PlayStation Plus the big "weapon" for Sony's next-gen hopes
In an interview with Gamesindustry.biz, Sony Vice President of PlayStation Home and Handheld Consoles, John Koller, said "PlayStation Plus is fantastic. This is going to be a significant part of our marketing efforts over the next 6, 12, 24 months. This is a big part of what we do. The amount of value that you get from PlayStation Plus is significant. Since E3, we've seen a significant rise in PlayStation Plus adoption and we'll be utilizing this."
Signing up for PlayStation Plus currently provides players with 10 “free” games and a host of discounts and other exclusive goodies. Koller calls it a “weapon” for acquiring the attention of new game players “"This is a nice weapon in our arsenal that we'll be utilising and it's just a great value for a consumer that's coming in.”
It’s interesting that Sony sees it as a customer acquisition strategy, because that’s nothing compared to its ability to retain customers. The lock-in with PlayStation Plus is significant – stop paying for the service and you’ll lose dozens of games. Working on the assumption that the PlayStation 4 will also offer the PlayStation Plus service – Sony will immediately have a large captive audience.
It’s anecdotal, but I’ve seen my friends list fill with people with the little “+” symbol next to their profile – they’re the overwhelming majority of PlayStation 3 owners, according to my own small sample.
And again, assuming that the PS4 also offers Plus, it’s likely that a great number of those “+” profiled people will be looking to transfer their accounts to the next gen. Without a cent spent on market acquisition Sony has a captive audience already. That’s a massive thing for a company that needs the PS4 to be a big success.
Once Plus rolls out to the PSVita, I would also be very surprised if there wasn't a marked increase in Vita sales as well. Sony calls it a weapon, and it is indeed a big weapon.