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Sony Addresses New PlayStation Plus Upgrades Following Backlash

PlayStation finally confirmed what fans expected by announcing that it would soon be restructuring its PS Plus system to include streaming games, similar to Xbox's Game Pass. Of course, not long after its announcement, PlayStation upset gamers with the details of PS Plus' new tiered system, with each tier coming at a different price point. Perhaps most disappointingly, PlayStation also explained that it would be leaving AAA games out of its new PS Plus launch, negating part of what makes Game Pass so appealing to customers.

Then, there's the cost of it all. Fans were in an uproar after reports from Asia – where the new PS Plus system rolled out for its initial test – indicated that customers were spending massive amounts of money to upgrade their subscriptions. The limited information about the new PS Plus indicated that players could purchase the current version of PS plus with any discounts or promotional deals, then upgrade to the new tiers separately. In other words, players could save a little money on the upgrade, thanks to a discount on their initial purchase. That wasn't what happened, however, and those who attempted to upgrade their subscription after using a discount found that their upgrade fee cost more than base price of the upgraded plan itself. Basically, they had to make up for the money they'd saved. 

Add onto all that the fact that players don't have the option to upgrade to a higher tier for a limited time to try it out, and fans were understandably upset. After all, many gamers didn't want to upgrade their year-long subscription without first being able to see if the higher tiers really suit their needs. Amidst all that discord, PlayStation has finally addressed the new PS Plus upgrades, hoping to quell some fears.

Sony responded to fans' claims

PlayStation's support account acknowledged the backlash against the new PS Plus tier costs, alleging that subscribers would, in fact, be able to continue buying their PS Plus accounts at a discount if they chose. Unfortunately, a number of players have already been impacted by a glitch. The support account tweeted, "Due to a technical error, players in Asia who have previously purchased a PlayStation Plus membership at a discount have been incorrectly charged for their upgrade pricing. This error has been fixed and impacted players will receive a credit." 

PlayStation attempted to make things right with angry customers by crediting their accounts for their lost discounts, therefore reinstating the savings fans initially earned. As for what the "technical error" was, well, fans have their own theories.

One Twitter user pointed out that PlayStation might have been up to more than it let on, tweeting a series of screenshots collecting evidence and writing, "Sony actively deceives customers. Someone is going to lose his head for this." The screenshots showed what appeared to be official correspondence from PlayStation customer service that explained that players would need to pay the difference on discounted memberships. The message allegedly came from official PlayStation customer service, leading some fans to suspect the company might have been testing the waters for upcoming changes before it was too late to reverse course, then only gave refunds because of the backlash.

Fans speculated about the change of heart

PlayStation fans weren't so sure that the apparent technical error existed in the first place. One gamer explained that it might simply be an issue of customer service, and that the representative who wrote the alleged support message wasn't entirely sure what they were talking about, leading to the misinformation. Others doubted that theory, recalling when Xbox similarly reversed course on its controversial Game Pass price hike. Another gamer said that the entire issue might be with Sony's PR team, which might have avoided the confusion with clearer explanations of the upcoming PS Plus changes.

Finally, some gamers suspected that the entire gaming industry – including Microsoft and Nintendo – employed similar tactics in other instances, and that gamers simply choose which company to root for. It's true that many players feel more devoted to one platform over another, but PlayStation's changes to its PS Plus service have been especially rocky. That being said, one fan said that gamers will be upset either way, writing, "People complain about it, then complain when they fix it."

Some fans pointed out that the situation seems reminiscent of the backlash surrounding "Horizon Forbidden West" and its PS5 version, which was initially intended to be a paid upgrade path. Following complaints, Sony decided that it would include the upgrade from PS4 to PS5 for free, but would discontinue the practice of free upgrades afterward. It's unclear if Sony's "technical issue" was intentional or not, and gamers will be left to speculate, but the good news is that the price issue has been corrected, allowing gamers to have their subscription discounts yet again.