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Sony Gamepass: Does it really not make sense financially? Let's see

Heisenberg007

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With the latest MLB on GP day 1 move, I think Xbox has forced Sony's hand. We will see some response from Sony in the near future. The most likely option would be that Sony uses the PS+ subscription to expand the PS+ Collection and use it as a competitor for Xbox GamePass.

However, a Sony Gamepass just wouldn't work (imo) if PlayStation Studios games do not release on that subscription service day one.

Everyone's favorite Jim Ryan has said that it does not make financial sense to put these AAA blockbuster games on a subscription service because those games cost over $100M to develop. Honestly, this makes sense because Sony's games really are the epitome of AAA.

But let's explore if it's really the case. More importantly, let's share our ideas of what a Sony GamePass could look like and how it would make financial sense (based on the limited information we have).

Possible Idea for a Sony GamePass

My idea is that Sony should just the PS+ subscription and divide it into 2 tiers:
  • Tier 1 ($30/$40 per year): Online multiplayer + Cloud storage
  • Tier 2 ($100/$120 per year): Online multiplayer + Cloud Storage + PS Now Downloadable section + PS Plus Collection + New monthly games + Day 1 releases of first-party games
Will it make financial sense for Sony?

PS+ current subscriber base is roughly 50 million active users. I think that's the biggest advantage Sony can leverage. How will it work?
  • Let's assume that by increasing the price, Sony loses roughly half the subscribers and ends up with 25 million active Tier 2 users. At $100 per year, that'd net Sony $2.5 billion every year. That's a lot of dough.
  • Assuming Sony releases 5 AAA games per year, each costing $150M, on the subscription, that would cost them $750 million per year. That still leaves them with $1.750 billion that Sony could use to get third-party deals.
  • Assuming AA and AAA third-party games, on average, costs $10M (seems high!) to put on a Gamepass-type subscription, Sony could add 10 third-party games every month (!) at an annual cost of $1.2 billion.
  • That still leaves Sony with roughly $500million as annual profit.
Sony would likely earn more than $500 million because of:
  • Income from Tier 1 subscribers.
  • Retail sales of first-party games from non-subscribers
  • MTX and in-game purchases in first-party and third-party games from subscribers and non-subscribers.
  • Sony already gives away 3-4 games every month to PS+ subscribers. I didn't include that cost in the above calculation. So that money will be saved or deducted from the aforementioned $1.2 billion.
  • Sony also gives away 3-6 games every month on PS Now. By merging these two subscriptions, Sony would not have to bear that additional cost, thus will save money there as well.
  • If Sony makes everything downloadable on consoles, they could do away with streaming servers (which would also save them money)
  • By making the subscription dependant on console downloads, Sony will also be able to bring people to their ecosystem.
  • They can release first-party games on day one, and then later release some games on PC at $60 or $70 retail after a year or two for additional income. But the value of their subscription will be more pronounced on a PlayStation console.
  • Most importantly, as subscribers grow above 25 million, Sony will also start increasing their profits almost linearly.
Note 1: There is a lot of assumptions simply because we don't have the actual data. But I kept the cost as high as possible.

Note 2: Personally, I am not a big fan of subscription services, and I'm not entirely sold if these are 100% sustainable in the long run. So a Sony Gamepass isn't necessarily my wish. But this has become such an interesting case study scenario b/w two very good companies and their contrasting business strategies that we likely won't see in the gaming industry ever again. So I wanted to share my ideas and seek others'.

What do y'all think? If you were to design a Sony Gamepass, what would you do?
 

MonarchJT

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so when Sony will do it will be sustainable isn't it? :) We've all been saying this for over a year now gamepass is revolutionizing the video game business and it's so convenient (for users) that it's just silly not to accept it. If then whoever launches the service will be able to have 60/80 million users. it will earn so much that no one will want to return to the previous business anymore. Sony will copy gamepass is just a question of when not of if. Jimbo says what he has to say at the moment will change tone when will launch their own gamepass service
 
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Leave it as is.

Sony already has PS Now. Not as good as GP, but doesn't need to be. PS4/PS5 already have the most sales and their first party games sell a ton at full price.

Unless the momentum swings the other way and Xbox starts selling more consoles as gamers move to MS, Sony doesn't have to do anything.
 

Heisenberg007

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Sony don't give a dam, they have their GamePass in Playstation Now..their focus is on delivering the big-hitters for the PS5....if they wanted to do a Gamepass I'm sure it wouldn't take them aeons to do..
Yeah, if I (a nobody) can do this calculation in like 10 minutes, I'm sure Sony execs can come up with much a better solution than me with all the data and information and market research.

I think either Sony is just being (1) lazy/complacent, or (2) they firmly believe that the industry isn't going anywhere and their traditional method will win this battle, or (3) they have something big cooking that they haven't announced yet.
 

MonarchJT

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Please read my note #2 in the end :)
it is sustainable, the problem for Sony at the moment is the number of studios and teams which should increase to more than double and which should also launch the titles on pc. For Sony, changing models is not easy as for Microsoft. Windows is their platform after all and their development software is designed that way too.
Sony to get down to the same level as Microsoft should abandon the idea of a closed ecosystem mainly linked to their console
 
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Heisenberg007

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Leave it as is.

Sony already has PS Now. Not as good as GP, but doesn't need to be. PS4/PS5 already have the most sales and their first party games sell a ton at full price.

Unless the momentum swings the other way and Xbox starts selling more consoles as gamers move to MS, Sony doesn't have to do anything.
Perhaps that's the reason Jim/Sony isn't that worried? They may have a firm belief in their tried-and-tested method, instead of trying a subscription-based method (which honestly no one in the gaming industry has made excellent profits with).
 

Heisenberg007

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it is sustainable, the problem for Sony at the moment is the number of studios and teams which should increase to more than double and which should also launch the titles on pc. For Sony, changing models is not easy as for Microsoft. Windows is their platform after all and their development software is designed that way too
I think porting games after a year or two will be easier for Sony, and that could work better than day-one releases. They won't have to unify game development; they will still give gamers a reason to buy a PS console, and can still tap into additional income once sales die down on PS.
 

RAIDEN1

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Yeah, if I (a nobody) can do this calculation in like 10 minutes, I'm sure Sony execs can come up with much a better solution than me with all the data and information and market research.

I think either Sony is just being (1) lazy/complacent, or (2) they firmly believe that the industry isn't going anywhere and their traditional method will win this battle, or (3) they have something big cooking that they haven't announced yet.
End of the day if Sony wanted to jump on the GamePass bandwagon they would have, there is nothing stopping them...it mirrors how Nintendo dragged their feet into the world of online....When Xbox Live was showing how it is done circa 2006/2007, Nintendo saw it and had nothing like it on the Wii et all, their online support left a lot to be desired....they could have had their own all-singing all dancing Nintendo Network...but they didn't..
 

Heisenberg007

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$5 a month. Remove that dumbass online paywall. Put their exclusives on pc. Invest in Bloodborne 2, Silent Hill. Put them on PonyPass Day 1.
But will $5 a month make financial sense? especially if their AAA games (Sony's bread n butter) cost them $100-$200 million dollars per game.
 

SkylineRKR

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Wouldn't a cheaper equivalent of GP work for Sony? One that adds the games on it we otherwise get with Plus and Now. They sell their AAA games day one and they eventually end up on the service much like blockbuster movies eventually end up on streaming services.

Basically, they should at least offer a deal that contains both Plus and Now. It makes no sense that at Sony you have a separate Plus, Now and EA Access which is even gimped because of lack of BC. I only have Plus, but I would likely take Now if a combination deal was being offered. Its the amount of subs thats offputting. I usually end some subs because I don't want to have too many at the same time. I'm currently not watching Netflix at all so I ended it early this year. I have Disney running atm because of Wandavision and Falcon. The GP deal is nice because its a combo of EA, Live and GP. I like combo deals.
 
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Heisenberg007

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After being a Game Pass denier and then trying it, it's the future.

Sony should get with the program before it's too late.
I strongly believe Sony is working on something (I mean Jim has confirmed it himself). But there are two questions: (1) how to make it financially viable, and (2) will first-party games release on day 1, and if not, will such a subscription even work for Sony.
 

MonarchJT

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I think porting games after a year or two will be easier for Sony, and that could work better than day-one releases. They won't have to unify game development; they will still give gamers a reason to buy a PS console, and can still tap into additional income once sales die down on PS.
The thing is , if you want a profitable service you need to increase the user reach of your service. This is what Microsoft means when they release on PC the same day One. You cannot treat someone who subscribes to your service as tier 2 users. And it would be too stupid to leave that sea of potential users in thin air.
 
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Heisenberg007

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Wouldn't a cheaper equivalent of GP work for Sony? One that adds the games on it we otherwise get with Plus and Now. They sell their AAA games day one and they eventually end up on the service much like blockbuster movies eventually end up on streaming services.

Basically, they should at least offer a deal that contains both Plus and Now. It makes no sense that at Sony you have a separate Plus, Now and EA Access which is even gimped because of lack of BC. I only have Plus, but I would likely take Now if a combination deal was being offered. Its the amount of subs thats offputting. I usually end some subs because I don't want to have too many at the same time. I'm currently not watching Netflix at all so I ended it early this year. I have Disney running atm because of Wandavision and Falcon. The GP deal is nice because its a combo of EA, Live and GP. I like combo deals.
Yes, I think that's kind of a given. Sony must combine the two services and work on the messaging/positioning of that one remaining service.
 

reksveks

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The real question isn't whether it is sustainable or not, but it is more financially profitable than thier current strategy. And when does Sony shift cause it makes more sense to line up future profits instead of getting current ones.

I don't know if anyone has the Sony margin and profit for this year.
 
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Heisenberg007

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The real question isn't whether it is sustainable or not, but it is more financially profitable than thier current strategy.

I don't know if anyone has the Sony margin and profit for this year.
IIRC, their last 12 months were the most profitable for them and earned them ~$3 billion in net profit. But this was during a console launch period. If it weren't, that figure would be much higher than $3 billion.

I think that's the hesitation and dilemma that Sony is in. if they change their strategy, they risk decreasing their profits in hopes of a better future (which may or may not come).
 

Warnen

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Sony is fine they will keep making big titles for the PS4 (up scaling on ps5) for years to come.
 
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Fist, Sony does not need to go Gamepass.

Second, Sony fans does not care about it.

Third, the kind of games they make is made to be sold, not on Gamepass.

Fourth, it makes no sense for them to go Gamepass.

Fith, they sold more than 100 millions PS4. Nintendo should go full Gamepass on MacStore before. Nintendo sells less, their hardwares are shit, it makes better sense.
 
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Matt_Fox

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I own both consoles but recently Game Pass has been keeping me almost exclusively on the XSX.

'Eco system' is a buzzword but the fact is that when it does come time to actually pony up money and buy a multi-format game (Resident Evil 8 day one) I'm way more inclined to get it on Xbox.

Do nothing and carry on like before is not an option for Sony.
 

MonarchJT

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PlayStation won't be dragged down to Xbox's level. For Xbox it's a case of "when you've got nothing, you've got nothing to lose". Sony exclusives sell millions upon millions of copies. They're simply not going to give them away when they can get hundreds of millions of dollars for them on launch day.
so silly.....this is like to say that before netflix no one was buying movies. If practically everyone from music to cinema to development software such as Adobe or Ms Office are starting to launch services "everything for one price " It is because this model has (although still many are reluctant to believe it) more grip on users, which means it brings more revenues. If Sony doesn't want to get too far behind it has to hurry up and launch their service
 
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Winter John

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But will $5 a month make financial sense? especially if their AAA games (Sony's bread n butter) cost them $100-$200 million dollars per game.

As with every new thing companies have to lure in customers so $5 a month makes sense in the short term. If Sony really wanted to make a push they'd start putting their exclusives on pc. Although, to be honest most of Sony's exclusives really aren't as unique or special as the fanboys think they are. So it could be argued that Sony are better off keeping their games exclusive so they can milk their fanboys.
 
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Smoke6

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Man most of y’all delusional as hell about this gamepass! It was a do or die last ditch effort for MS in which they’re turning into a publisher right before our very eyes! They know gamepass is unsustainable and Sony is in the business to make money not bleed it!

Someone explain to me how halo’s budget that’s rumored to have exceeded $500mil is supposed to recoup those cost when most people have gamepass for a few years just for a few bucks? Not only that but you still have to recoup the costs for all the other games on the service including all first party games!

another fact is that not a single Xbox game has even charted in god knows how long now!

Yeah you might as well start a subscription service for cars and tell me how long that’s gonna last
 

Smoke6

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As with every new thing companies have to lure in customers so $5 a month makes sense in the short term. If Sony really wanted to make a push they'd start putting their exclusives on pc. Although, to be honest most of Sony's exclusives really aren't as unique or special as the fanboys think they are. So it could be argued that Sony are better off keeping their games exclusive so they can milk their fanboys.
What you mean Sony’s first party games aren’t unique?

what’s on PC or Xbox that comes close?
I’ll wait...
 
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Banjo64

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Works well for MS because they have a strong multiplayer presence; Halo, Gears, Sea of Thieves, Forza, Grounded. Even Everwild.

I’ve never played a single Sony game that I haven’t Platted in less than a month. So it would become a case of; subscribe to PS Game Pass equivalent for one month whenever GoW, Horizon, Ratchet, Spider-Man 2 drop for £15-£20, get the Plat - let the sub expire.

People laugh at ‘yet another Halo/Gears’ but it’s multiplayer games that have the longest legs by far and therefore work better for a subscription service.

All subjective of course, but my op
 

Azurro

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so when Sony will do it will be sustainable isn't it? :) We've all been saying this for over a year now gamepass is revolutionizing the video game business and it's so convenient (for users) that it's just silly not to accept it. If then whoever launches the service will be able to have 60/80 million users. it will earn so much that no one will want to return to the previous business anymore. Sony will copy gamepass is just a question of when not of if. Jimbo says what he has to say at the moment will change tone when will launch their own gamepass service

GamePass isn't sustainable, it's a money hole. Sony isn't doing it because they don't need to, they are earning billions while MS is losing hundreds of millions trying to disrupt the market.
 

Bryank75

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Bryank75 Bryank75 Would love your insights here.

Hey, thanks for the tag and thinking of me!

The way I see it is.... they could do a gamepass.

They would need to scrap PSNow

While Xbox gamepass could be compared to the Netflix of gaming.... PlayStation should aim to be the Disney+ of gaming.

Ideal content would be Destiny and updates (day and date), Outriders, Monster Hunter and Avengers as a tier of GAAS. (Maybe MLB / FIFA etc)

Telltale / Quantic Dream and Supermassive type games should be another tier of content and they should have at least one or two developers making content in this tier that updates every month to two months.

They should have AAA games from Ubisoft and other 3rd party devs launching every 2 to 3 months day and date.

Exclusives: Work like Disney+ and are 20 dollars to access for the launch month but go away after that first month and are 10 euro for each month afterwards.

Cost of the service: 20 per month or 190 per annum.

Many older games: Yakuza, MGS games, GOW, all PS4 exclusives.

Available on PC, no more ports.

That's how I'd do it.
 

Negotiator101

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Man most of y’all delusional as hell about this gamepass! It was a do or die last ditch effort for MS in which they’re turning into a publisher right before our very eyes! They know gamepass is unsustainable and Sony is in the business to make money not bleed it!

Someone explain to me how halo’s budget that’s rumored to have exceeded $500mil is supposed to recoup those cost when most people have gamepass for a few years just for a few bucks? Not only that but you still have to recoup the costs for all the other games on the service including all first party games!

another fact is that not a single Xbox game has even charted in god knows how long now!

Yeah you might as well start a subscription service for cars and tell me how long that’s gonna last
This is a joke right? All the large companies have some form of subscription service, but you're saying they're all wrong and it's not sustainable lol
 

Banjo64

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Man most of y’all delusional as hell about this gamepass! It was a do or die last ditch effort for MS in which they’re turning into a publisher right before our very eyes! They know gamepass is unsustainable and Sony is in the business to make money not bleed it!

Someone explain to me how halo’s budget that’s rumored to have exceeded $500mil is supposed to recoup those cost when most people have gamepass for a few years just for a few bucks? Not only that but you still have to recoup the costs for all the other games on the service including all first party games!

another fact is that not a single Xbox game has even charted in god knows how long now!

Yeah you might as well start a subscription service for cars and tell me how long that’s gonna last
Charted where? MCC, Sea of Thieves and Grounded are regularly in the Steam top 10 and even Forza Horizon 4 was with its £50+ price tag.
 

Bo_Hazem

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It will only be profitable as download-only service. Dedicating a PS5 or PS4 for each cloud gamer is ridiculously expensive. PS+ Collection is a much preferable concept. Overall, they shouldn't lose their shit over a domestic sport game. You shouldn't follow the losing teams.

The only thing that needs to be reconsidered is the $70/80 euros pricetag, only if that was Sony's solo decision, which I don't really believe it to be. Just make it back $60 and add cosmetic MTX, no need to please those "has no MTX" crowd while keeping the prices up.
 

Heisenberg007

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Man most of y’all delusional as hell about this gamepass! It was a do or die last ditch effort for MS in which they’re turning into a publisher right before our very eyes! They know gamepass is unsustainable and Sony is in the business to make money not bleed it!

Someone explain to me how halo’s budget that’s rumored to have exceeded $500mil is supposed to recoup those cost when most people have gamepass for a few years just for a few bucks? Not only that but you still have to recoup the costs for all the other games on the service including all first party games!

another fact is that not a single Xbox game has even charted in god knows how long now!

Yeah you might as well start a subscription service for cars and tell me how long that’s gonna last
That's also a fair argument, i.e., Sony doesn't need this model at all.

I did mention this in note #2 in my OP, but I should clarify that this is just a theoretical case study / business scenario, i.e., if Sony were to make a gamepass, what would it look like and how will it achieve ROI.
 

Bryank75

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GamePass isn't sustainable, it's a money hole. Sony isn't doing it because they don't need to, they are earning billions while MS is losing hundreds of millions trying to disrupt the market.
True...

The best approach to this would be for Sony to get a lump of their cash and maybe 50% debt (since debt is so cheap) and go out and buy a controlling stake in several publishers.... then starve Xbox of content.

They won't do it because their incompetent at a management level right now but that would kick MSFT right in the balls and make content prices very high.
 
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MonarchJT

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GamePass isn't sustainable, it's a money hole. Sony isn't doing it because they don't need to, they are earning billions while MS is losing hundreds of millions trying to disrupt the market.
you have objectively no idea what you are talking about. And I mean it sincerely. no idea. If you think that ms one of the richest companies in the world has yet to learn how to calculate how to make a few dollars. Yours is pure fanboysim, by the way I don't know why, tied up to the past.
 
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MrS

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so silly.....this is like to say that before netflix no one was buying movies. If practically everyone from music to cinema to development software such as Adobe or Ms Office are starting to launch services "everything for one price " It is because this model has (although still many are reluctant to believe it) more grip on users, which means it brings more revenues. If Sony doesn't want to get too far behind it has to hurry up and launch their service
Dream on. It's never going to happen.
 

Bryank75

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They are working on a PSNow revamp according to Jim Ryan. I'm not expecting much and whatever they announce will be a double edged sword because they will surely upset their rabid fanboys with PC announcements.
Yeah...knowing how moronic and hamfisted he is...he will do a shit job.
 
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Heisenberg007

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True...

The best approach to this would be for Sony to get a lump of their cash and maybe 50% debt (since debt is so cheap) and go out and buy a controlling stake in several publishers.... then starve Xbox of content.

They won't do it because their incompetent at a management level right now but that would kick MSFT right in the balls and make content prices very high.
Fair disclaimer: I hate the idea of enjoying content just because the other team can't play it. That's very schadenfreude for me.

Having said that, purely from a Sony's business perspective, I have no idea why Sony isn't doing anything like that. 2-3 years ago, Bandai Namco's market cap was around $2 billion. Now it's $6+ billion. Sega is still around $2-$3 billion dollars that Sony can acquire.

Honestly, they should invest roughly $4-$5 billion in studio acquisitions and portfolio enhancements. With that kind of money, they can easily get:
  • BluePoint
  • HouseMarque
  • Kojima Productions
  • Ember Lab
  • miHoYo
  • Sega
  • Platinum Games
It's just baffling that they aren't being very aggressive. I don't like the notion that Xbox will just run past Sony with these moves. Sony is just so far ahead. However, Xbox will narrow the lead if Sony doesn't do anything. To maintain that lead, Sony needs to become aggressive again.
 

Heisenberg007

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They are working on a PSNow revamp according to Jim Ryan. I'm not expecting much and whatever they announce will be a double edged sword because they will surely upset their rabid fanboys with PC announcements.
I don't think he explicitly mentioned PSNow. He just said "an answer to Gamepass". It could be PS Now, could be PS+, or could be something completely new. My bet is on PS+.
 

Heisenberg007

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Sony should counter gamepass by offering free online.

Game pass trolls would melt like butter in sunshine.

No one really want rentpass. And i dont want to pay for online gaming. It would be the greatest pr win for sony.
That would be a "boss" move. Like buying Bethesda and getting MLB for GP day one were "boss" moves.