sony playstation family

If you haven’t caught today’s commotion, let me fill you in. Sony dropped a bombshell on everyone late this evening, notifying everyone that from tomorrow, 1 October 2014, PlayStation Plus subscriptions are increasing by a whopping 53%. The old price for a year-long subscription was R489. From tomorrow, you’ll be paying R749, almost the price of a new game, for the privilege of online multiplayer and free games on the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita.

Hit the jump to find out more and if you’re reading this article tonight, please share it with others who have subs going off in the next year in order for everyone to implement the workaround to save them from paying the horribly disproportionate increase.

Update: 9:57PM:

Nope, sorry guys. You’re all screwed. MyGaming’s report of price hikes for the three-month option are true. So you either buy up a new sub at the discounted price tonight, or you pay far more in the future.

Update: 30-09-2014 9:46PM:

Please note that Sony won’t be giving anyone with auto-renewal on a free pass – everyone is subject to the same price increases. So it’s better to either renew now, today, if your sub ends in the next four months.

I’ve also noticed that MyGaming reports that the 90-day subs are also going up in price. If this is legit, I’ll have to edit this article to take note of that.

Thanks, Sony, for putting this out after your offices locally have closed.

Here’s Sony Europe’s blurb about the increase and how it affects you

“Due to various market conditions, the price of your PlayStation Plus subscription is going to rise slightly. On 01/10/2014 the price of a 12 month subscription will rise from ZAR489.00 to ZAR749.00.

If your PlayStation Plus account is set to renew automatically you don’t need to do anything. You won’t begin paying the new rate immediately on 01/10/2014; instead you will start paying the new price from your first renewal date after 01/10/2014.

You can find instructions on how to check your renewal date how to manage automatic wallet funding and how to add/delete a credit or debit card in the links below.

If you’d like to cancel automatic renewal, follow the link below, click on the subscription you want to cancel and choose “cancel automatic renewal.” You will retain your membership benefits until the end of the current billing period.”

Now what’s most likely happening here is that Sony Europe is making sure they aren’t losing money in a market as small as ours – in the US, Canada, UK, Australia and most of Europe, the price of a PlayStation Plus subscription is high, but not quite the same price as a single game on launch day. For the US, its around $60 for a new game, while the year-long subscription costs just $50. Economies of scale dictate that it’s not a big loss for Sony to drop the prices in those markets to remain competitive and they’re still earning a reasonable profit on the Plus subscriptions there.

Here, though, games launch at an average price of R799 but our 365-day subscription currently costs way less at an average of R500 (R489 if you buy direct on Sony’s store today). For Europe, it’s €50 to an average launch game price of €80, which is the same ratio, but Europe collectively is a far larger market than we are.

Still, we’ll be one of the few countries in the world where Sony has a presence where a year-long PS Plus subscription costs as much as a new game. That’s just insane. I know it’s a once-off lump sum for a year but come on, it’s still the same service! It can’t honestly be possible that Sony hasn’t looked at the prices before in the past and thought to increase them back then. Perhaps the positive uptake of the PlayStation 4 locally spurred this train of thought.

How you can avoid the price increase (for now)

sony psn renewal

Tonight, before the day is done, open up this link to Sony’s Account Management console. Head on over to the media tab and find your PlayStation Plus subscription somewhere in there along with all the free games you’ve downloaded but never finished or even played. Check to make sure if automatic renewal for the subscription is turned on. If you want to avoid paying the price increase, turn it off as per their recommendation.

Then go to the Account tab. Navigate your way through to the Wallet menu and decide if you want to enable auto-adding of funds from your credit card to your wallet to pay for subscriptions or preorders.

One option to get out of this mess is disabling auto-renewal and buying a 90-day subscription instead for when the 12-month one ends. Sony isn’t raising the price on that product, so having that option on auto-renew saves you R150 a year roughly. For new and existing PS3, PS4 and PS Vita owners who want a subscription, the 90-day renew option is the cheaper way forward. Nope! Can’t do this now! You’re screwed! Please refer to the update above.

If you’re really averse to spending that extra R100 R260 with the 90-day renew offer and are reasonably sure you won’t be ditching your console/s anytime this year or the next, buy up some 365-day PSN cards while you still can at the nominal price of R500 (Takealot, RARU, Rebeltech, search everywhere!), or buy multiple subs direct from Sony for R489. The subscriptions stack, so four 365-day cards give you four years of coverage.

That’s pretty much all that one can do now. It’s going to be interesting to see if PlayStation South Africa responds to the gamers and local media and explain the reasons for the extreme jump.

Also, nice one Sony! Springing this on us ONE BLOODY DAY before you decide to effect price hikes. You sir, made sure you didn’t get a public backlash until the last possible minute. That’s a disgusting tactic.

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