Gaming subscription services

A variety of gaming subscription services are available for Next Generation console gamers, from premium subscription services for the console that include the ability to play multiplayer online and free game downloads, to mail order or video game streaming services to play time subscriptions for massively multiplayer online games (MMOs). Which of these services are console gamers taking advantage of, and are there any major differences across platforms? In a recent RapidPoll, we asked 400 Next Gen console gamers “Which of these paid game subscriptions do you currently have?”

Console Premium Membership Subscriptions

With the deep segmenting options available from the RapidPolls panel, we can see there are some significant differences between PlayStation owners and Xbox owners. Xbox owners are more likely to have a current premium console subscription: 68% of Xbox owners have an Xbox Live Gold membership compared to just 60% of PlayStation owners having PlayStation Plus memberships. This difference increases if you look at just Next Gen console owners: 74% of Xbox One owners are Xbox Live Gold subscribers versus 65% of PlayStation 4 owners with a PlayStation Plus subscription.

For both consoles, subscriptions increase if they own both the Next Gen and previous generation consoles (i.e., both a PlayStation 4 and a PlayStation 3, or both an Xbox One and an Xbox 360).

Overall, 23% of Next Gen console gamers do not subscribe to a premium console subscription service. About 12% of Next Gen console gamers subscribe to both PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Gold.

When looking at just their preferred gaming platform, 88% of gamers that prefer the Xbox One have Xbox Live Gold subscriptions while 80% of gamers that prefer the PlayStation 4 have a PlayStation Plus subscription.

Console Migrations and Next Gen Console Ownership

PlayStation 3 owners were slightly more likely to stay within the brand when getting a Next Generation console. Of PlayStation 3 owners, 82% also have a PlayStation 4. When it comes to Xbox 360 owners, only 69% also have an Xbox One.

Console gamers that owned both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 also showed a small preference for the PlayStation 4, with 78% of dual-platform gamers getting a PlayStation 4 compared to 63% getting an Xbox One (with about 40% getting both). Overall, 63% of Next Gen console gamers own a PlayStation 4 and 52% of Next Gen console gamers own an Xbox One (including the 15% that own both).

Game Streaming and Game Rental Services

PlayStation offers a game streaming service through their console called PlayStation Now. It allows gamers to rent games that they can stream and play on their consoles. About 10% of PlayStation owners reported subscribing to the service.

Another game rental service is GameFly. It uses a model similar to Netflix to send games to its subscribers through the mail. Only about 5% of all Next Gen console gamers subscribe to the service. However, Next Gen console gamers that own both the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One were twice as likely to have a GameFly subscription (10%).

Paid MMO Subscriptions

Many popular massively multiplayer online (MMO) games have a monthly subscription for their game. About 13% of all Next Gen console gamers have a paid MMO subscription. This was most prevalent, however, among gamers whose preferred platform was PC or Mac (22%). PlayStation 4 owners were more likely to have an MMO subscription than Xbox One owners (15% versus 10%). This is likely because of greater availability of MMOs on the PlayStation 4 than on the Xbox One. For example, one of the more popular subscription MMO games, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, is only available on PlayStation and PC.