Post updated 9/2/23 see updates below.
PlayStation Plus is getting a pretty significant price hike with very little warning to consumers.
Tucked away in the announcement for next month’s PS Plus Essential games lineup, Sony dropped the news:
We also wanted to let you know that starting September 6 we will be increasing the price for PlayStation Plus 12-month subscriptions globally across all benefit plans. This price adjustment will enable us to continue bringing high-quality games and value-added benefits to your PlayStation Plus subscription service.
The price increase is significant for anyone who subscribes on a yearly basis. PS Plus Essential will cost $20 more per year. PS Plus Extra, which gets you a bunch of extra games from the PS4 and PS5 era, will be $35 more per year and PS Plus Premium, which gives you both the previous tiers plus access to a retro game catalogue, will cost $40 more per year.
The current prices are:
- PS Plus Essential — $59.99 / year
- PS Plus Extra — $99.99 / year
- PS Plus Premium — $119.99 / year
On September 6th, these prices increase by a truly staggering amount:
- PS Plus Essential — $79.99 / year
- PS Plus Extra — $134.99 / year
- PS Plus Premium — $159.99 / year
To be fair, these are still cheaper than the $16.99/month you’d pay for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, though that comes with access to both Xbox and PC Game Pass. That equates to $203.88/year, but also includes all first-party Microsoft exclusives, including Starfield which launches today.
Normal Game Pass is $10.99/year and only covers Xbox (you can also get PC Game Pass if you’re on PC and not Xbox) which runs you about the same as PS Plus Extra’s new pricing tier. But again, you get games like Starfield for free with that subscription, whereas AAA Sony games won’t come to PS Plus for a long time (months to years—or never—depending). Sony has more exclusives, but PlayStation Plus simply doesn’t give you access to those in the same way as Game Pass.
For my part, I have to question whether continuing to subscribe to PlayStation Plus actually makes sense. I do most of my online gaming on PC. When I play online games with my kids and my friends, it’s all PC or Xbox. Most of the games I love to play on PlayStation are single-player like Marvel’s Spider-Man, which won’t come to PS Plus at release anyways. Is it worth spending this much on a service I rarely use? These price hikes certainly make me question the point in renewing my subscription, especially in a subscription-based economy that starts to really add up (Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Disney+, Spotify, and the list goes on and on).
I understand that this is probably the only choice Sony had to make. Things are changing rapidly in the streaming and subscription models. The promise of cheap, easily accessible content that just keeps coming out of the spigot was always too good to be true. You pay for what you get. And sometimes you have to decide if what you’re paying for is really worth it.
So a number of people have told me they’re definitely cancelling given that Sony has not indicated any increase in value to go along with the price hike. A number of others have pushed back on this, making a couple different arguments:
- Prices go up, that’s life, you have to deal with it.
- It’s actually not that much, just a few dollars a month.
With regards to the first argument, absolutely. Prices go up and we have to deal with it. The problem is that prices have been going up for a lot of different things. Many streaming services have upped their monthly rates. But even outside of entertainment, the cost of living is going up. Groceries, gas, housing. It’s all more expensive than ever. It would be fantastic if we could also make more money to cover all these bills, but that often takes time. Prices go up, wages go up, prices go up, wages go up. Sometimes you have to pick and choose.
That’s pretty much my argument for the second bullet point. Sure, it’s only a few bucks a month, but a few bucks here and a few bucks there adds up. $3.50/month more for PS Plus might not be a big deal, but HBO is more expensive now. Amazon Prime is more expensive now. Netflix is more expensive now (and cracked down on password sharing). We have to pick and choose and the determining factor—for me, in any case—is what adds the most value. I’ll drop streaming services that don’t have shows or movies I want to watch. I rarely play online games on PlayStation and I don’t care much about the monthly freebies.
But if you do—if you play online on your PS5 or have a massive catalog of PS Plus games—maybe you shouldn’t cancel! Maybe you should drop something else, some streaming service or food delivery subscription or whatever. Whenever a thing you pay for becomes more expensive, you should think about whether it’s worth it to keep paying for it. This is just basic budgeting, folks. I have nothing against Sony at all. I love their games. I own more PlayStation games than I can count. But I don’t get a ton out of PS Plus.
What do you think? Does this make you question your PS Plus subscription? How many subscriptions are sustainable and what kind of value does each one need to bring to the table? Let me know on Twitter or Facebook.