The problem is not the price increase, it's how Sony announced it.
Usually when a company makes a change to their policies, they issue some kind of statement to the public indicating the change. So it came as a surprise to many yesterday to discover that Sony had amended the Terms of Service with a price increase set to take place on September 22nd 2016. If you have not heard yet, the cost of Playstation Plus in the United States will increase from $49.99 to $59.99 for a 12 month subscription, matching the cost of Microsoft’s rival network Xbox Live. If you live in Canada, the price will be increasing to $69.99, or $10 more than Xbox Live. The pricing for tri-monthly plans and monthly plans are also changing, with the tri-monthly plan increasing to $24.99 USD/$29.99 CAD and the monthly plan increasing to $11.99 in Canada. There is no change to the price for 1 month of Playstation Plus in the United States.
Although it is understandable why Sony would feel the need to increase the price of the subscription, the method they used to announce this change is not. Rather than issue a formal announcement, an update was issued on a nearly 1 month old blog post for the Playstation Plus August free games. So far there have been more than 250 comments on this development, almost entirely negative and buried at the end of the comment section. While I can only speculate on whether or not they intended to hide the initial reaction deep in the comment section of a month old blog post. The manner in which they announced the change was very sneaky and is bad for the consumer.
Update: Starting on September 22, 2016, prices for PlayStation Plus memberships will change to $59.99 USD/ $69.99 CAD for twelve months and $24.99 USD/$29.99 CAD for three months. The monthly plan will change to $11.99 CAD in Canada, and remain $9.99 USD in the U.S. If you are a current member, the new prices will take effect if your membership renews on or after this date.
PlayStation Plus strives to enrich your PlayStation experience through a world-class service built for our fans. This marks the first time that PS Plus membership prices will increase in the U.S. and Canada since the launch of the service in 2010. The new pricing reflects the current market conditions while enabling us to continue providing exceptional value to our members. As a member, you will continue to enjoy the benefits and features that enable shared experiences, such as online multiplayer, free games, and exclusive discounts. You will also continue to get exclusive benefits such as online game save storage and discounts across the PlayStation digital services.
If you do not wish to continue your subscription, please be sure to cancel it by turning off auto-renewal in your account settings before September 22, 2016.
We thank all of you, our PlayStation Plus members, for your ongoing support.
Sony cites ‘changing market conditions’ as the reasoning behind the price increase, but this has not prevented a large backlash from their fans. Among the complaints are upset Canadian subscribers wondering why they have to pay more for Playstation Plus than Xbox Live. Other complains revolve around the increased cost coming while the service continues to decline in their eyes. Although Playstation Plus is much improved this generation the free games offered so far have been somewhat lackluster and there are still major security issues. While the opinion on the free games will vary from user to user and is entirely subjective, the poor security protecting the users is not. Over the past month there have been a large amount of compromised accounts on Playstation Network that have allowed hackers access to make charges to the victims PayPal and credit cards. Something two-factor authentication could help prevent. Sony announced in April that they were working on a two-factor authentication solution but have yet to introduce the option.
Many of the upset Playstation Plus subscribers simply want to see some sign that Sony is working to improve the Playstation Network as a means to justify the increased cost of the service. Giving better games in September will be a good start, but many will not be happy until Sony finally releases two-factor authentication.
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