PlayStation Now is the Biggest Game Streaming Service Today

Posted on May 23, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Cloud, Games, Xbox One with 7 Comments

Game streaming may be the future of gaming, but it’s a relatively tiny market today. And Sony is the biggest player, according to a new report.

“Cloud as a platform is the next major battleground for the biggest games companies,” a new IHS report notes. “Competitivity in cloud gaming services will revolve around two key areas: infrastructure and content. Cloud gaming services will slowly increase their potential audience as next-generation fixed and mobile broadband is adopted. 5G will start to make a more significant impact on adoption from 2022 onwards.”

According to the firm, the total size of the cloud gaming market is just $387 million today, but it’s expected to grow to $2.5 billion by 2023.

Sony’s PlayStation Now service is currently the biggest player, and it is responsible for 36 percent of that total, or about $90 million. That figure is interesting because it may give us a rough idea of the number of users who subscribe to PlayStation Now. The cost of the service ranges from $20 per month to $99 per year, depending on how one pays. If you figure an average cost of $180 per year, then it’s reasonable to believe there are about 500,000 subscribers.

That’s a drop in the bucket compared to the 36.3 million PlayStation Plus subscribers and the 100 million PlayStation 4 consoles that Sony has sold. But then this is early days for game streaming, and the disparity between these numbers neatly highlights why Sony needs Microsoft Azure if it’s going to scale its own business to meet the game streaming needs of the future.

And Sony is going to have a lot of competition. In addition to tradition console makers like Microsoft, which will offer its own xCloud service, Sony will have to stare down new competitors like Google Stadia, Amazon, Walmart, and others.

Tagged with , , , , ,

Join the discussion!


Don't have a login but want to join the conversation? Become a Thurrott Premium or Basic User to participate

Comments (7)

7 responses to “PlayStation Now is the Biggest Game Streaming Service Today”

  1. ecumenical

    Sony gave official numbers in their earnings call at the end of April - it's about 700,000.

  2. maethorechannen

    I wonder how Sony plans on continuing PS3 game support on PlayStation Now. PS3s in server racks (assuming that's how it actually works) doesn't seem sustainable long term.

    I still think Sony shot themselves in the foot when they killed the PS3, Vita and Sony TV clients. Especially the Vita client.

  3. Bats

    Sony's Playstation Now has been the biggest online gaming service for a while. The IHS report is very late. When I learned how big Playstation Now was and how it had the most subscribers,.....that was last year!

    It's because of THIS news and the popularity of the PS+ service, is why it's hard to think that the next gen console war is already over. I know Microsoft boasts 60+ mil Xbox Live users, but (I think) no one knows at all how many of them are actually "Gold" subscribers. Most people think it's far less than the PS+ number.

    • ecumenical

      In reply to Bats:

      PlayStation Now and PlayStation Plus are two separate things.

      PlayStation Now is the game-streaming/game-download subscription service being discussed in this article, and it's been a massive failure. 700,000 subscribers on a ~95 million install base of PS4 machines is very small. Xbox Game Pass isn't directly comparable as a service (it doesn't offer streaming), but it already has "millions" of subscribers with about half as many consoles sold. This failure is probably part of the reason that Sony decided to partner with Microsoft for streaming content delivery.

      PlayStation Plus is the subscription that Sony requires for anyone to play online, directly comparable to Xbox Live Gold. PlayStation Plus had 36 million subscribers as of the end of March. Microsoft hasn't released Xbox Live Gold totals that I can find.

      Sony also discusses their "PlayStation Network" user numbers, which would be comparable to the 64 million total Xbox Live (not necessarily Gold) users reported in January of this year. They said they had 94 million active PSN users as of March.

  4. glenn8878

    Would this be different than playing a game online which usually do not require a subscription to play?