PlayStation Now is leading the game subscription market ahead of EA Access and Xbox Game Pass
Sony's video game subscription offering, PlayStation Now, is leading the market way ahead of competing services such as EA Access and Microsoft Xbox Game Pass. According to data gathered by SuperData Research, in the last quarter, video game subscription services brought in a revenue of US$273 million of which PlayStation Now grabbed the lion's share at 52% followed by EA Access at 16% and Xbox Game Pass at 15%. On the PC, EA Origin Access and Origin Access Premier held a combined share of 17%. These Neflix-style business models contributed a total of 6% revenue of the total PC and game revenue in Q3 2018.
SuperData Research notes that most media consumption in the US is moving towards a subscription-based model and that unlike movies and music, video games have an advantage of driving additional sales via in-game content. Subscribers are likely to spend more (at least US$25) per month on in-game content compared to non-subscribers (US$10 a month) and character skins/cosmetics account for the bulk of in-game purchases. Subscribers are also likely to spend an average of 45% more on full-priced games than non-subscribers.
While subscribers are generally hardcore gamers, there are several factors that influence their decision to subscribe to a service. Factors such as cost of subscription and the catalog size are primary considerations. PlayStation Now is primarily a cloud gaming service that allows gamers to stream video game content and has only recently allowed downloads for certain titles. Interestingly, while PlayStation Now leads the video game subscription market, subscribers actually seem to favor services that allow downloading games than just streaming them so that they don't run into network latency issues.
Given such immense revenue potential, video game subscription services are poised to grow even bigger in the days to come. Recently, Microsoft started offering the Xbox One consoles as a subscription package and the upcoming Xbox 'Scarlett' is rumored to be available in a subscription-based streaming-only SKU. While non-subscribers have nothing to lose, a subscription service might turn out to be more cost-effective in the long run.