Anime fans, rejoice!
Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) just completed its acquisition of Crunchyroll, a streaming platform that specializes in Japanese animation.
What's more, and while Sony did not explicitly confirm it, the move would appear to take Crunchyroll one step closer to becoming a part of the company's PlayStation Plus or PlayStation Now subscription service for its PlayStation 4 and 5 consoles.
Is Crunchyroll now joining PlayStation Plus or PlayStation Now?
Sony's Crunchyroll acquisition was initially announced in late 2020 and was only recently approved. The deal was reportedly for $1.175 billion.
Now that Sony effectively owns Crunchyroll, the question on everyone's mind is, "When is Sony adding Crunchyroll to PlayStation Plus or PlayStation Now?"
According to the official announcement, Tony Vinciquerra, Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment, Inc, says that the company wants to "create a unified anime subscription experience". However, Vinciquerra probably didn't have Sony's video game subscription services in mind. Most likely, he was talking about joining Crunchyroll and Funimation together, which Sony also owns.
Then again, it's not impossible. PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now are losing to the Xbox Game Pass. It only makes sense for Sony to try and beef up either offering. One way of accomplishing this is to include both Crunchyroll and Funimation.
For those who don't know, Crunchyroll is a subscription-based streaming platform that is home to several popular anime series and feature-length anime. Whereas Funimation specializes in English dubbed releases of Japanese animation films, Crunchyroll usually streams subbed media.
Crunchyroll is also unique in that you can try it out for free. It also has multiple subscription tiers available depending on your needs.
What's next for PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now?
As we've already mentioned, Microsoft's Xbox Game Pass has widened the gap between its offerings and the competition. At E3 2021 Microsoft announced that more than a dozen games are launching on the Xbox Game Pass over the course of the next two years. Not only that, but the Xbox Game Pass's servers just received a significant upgrade.
In comparison, Sony has been panned for its lackluster August 2021 PlayStation Plus offerings. Even though its PlayStation Now counterpart received praise, combining both PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now under one roof isn't enough at this point.
With that said, Sony needs to do something to keep up with Microsoft in this department. One way of leveling the playing field is a unified subscription service of its multiple related offerings.
Ideally, Sony would bundle PlayStation Plus or PlayStation Now (preferably both) with Crunchyroll and Funimation. Sony could also throw in other live-action movies and animated films under the SPE umbrella. At the moment, Sony is testing PlayStation Plus Video Pass in Poland.
We're hoping that Sony does something to shake up its PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now offerings. Otherwise, the Xbox Game Pass will only continue to increase the gap in service between the two.