass service also starts at $9.99 a month. Sony’s price cut takes effect immediately. Separately, Sony said Shawn Layden, the head of its game-design studios, is leaving. He’d been with the company since at least 1996.

Subscription-based video-game services are becoming popular as streaming technology improves, consumers see fewer reasons to own their favorite titles, and companies search for recurring revenue sources.

Apple Inc. introduced its Arcade service two weeks ago at a monthly price of $4.99. It features games created exclusively for the service. Google’s $9.99-a-month Stadia product, which uses its own $69 controller, will debut next month with well-known games from companies such as Cubist Entertainment SA.

PlayStation Now originally debuted in 2014 as a game rental service. It switched to a monthly subscription model and now has over 700,000 subscribers.

As part of the new campaign, Sony is preparing the first television commercial for the service, the company said. While PlayStation Now features over 800 games, the marquee titles will rotate out after a couple of months with new ones added monthly. Customers will be able to download the games or play them using the cloud.

(Updates with executive’s departure in fourth paragraph)

To contact the reporter on this story: Christopher Palmeri in Los Angeles at cpalmeri1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Nick Turner at nturner7@bloomberg.net, Rob Golum, Andrew Pollack

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.