By Martin Armstrong

As of September 2021, Sony's PlayStation Plus had around 47 million paying customers. This makes it the gaming subscription service with the most members worldwide, well ahead of its biggest competitors Xbox Game Pass and Nintendo Switch Online. Nintendo's online service is still Sony's closest pursuer with 32 million memberships. Microsoft only recently announced that its Game Pass counterpart had reached the 25 million subscriber mark.

So far, Microsoft has been able to attract the fewest people to its product, but the company has invested heavily in its gaming division over the past few years. With the acquisition of video game publisher Bethesda in 2020 and the latest purchase of Activision Blizzard for around $68.7 billion, Microsoft brought big names from the gaming industry into the company. These will significantly strengthen the Xbox's games portfolio with exclusive titles in the future.

The strategy of releasing many of the latest blockbuster games directly for Game Pass significantly increases the attractiveness of the subscription and is already bearing fruit. Within the last year, the number of members grew by a full 67 percent - neither Sony nor Nintendo collected new customers that quickly. There's also the factor of availability: while the PS5 has been chronically sold out since its release and Sony can't keep up with production to meet demand, the Xbox Series X/S has been available more frequently. This ultimately persuaded some gamers to buy an Xbox instead of the PS5.

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