PlayStation Vue quietly comes to an end

By Sairam Hussain Miran 09 Dec, 19

PlayStation Vue is an internet television service that was founded by Sony 4 years ago. It aimed to compete in the rapidly booming streaming/internet television industry with companies such as Netflix and Apple TV who are still dominating the market share.

Image source: Sony

On 29th October 2019, Sony announced on The PlayStation Blog that it would be shutting down its PlayStation Vue services. This announcement came without any prior hint from Sony. However, it is not a surprising decision when one takes into account the service’s constant decline and inability to compete with other similar substitute services. 

The blog reads, “Today we are announcing that we will shut down the PlayStation Vue service on January 30, 2020. Unfortunately, the highly competitive Pay TV industry, with expensive content and network deals, has been slower to change than we expected. Because of this, we have decided to remain focused on our core gaming business.”

The service is not to be confused with streaming services. It is essentially a basic live-TV cable that is streamed over the Internet. The difference lies in a cleaner and modernized user interface, and some fancier features such as cloud-based DVR, along with the fact that it comes with no lengthy contract obligation.

Image source: Engadget

Despite being the first of its kind 4 years ago and achieving a reasonable start, the service failed to ever gain stable momentum because of a lack of subscribers and due to the dominance over TV content pricing that other companies started to gain, such when Disney introduced Hulu. Therefore, PlayStation Vue never once became profitable in its short lifetime. 

Unfortunately for Sony, the reason Vue’s fate is ending so quickly is simply because of a choice that the market made. Rather than trying to refine their traditional TV experience through means like Vue and Apple TV, people largely chose to pay less and gain more content towards streaming services such as Netflix. This shift over the past 5 years has had a severe negative impact on cable subscription services, and naturally, on internet television subscriptions too. 

In the blog, PlayStation has also reaffirmed that users will still be able to buy and stream content from the PlayStation Store, “PlayStation fans can continue to access movie and TV content through the PlayStation Store on PS4 and via our partnerships with top entertainment apps. With 100 million PlayStation 4s in the market today, our community continues to grow and thrive. We will continue to deliver the best entertainment experiences across the network, along with other key gaming services, including PlayStation Now and PlayStation Plus.”

Lastly, an interesting report from ‘The Information’ emerged, which stated that Sony was looking to sell PlayStation Vue. One of the potential buyers mentioned was The Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and the deal would include “the company’s technology and a subscription list of 500,000 households.” The sale will allegedly help Sony fend off its investors, particularly Daniel Loeb. However, there is no official word from either side on this sale.

PlayStation Vue will cease to exist on 30th January 2020, unless not saved and transformed by a buyer.