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Video Game Subscription Service Spending On Non-Mobile Platforms Has “Stalled,” According To Circana Analyst

Circana analyst Mat Piscatella has long been a reliable source for a view of the games industry sales in the United States, and last year, Piscatella noted that spending on video game subscription services in the US have “stalled.”

A month short of a year since that report, he reaffirms what he said last year, with March 2024 numbers showing subscription service spending has grown by 1% compared to April 2023. In April 2023, it had grown 2% from the year before.

Subscription services in video games haven’t exactly catapulted to the forefront of the industry compared to how streaming and subscription services dominate movies and tv. These services however are still prominent, particularly due to the features that are core to playing games in many ways being tied to these services on consoles.

You can’t play games online without being subscribed to that platform holders subscription service. But while there are millions of players who play multiplayer games and pay for these services, there are still millions more who just ignore them.

Players that don’t want these services are clear in that by not paying for them. No matter the deals these service holders make to bring games to the service to try and justify their increasing cost, nothing is really moving the needle.

It’s an interesting observation to note, particularly off the back of Microsoft shuttering four studios, including Tango Gameworks, who released Hi-Fi Rush into a subscription service, and Xbox previously claimed it had been a success by all key metrics.

So if even studios who are meant to round out these subscription services and do so very well aren’t safe, what will the impact of stalled subscription service growth be?

Is part of the impact these studio closures? Is it the removal of even first-party games, as we’ve seen with Horizon Zero Dawn potentially leaving the game catalog for PS Plus Extra and higher tier subscribers?

Source – [Mat Piscatella on Twitter]