Some PS Plus Players Are Seemingly Getting Hit With A Giant Upgrade Tax

Some PS Plus Players Are Seemingly Getting Hit With A Giant Upgrade Tax
Image: Sony

Sony’s new and improved PlayStation Plus program has already launched in some parts of the world, and players are seemingly running into all sorts of issues. But the one players are freaking out about the most right now is a potential wrinkle in how the pricing for upgrading works which could leave some of them on the hook for hundreds of dollars.

The big PS Plus overhaul, currently already live in Asia, effectively combines it with PlayStation Now and breaks up additional benefits across three tiers. Essentials is the same as the current subscription, Extra includes a Game Pass-like library of games on demand and Premium gives subscribers access to cloud streaming and classic games. The new tiers are $US100 ($139) and $US120 ($167) annually, and will require existing PS Plus subscribers to upgrade to access them. Makes sense.

But what some players are finding is that if they had previously purchased a discounted version of PS Plus, they now need to pay the difference to fully upgrade to the new, more expensive tiers. Here’s how one post that’s been getting a lot of attention on the PlayStation Plus subreddit explains it. “For example, If you purchased 1 year plus for 25%off, which is $US45 ($62),” it reads. “To update to extra plan, you need to pay 100 – 45 = 55$, not 100-60=40$”

Another issue is that players apparently can’t just upgrade for a month or a year, they have to upgrade for the entire duration of their current membership. So if you, I don’t know, decided to purchase an extra 10 years of PS Plus when it was significantly discounted, you’d now have to pay to upgrade the entire decade at the full price.

That might sound like a weird outlier, but it’s not uncommon for some of PlayStation’s biggest fans to stack years and years of subscriptions when there’s a particularly big discount on them. That’s what happened earlier this year when PS Now was selling at half-off and a bunch of players rushed to capitalise on the deal, especially since the subscriptions would automatically roll over into PS Plus Premium subscriptions once the programs were combined.

Nathan Drake tries to remember how many PS Plus subs he stacked.  (Screenshot: Sony)Nathan Drake tries to remember how many PS Plus subs he stacked. (Screenshot: Sony)

“How many years are you all stacking,” asked industry insider Wario64 who first publicized the sale back in April. Niko Partners analyst Daniel Ahmad seemingly filled up through 2031. So did others. Sony eventually blocked subscription stacking a few weeks later. Now it appears the PS5 maker plans to recoup whatever small savings players might have gotten away with. In the case of a 10-year stack, subscribers could end up having to pay another $US600 ($833) to fully upgrade.

Potential scenarios like this are already stirring a mini-backlash in comments on Reddit, social media, and the PlayStation Blog. “PlayStation is the most profitable it has ever been and rakes in billions upon billions of dollars,” tweeted YouTuber MBG. “To expect a bit of goodwill and a little less greed from time to time is ok.”

At the same time, it’s possible the current anecdotes coming from players in places like Hong Kong are simply pricing errors that will soon get corrected. The upgrade process might also be different from region to region. Sony did not immediately respond to a request for comment to clarify.

One thing that is certain is that much of the PS Plus overhaul rollout has been needlessly confusing. Back in April Sony released a dizzying chart showing PS Plus and Now voucher conversion rates for subscribers going from the current service to the upgraded one. And earlier this month a PlayStation Blog post outlined a sample of the games coming to the new version of the service filled with caveats and asterisks.

Hopefully one of those big asterisks doesn’t turn out to be a hidden fee for stacked memberships. The revamped PS Plus program goes live in the U.S. on June 13.

    

Comments

    • Not so much a bug as an edge case. People thought they found a cheat to exploit the system and Sony fixed it and applied the fix retroactively. I have no sympathy for people crying about their cheat not working but the smart play for Sony is probably to let the baby have his bottle – it’s a drop in the bucket and money now is more valuable than money later.

        • No but technically the product they purchased is no longer available and a lot of people did indeed try to game the system by stacking subs.

          Of course this is on Sony though, they didn’t identify the flaw until it was too late so they are going to have to take it on the chin and judging from the earlier statements and promises of honouring existing subs, it’s safe to assume it’s a teething bug.

  • Am I reading this wrong?

    Because if this charging people extra to upgrade (effectively to recoup a previously offered discount on an already completed sale of a product tier) is indeed as described, then don’t understand how it isn’t actually just blatantly illegal what Sony are doing here.

    Pretty sure if a company pulled something like that here, the ACCC would be looking at them real funny right now.

    Or do we let this all slide by on some ‘Oh those silly digital marketplace shenanigans!’ notion, and just ignore what would look like fraud if we were talking about physical product upgrades?

    • Good question. Could one launch a pre-emptive complaint to give Sony a warning that if they try the same thing here, there are consequences?

  • Maybe not a teeth big at all!!
    Just saw the unconfirmed update from a Sony HK rep who seems to be confirming that this is working as intended.

    “Thank you for contacting PlayStation Support and checking the price of your PlayStation Plus membership subscription.

    Since you purchased PlayStation Plus at a discounted price at the time of membership, there are two PlayStation Plus memberships that cannot enjoy other discounts:
    1) PlayStation Plus membership bought with a discount.
    2) PlayStation Plus membership redeemed with redemption code.

    Therefore, if you need to upgrade to Level 2 or 3 Premium membership, you will need to make up the difference between the previous discounted price and the normal price.

    For example, a PlayStation Plus membership is HK$308 for one year and the discounted price is HK$187.6. The difference is $120.4, divided by the number of months remaining.

    Please rest assured that the system will automatically calculate the difference that needs to be repaid if you need to upgrade. Of course, you can also upgrade or downgrade your membership according to your preference.

    If you do not upgrade, your current PlayStation Plus membership will not be affected. Please be assured that game offers, free monthly game subscriptions and access to 100G of online storage will remain unchanged.”

    Fucking madness!!

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