It’s the weekend, which means we’ve rounded up this week’s best and worst tech news in this edition of Winners and Losers.
This week saw a few major updates, including the Fujifilm X-T5, the arrival of Netflix’s basic budget plan with ads and our 5-star review of God of War Ragnarök.
However, our winner this week is a big deal, while our loser title had to go to Sony. Read on to discover why we award each winner and loser.
This week’s winner is Matter, after the much-anticipated smart home standard was finally launched on Thursday.
Matter is an industry protocol designed to facilitate the connection of your smart home devices, whether they are made by Apple, Google, Amazon, or any of the other supporting manufacturers.
In fact, there are more than 170 companies involved in Matter, including a number of huge names such as Huawei, Samsung SmartThings, Comcast, Signify, and even Ikea.
The protocol addresses one of the biggest issues with smart home devices at the moment – too many of them don’t play well together. As David Ludlow, Home Technology Editor, wrote in our guide to Matter earlier this year, it can take a combination of three or four smart home systems to get a Ring alarm, Arlo camera, and Yale smart lock to collaborate, which means the whole process can become a no-brainer. unnecessarily. complex fast.
Matter basically allows your smart devices to communicate regardless of brand or platform, so you can buy the smart technology you want and not just the ones that pair well with your chosen voice assistant, be it Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri.
Matter launched with 190 devices already on board, and that number is expected to increase as older devices see firmware updates to support the new standard. For example, the Philips Hue Bridge will get an update in early 2023.
This launch marks a huge step forward for the Internet of Things that is sure to make it easier for people to build and expand the perfect smart home systems on their own terms.
Sony was the loser this week after the company revealed that its PlayStation Plus platform had experienced a significant drop in subscribers.
Sony made the decision to combine PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now into a single tiered subscription service earlier this year.
The base tier, PlayStation Plus Essential, offers access to online multiplayer, cloud storage, and two downloadable games per month for £6.99 / $9.99 / €8.99 per month, while PlayStation Plus Extra includes all these features along with additional perks, including That includes access to a library of up to 400 PS4 and PS5 games for £10.99 / $14.99 / €13.99 per month.
At the top of the line is PlayStation Plus Premium, which includes all of the above plus 340 other games from PS1, PS2, PS3, and PSP, as well as limited-time gaming experiences. The premium tier costs £13.49 / $17.99 / €16.99 per month.
The renewed service launched in June, meaning Sony has nearly four months to see PS Plus subscribers rise — or fall, as it may be.
Sony revealed this week that the number of PlayStation Plus subscribers fell from 47.3 million to 45.4 million from June to September.
According to Sony’s chief financial officer on a recent earnings call, the decline was caused by a combination of slowing third-party game sales, PS4 sales, and more people spending time outdoors during the summer. There is also an argument to be made that the cost of living crisis may lead users to re-evaluate which subscription services are worth keeping and which they should put aside in the coming months.
Whatever the reason for the drop, it certainly isn’t a good look soon after the platform’s relaunch.
Apparently, those numbers are expected to rise again in the next quarter – likely, as players spend more time indoors to escape the cold weather – although we’ll have to wait until the quarter ends to see if that estimation looks correct. or if Sony made a critical mistake in restructuring its PlayStation platforms.