Sony is giving up on the live-TV streaming wars, announcing that it will shut down PlayStation Vue on January 30, 2020. The company says it’s decided to stay focused on its core gaming business as content and network deals become more expensive. Vue will stop accepting sign-ups soon, and Sony won’t charge existing customers after December.
Last week, the Information reported that Sony was seeking a buyer for PlayStation Vue, which had about 500,000 subscribers and was losing money. The company had been in talks with FuboTV, a startup backed by major media companies that operates its own live-TV streaming service, but the discussions didn’t seem to get anywhere. It was unclear whether a sale could cover Sony’s existing deals with TV networks, which may have limited its value.
PlayStation Vue was one of the first streaming TV bundles, launching in March 2015, only a few months after Sling TV. The service became available nationwide in March 2016, but lots of other competitors entered the live-TV streaming market soon after, including Fubo, Hulu with Live TV, YouTube TV, Philo, and DirecTV Now (later renamed to AT&T TV Now).
Although Vue had some impressive features, including multiwindow viewing on PlayStation 4 and Apple TV, it couldn’t compete with the likes of Hulu and YouTube on marketing, and the association with PlayStation—despite working on a broad range of devices—probably didn’t help.
With no buyer, no path to profitability, and ever-higher programming costs, Sony has little reason to keep the service around.