PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan: Game subscriptions won't hit Spotify or Netflix levels

PlayStation Plus
(Image credit: Sony)

Even as PlayStation unveils its renewed PS Plus subscription service as a competitor to Xbox Game Pass, company CEO Jim Ryan reckons gaming subscriptions will never "go to the levels we see with Spotify and Netflix." 

Speaking with GamesIndustry, Ryan acknowledged that "subscription has certainly grown in importance over the course of the last few years," with PlayStation's own premium subscription service recently topping 48 million subscribers. While Ryan expects PS Plus to continue to grow as PlayStation rolls out its expanded, three-tier model, his expectations for the games industry as a whole are more reserved.

"The medium of gaming is so very different to music and to linear entertainment that I don't think we'll see it go to the levels that we see with Spotify and Netflix," he says of subscription services. Regarding long-term engagement, Ryan adds that live service games "arguably fit that bill better than a subscription," and is quick to stress that "it's all about choice" and "nobody is obliged to do anything." 

Ryan's argument, it seems, is that while gaming subscriptions will keep expanding, they will not become the go-to way that a majority of users play games. 

Xbox Game Pass, in particular, is often described as a Netflix of games – though that's really just a shorthand term to sum up the user experience – and the renewed PlayStation Plus announced today seems functionally similar, though it will lack some key features such as day-one launches for big games like God of War Ragnarok. Ryan attributed this approach to the "virtuous cycle" of investment and success that's all but enshrined at Sony's first-party PlayStation Studios, and argued that day-one subscription launches would see a "knock-on effect on the quality of the games that we make." 

What the new PlayStation Plus could learn from Disney Plus to become a Game Pass rival. 

Austin Wood

Austin freelanced for the likes of PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and he's been with GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a senior writer is just a cover up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news and the occasional feature, all while playing as many roguelikes as possible.