With Sony planning to implement its PlayStation Plus subscription service heavily into the upcoming PlayStation 4 console, research firm IHS Electronics and Media has forecasted that the company will be generating over a billion dollars a year from the service by 2017.
PlayStation Plus is a yearly subscription fee that PS3, PS Vita and soon PS4 users can pay in order to receive free games and discounts for the various consoles. The scheme will go even further with PS4, as users will need a PS Plus subscription to play games online.
As a result, IHS says that Sony will be generating around $1.2 billion a year from PS Plus alone by 2017, making it a substantial revenue stream for the flailing PlayStation business.
Only $140 million was spent on PlayStation Plus subscriptions in 2012, says IHS, but the requirement of a subscription to play online games on PS4 will apparently greatly increase this figure.
For contrast, IHS points out that Microsoft generated $1.25 billion through its Xbox Live Gold subscription service in 2012 -- a service that is extremely similar to the upcoming PS Plus for PS4. This additional revenue stream has allowed Microsoft to stay ahead of the competition, says the report.
"Sony's decision to emulate Microsoft's paid-for multiplayer gaming strategy levels the playing field and will allow it to invest more heavily in its PlayStation Network infrastructure and services and to compete head-to-head with Microsoft during the next console generation," says Piers Harding-Rolls, director of games at IHS.