PS Now has eclipsed 2.2 million subscribers, Sony revealed today, which includes adding more than a million new subscribers in the last 18 months.
The company said in the time since it added the ability to download games alongside the streaming option, the service grew enormously. It was first reported in September 2018 that the service had cleared one million subscribers, and today it's more than doubled to the 2.2 million players today.
The lack of a download option has partly been the cause for the service's slow start. PS Now first arrived six years ago, and did so three years before Microsoft's similar service, Xbox Game Pass. But today, Xbox Game Pass has over 10 million subscribers, while PlayStation 4 has sold much better than Xbox One but has a fraction of those players in PS Now.
In addition to the download option, players have likely also jumped into PS Now more enthusiastically as of late thanks to some marquee additions to the library. In the last several months, Sony has added games like Bloodborne, Horizon: Zero Dawn, and Spider-Man.
It will be interesting to see how Sony plays the start of the next generation. Microsoft's Game Pass service has grown quickly due to a constant stream of new games, including the popular policy of putting all its first-party games in the library on their respective launch dates. This method makes a lot of sense for Xbox given many of its highest profile games are live-service games that benefit from sustained communities. Games like Sea of Thieves, Forza Horizon 4, and Gears 5 can all take the hit on launch day sales as the Xbox team understands it's most important to get people through the door and make the money back over time with subscriber payments and in-game purchases.
But Sony has been more hesitant to give away its first-party games like that, likely because many of the company's games are single-player story-driven games which don't keep most players around after they've hit the end credits. Sony is getting better at adding its PlayStation Studios projects to PS Now eventually, but the timeframe is always one of months or years. For PS5, perhaps that policy will have to be reevaluated if the next generation truly is going to be won and lost according to services and subscriptions like many analysts predict.