Sony really isn’t kidding around with this live service strategy it’s been blathering about. As part of an investor relations presentation, the organisation estimated that more than half of its investment into PS5 could be live service by 2025, as it looks to capture growth in the lucrative sector. For those not clued up with the lingo, live service means titles like Fortnite, which adapt and change over time.
The platform holder spent a large chunk of the briefing defending its position, showing a dizzying amount of data which backs up its direction. Notably, it pointed out how an enormous chunk of its revenue now comes from add-on sales in live service games, with free-to-play revenue alone up from 5 per cent of PS Store’s total spend in 2016 to 25 per cent in 2021.
Consequently, Sony intends to have at least three live service games on the market by the end of March 2023, with MLB The Show 22 being the only one it currently considers available. That number will explode to 12 cumulatively by 2025. Interestingly, it doesn’t appear to count Gran Turismo 7 as a live service title right now.
Elsewhere, the company mentioned that it expects to see significant growth to its PC business, suggesting its live service games will also release there. It concluded that it sees its trajectory as transforming from its “current console-centric approach to a future where large elements of our community extend beyond the console”. Times are a-changing, folks!
This, on top of a culmination of the last 12 or so months have me pretty concerned as a PlayStation fan in all honesty.
What They Need Is An MMO They Don't Own Everquest Anymore So All The More Reason For Them To Ether Make Their Own Or Buy Square Enix And Use Theirs.
One of these games will surely be The Last of Us 2's multiplayer which I'm extremely excited about.
Two unannounced games releasing in the next 9 months, Let's GO! Factions and maybe Twisted Metal?
These type of games require a lot of investment so I get it. Constant content.
If these fail hard, hopefully they'll change direction.
There's nothing more off putting then knowing a game is constantly trying to drain money out of you.
I know many people are optimistic about this and MAYBE a few of these will be excellent and sizable hits. Still, I feel nothing but utter dread about the prospect of an insane TWELVE live services releasing within the next three years. I despise games that try to subtly and not-so-subtly psychologically pummel you for more money on a daily basis. Many of them are predatory, and I simply don't trust modern PlayStation under Jimmy Boy to be any different. And even Bungie's involvement gives me no confidence given how they currently take away paid content in Destiny 2.
I think people automatically associate live service with bad, but it really doesn't have to be. Fortnite, at its core, is a fantastic game and is only getting better. Yes, you can spend money on it — and clearly it's very successful at convincing players to open their wallets — but you don't really have to.
If a game's really good, I think it makes sense to actively expand on it to keep it fresh and fun for players.
I am a fan of the PlayStation brand because of the excellent single player experiences. I am simply not interested in live service games. If PS wants to go that way, it is just fine. I own other consoles, my backlog and games I want to get around to buying could fill a lifetime, and plenty of people enjoy them. But Sony won’t get nearly as much investment from me if this is the route they go.
I mean... We know TLOU Factions 2 will almost certainly be one, the new Twisted Metal probably is... They could bring back Starhawk, Jet Moto, Wipeout, could shift GT ever so slightly, bring back Killzone and/or Resistance to fill the fps space... They have a LOT to offer in terms of unique titles that could easily fill niches or compete against what's out there in the Grass space.
As someone who likes Fortnite and Apex (and played a LOT of Division once upon a time), and generally respects live service titles when done right, I don't have a problem with this. At all.
At the end of the day why do players care, as long as the monetization is respectful and the games play well (again - I like Glass when they're done well!)? I'd rather have a live service Twisted Metal than no TM at all if they aren't willing to invest in the series otherwise!
My history with GAAS are DC Universe Online, Marvel Heroes, TERA, Guild Wars II, FF14, and League of Legends. If Sony can get out some stuff like this, I'm all for it. I've never really cared about the model, just my enjoyment. So let's see what Sony+Bungie can end up producing.
@TripleKing333 If only one of these games succeeds it will generate more revenue for them than all of their SP games combined.
I’ve lost so much faith in the PS brand over the past year that I can’t even measure it; this being a brand I’ve been loyal to for over two decades. With Jim Ryan’s piss poor leadership, the complete and utter aversion Sony has towards communicating freaking anything with us anymore, their sudden and explosive interest in the mobile and PC markets that will inevitably come as a detriment to their existing PS userbase, their outright expressing the desire to go “multiplatform”, suggesting that they fully intend to leave us PS owners out in the cold, and their pathetically grasping live service plans which makes it seem like they just want to throw as much crap at the wall as they can to see what sticks… none of it indicates that the brand is heading in the right direction.
At this rate, I genuinely feel like I can reach a point where I throw up my hands and say “I’m done with PlayStation.”
@art_of_the_kill You have no idea just how little anyone cares about the 'PS brand'. It's all about money and they are making more money than ever. Good job Jim!
The reason I like playstation is because their single player games, I'm out if they focused on multiplayer/live service games. Thankfully nintendo still release good single player games.
@art_of_the_kill Is it really the case that a lot of you enjoyment of PS has come from how they communicate and that their content is unavailable to others outside the console? I think back on PS1 and PS2 and just remember the amount of games I got lost in. I never even thought about those things.
@get2sammyb Some people forget that not everyone likes to spend their free time shooting endlessly online, that some of them prefer to dedicate themselves to something with a beginning-middle-and-end. And knowing how this industry works, it is safe to say that the investment of one will be taken to the other...
@Westernwolf4 You will not be alone, believe me.
Looks like its going to be retro gaming only for me soon 🙃
Again, very worried since a lot of their live service games were either quickly forgotten (Destruction all stars, predator hunting grounds) or got the axe (hardware rivals, tomorrow children, etc.) If it's true that the Bungie buyout will help improve their live service model, then godspeed, but personally, I just wish they focused more on singleplayer games with multiplayer modes/components (Ghost of Tsushima is a good example).
Concerning to say the least. The only thing more horrendous than live service games are mobile games
I used to be one of those people who limited myself to Single Player only gaming. Then I discovered Fortnite and you know what… there’s room for both.
Five years ago I would have said you were crazy if you told me I’d be completing Battle passes in Fortnite but despite its reputation as being ‘everything that’s wrong with the industry’, it’s actually a really solid game.
This week I’ve been playing Demon’s Souls Remake and Fortnite - enjoying them both equally.
There's room for both single player and multiplayer games. Sony can't rely on single player games alone because those games have a shelf life in terms of the revenue it brings in. Plus Sony have greatly invested in their studios so that some are focused on live service while others will make single player games. Let's not be so dismissive of these games long before we've had the chance to play them.
As long as they keep their excellent single player games coming, I'm ok with that! Otherwise, I might end up only at the red side of the force in the next generation.
I know live service games are not necessarily bad - the problem is that we can all play hundreds of different single player games, but won't play more than a few live service games. It doesn't scale well as a business strategy. Not to mention each game MUST have unique gameplay and publishers insist on making copy-and-paste shooters (kudos to Fall Guys on creating something new).
And far more than half of those will fail miserably and have their servers shut down within 18 months of launch.
That's not just being pessimistic, it's just the reality of the live service market. People only have so much free time in their schedules, only so much of that can be devoted to entertainment, and only so much of that time can be devoted to playing video games, and only so much of THAT time can be devoted to playing something that's designed to be played forever. Publishers seem to think "live-service" is a market ripe to be capitalized on and it just isn't. Folks who play Destiny aren't looking for a replacement for Destiny. Folks who play FFXIV aren't looking for a replacement for FFXIV. Folks who play Apex Legends or Warzone or Fortnite religiously aren't looking for replacements for those games...they've tried other stuff and either stuck with or came back to the one that explicitly clicked with them.
Such a bafflingly stupid decision that is, obviously, not going to pan out how Sony thinks it will.
People really don't read, or don't think too much. This doesn't mean they are leaving single players world. Do you really think Sony would do such a thing? Their franchises remain the most successful to date. They are saying they are increasing their investment towards live service, but it doesn't mean they will not keep producing first party / single player games. Portfolio diversification. READ!
This week isn't a very good week to be a PlayStation fan, is it?
Being a PS fan in 2022 reminds me a lot of being an Xbox fan in 2013...
DoNt WoRrY eVeRyOnE, tHiS iSnT gOiNg tO eFfEcT sInGlEpLaYeR gAmEs DeR dEr DeR
Final Fantasy 14 looks really good right now for Sony.
@AdamNovice You're not wrong, but regardless of how good a live service game is, I still won't play it. I only have so much time to play games, and I'm going to spend them playing single player games, especially since I have so many to play. Ever since I got a PS3, my desire to play online games evaporated. I prefer a game with a good story, and some of these online games require way too much effort to keep up with other players.
Glad I got a Vita and a PS3 recently. Gaming has gone rogue over the last few years, catering to multiplayer time and money thieves. Just to echo the sentiment of some of the guys here- I can see this console gen to be the last one for me and I'll stick to retro.
@spcspc Of course they aren't going to stop making single player games, no one is saying that. However will we now get less of them as about half of their productions and budget will go into live services, absolutely!
sonys going in all the directions i dont like live service, mobile. in chasing more money they could end up alienating the players who got them to where they are
@Juanalf It doesn't have to be read that way. The PDF the article shares shows that PlayStation indeed by 2025 will allocate half of its investment to live services, but it doesn't say it will cut half the expense of first party titles. What if live services is a new expense they didn't have before? Also, you don't keep in consideration how much more money PS is now making and how much more liquidity they have right now. You guys are freaking out for nothing. Be excited for the times ahead!
@trev666 As long as they keep delivering the first party titles i love, i honestly don't care if they expand their portfolios. In fact quite the opposite: potential new customers that will get to know PS first party games! More diversification = more revenue = more money to make new games. I really don't understand what the big deal here is
@AdamNovice Somebody with common sense
@get2sammyb Fortnite is one of kind tho, there’re tons of live service games that have failed over the last couple of years and given Sony’s latest track record I’m not even hopeful.
I know they keep saying “we’re still going to develop amazing single-player experiences” but the truth is that this live service trend is eating up resources that could have been spent in creating more single-player games, instead of having 3-5 of these games we’re going to end up with one or two per year (which already seems to be the trend).
@BartoxTharglod Nintendo is breaking record sales with the Switch, focusing on single player experiences, ps4 broke records last gen, focusing on single player experiences, so its clearly not a vocal minority. Live Services games, in this day and age, are clearly important, but it seens that Sony, for me personally, are slowly abandon what made then cool in the PS4 era.
@IOI your assertion of "live services eating up resources for single party games" is not necessarily correct. PlayStation has already allocated money to single party games, even unannounced ones since they take years to make. What they are doing is invest MORE money on other adventures, since they are also making MORE money nowadays than before. But again, spending more money in new portfolios doesn't have to have to be in detriment of first party /single player games.
Let's put the separating line here: No Man's Sky is a live service game, while what's listed there is either "pay to skip the grind" or subscription-based games.
I’m not really in to live service games. They either make too many demands on my time, with specific time sensitive events and rotating content, or the opposite, in terms of being a sandbox with no real progression, or progression resets which render previous advancement null and void. Neither appeals to me.
They also tend to be far more expensive in the long run; not “finishing” them means no resale, and usually they require you to buy add ons over time which are digital, and pretty much unavoidable. These add ons are usually limited in content compared to similarly priced separate games.
This also means fewer new IP of course, with devs locked into a game for much longer.
Also, often no new trophies are added which, again, makes these add ons less valuable for me.
Sony really is moving towards the money and so away from traditional console gaming, which is very sad.
If it wasn’t for their investment in VR, and the trophy system metagame, I would move back to Nintendo as my main console I think. At least they respect me enough not to censor content too.
@get2sammyb you are the only person working in push square who is so negative all the time. Are you paid to be a playstation hater? Or is it personal choice?
I can't wait to play The Last of Us live service where Joel with a golf club is one of the skins you can buy.
I've already said enough about this topic, so I'll just share the link from vgc which has an image of the presented slide:
The title of that slide just makes you sick as a gamer.
It's been another bad week for Sony news after several months of bad news. Its very difficult to get excited about the future of PlayStation for me personally. No interest in live service games at all
Depends on how much this half is? I have zero interest in games of this nature...so won't need to buy any of them.
Oof. So long, Sony. It's been fun.
They won't earn one cent from me, I hope this fails big so they stop this non-sense.
@art_of_the_kill You are making innumerable wrong, misleading, or simply untruthful comments here. You might or might not resonate with what the company is doing, but: no, despite you say the contrary, PS interest on PC and mobile is not sudden. It has been in the making for several years already - and press has reported about it hundreds of times over time. Leave the PS brand? How and why would they do such a thing when it is top 10 on the most beloved brands, and when it is making record profits? It is basically not true and it would be absurd. In fact PlayStation has been Sony helping hand for a long long time. You are afraid of change, and i get it, but trust. A world where live games & single player games can coexist is absolutely possible. A world where games turn into shows, movies, mobile experiences while having the console version is absolutely doable and realistic.
@BamBamBaklava89 I'm pretty excited by where things are going tbh.
Sure, PC, mobile, and very few live service games hold little intetest for me, but there's growth there.
The console audience has barely grown since the 90s. We're just spending more money than we used to.
If Sony want to truly grow the PlayStation audience, PC and mobile are the obvious direction to go in, and live service games do very well there.
If the revenue generated from live service games and mobile mean Sony can eventually afford to release first party games day and date on PS Plus am all for it.
Not interested in them in the least. Nearly all my favourite gaming experiences growing up in the 90s and 00s were single player. Even online multiplayer franchises that I had fun with in the past like Halo and Battlefield I now tire of the MP after a month or so and uninstall.
If this is the future of the industry, then whatever — I'm left behind. There will always be decades of past single player titles to choose from and I would need several lifetimes to even begin to complete even a fraction of them.
So having looked through the ppt - it was mostly just PR spin (how to generate non-informative graphics that suggest something without actually saying anything definitive). The reality is, there is no growth in software sales, but a crap-tonne of add-on (I take this as subscription/MTX). As a company, why would they not want to chase what makes money (and growth) - as a gamer I see this and can only see the end of gaming (in traditional terms). If you're a MP gamer, then you will be happy with this. If not - this is a real worry.
Not interested in LSG whatsoever. If they are ever foolish enough to turn Ratchet and Clank, God of War or even Spider Man in Live Service Games, well..
I'll be turning into a full Nintendo fan once again. But let's hope Sony won't be THAT foolish.
exactly it is safe to say that the investment of one will be taken to the other...
They'll drop that stupid idea fast as soon as they get their own Avengers/Babylon's Fall/Halo Inifnite flop to call their own.
Everyone wants to make the next Fortinite, they just forget Fortinite is the exception to the rule when it comes to LSG.
The idea of a WipEout live service type of game has got me.. at least interested, so im sure it will never happen!
The way I see it, is GAAS are a zero-sum game. They are precursors to the metaverse. They exist to consume your time. They need your time in order to maximise profits. That time has to come from other places. Either traditional games, your real life, and even other GAAS. And instead of a set budget, they have a floating budget. So instead of spending your money and then moving on to the next title, either brand new or sequel, the money can indefinitely get reinvested in to that same title. Variety dies.
Either the game fails, or it causes other games to fail.
Ironically, this is where a constant service like Game Pass is just better. There's still variety.
Edit: I just want to show an example here. Epic Games, in the 00s, released several Unreal games, several Gears games, and others, like Bulletstorm and Shadow Complex.
Since 2011 when they started work on Fortnite, they have sold Gears, cancelled Unreal, cancelled their MOBA game, and have more or less exclusively worked on Fortnite since then. Gears of War Judgement back in 2013 was their last actual console release besides Fortnite.
We are doomed. Too much many invested in games that will last a few months. To have a game with the staying power of Fortnite or League you have to really strike gold...so I doubt Sony will be able to make one game like that
I don’t know why you don’t consider Bungie and the new studios acquisitions in the equation. It makes sense 🤷🏼♂️
As long as single player games keep coming out at the usual rate, not bothered by this.
Sony is a business. They want to make money. They aren't releasing all these games and services like PS Plus Premium as a favor to us.
This is why I never understood Brand Loyalty to a mega corporation. The second Sony stops fulfilling my wants as a consumer, i'd leave.
It’s been disappointing headline after disappointing headline these days. Like at least one a day, sometimes there’s several.
As long as they dont take their eye off of providIng us the AAA experiences weve always enjoyed, I dont have an issue with this and its to be expected.
Sony realise they are a bit late to the party for these types of products, so they need to invest heavilly to catch up in what is a highly lucrative sector.
Whilst im not normaly a live service user, Im not averse to the idea and if they make something that appeals, im hapy to give it a go.
I wish people were not so averse to changes. Sony has always experimented and played with all types of buisness models and concepts, and I believe this is one of their strengths. They are not so stupid as to invest in new areas to the detriment of their existing strengths.
I look forward to seeing what compelling experiences they can offer in addition to their excellent traditional games.
Love your posts bro, it reminds me that there are still some people who can see outside their own needs 😊
I don’t understand the issue people are having.
Whilst they continue with single player games they’re trying something new.
If they make 12 live service games and even 1 of them becomes a hit on a Fortnite or GTA Online scale, it funds everything else and you get more single player investment.
People are too blinded by their own negativity towards live service to see the business strategy
It's clear that the majority of people won't spend money on these games but with live service Sony will be catering to the minority, aka whales. A few Whales can spend more than thousands of normies.
Sony knows the majority of people don't want live service or won't spend on it. They are fishing for whales and will be catering to that minority to the detriment of everyone else.
There's some really interesting documentaries about this but just to give a rough estimate, 95% of income earned in these type of games is spent by about 1% of players
So basically slowly turning into xbox....
The future of gaming is looking awful and nintendo maybe the only ones putting out decent single player experiences
I don't mind live service games I've been playing apex legends for years now and still do..if the game hooks you and you like it you'll pay here and there to support its simple
@get2sammyb I agree wit you man..Ive been playing apex for years now and yes I've spent money on it maybe a lil too much lol but that was my choice and it's because I enjoy the game
@get2sammyb Factions is a a good example, as I think many (or at least some) of these live sevice games will be the multiplayer modes that usually shipped with the games during the PS3 era.
Probably makes more sense to make them Free to Play, separate from the main game, and get more players invested.
I remember games like Dead Space 2, Bioshock 2 and GoW Ascension having "unnecessary" MP modes that few people bothered with. Making them into f2p games is probably an improvement in most cases.
This is just sad.
I mean, if the live-service game is an MMORPG and one that is as good as FFXIV, then I'm down for it.
Dark days are coming
I mean, I recently just bought a PS5, so I´m not abandoning Sony any time soon, and I still have an incredible backlog of games from the PS4. But if this trend continues to grow, next gen I´ll go with the Switch 2. It´s not only the live service games, but the censorship (while allowing it in games like Last of Us 2) and lack of support/abandon (in my eyes) from/of indie, A, AA japonese developers are killing it for me.
Based on what we've seen before, this is grim news. We see time and time again that once a live service game is a success, it takes over everything else because the money other games make is nothing compared to the live service success.
As for the other 2 live service games by the end of March 2023, I'd guess one is Factions 2 and the other is MLB The Show 23 (MLB The Show was March then 21 was late April and 22 was early April so I'd guess 23 returns to the traditional March release).
@B_Lindz I can’t wait for Factions where we’re all running around as Ronald McDonald stabbing one of the Ninja Turtles in the throat while we wait for a live stream of the latest Ed Sheeran song to start….
I'll keep an open mind and judge each game on it's merits.
There have been plenty of games I've finished and been left wanting more in the past. However recently games have been getting bloated and longer and longer, i'm not a fan of that.
I feel there are 'live services' and 'LiVe SeRviCeS' it depends what we are talking about really. Some are just simple additions to a game, others a whole in game economy and constantly evolving world that seemingly the developer wants you to play forever. Don't want more of those.
@UltimateOtaku91 The bright spot is a year or two ago Spencer had said that they wanted to make more single player games, because they didn't have enough of those, and being service-heavy is bad for Game Pass (precisely because those games take up all of players' time and prevent them from engaging with other titles on the service,) and that the heavy service catalog wasn't actually an intentional strategy by them, they just let studios make what they want to make and it just happened that's what the studios wanted to make. So we may see something of a reversal where PS5 goes where X360 went, and XSXS is the new PS3 (but sells better.) Delays or no, when we look at their lineup, it's all massive single player games except for Redfall, so, maybe GP saves single player after all. They did the F2P thing with Halo, but that's not even a Game Pass game because it's F2P. And the campaign that is, is purely single player. Like, PURELY because they can't even be bothered to get coop working...
@Kairu The problem is they're chasing the big money, and the big money is big. So if they put out 10 games that fail and one that makes it big, that one generates so much money it more than thrice-over pays for all the failures. It's why every company is bent on chasing services. They payout is so big, that high risk high reward is the only thing worth putting money into . If they're not playing the 100:1 odds table, there's no point playing at all. Of course you only need one hand to count the total number of those successes.... But it's same on mobile. It's the single most profitable platform there is, but most devs are in the red. The top few devs make almost all the money in that market. Investors don't care. They want winner-takes-all.
@SuperPotato316 The last 3 weeks on the green side of the grass have pretty much been "2 big games were delayed because they're not ready" plus that leading to complaints about the subscription's catalog not having enough new AAAs. Definitely not on the same level of darkest timeline going on here, or there in 2013. Delays happen. A beloved publisher announcing they're chasing the money in every new direction except the one you buy their product for is something that only happens once in a while. Like 2K. Or Ubisoft. Or EA. Or MS in 2013. Or Square-Enix on-and-off again for many years.
Its amazing thats the exact same date my ps5 will be going to CEX too. I'm not supporting this live service money grabbing cancer that is infesting the industry.
@TripleKing333 id rather stab myself in the throat than have to listen to anything by that untalented tosser. It's less painful
@trev666 It's hard for me to believe that, sorry!
@SuperPotato316 Yeah, the lack of exclusives in general can underwhelm thus far, but that was a known part of the bargain going in due to the problems they had last gen, so there's nothing surprising or disappointing there. The delays are what rubs salt in that wound, since people expected to get the train moving this year only to find out that's another year away, but we also do know what's in the pipeline, and that hasn't changed, and the platform features and focus are as-promised-or-better. Which is a big difference from the kind of continuous "WTF" moments we're getting here, and the potential for a big shift from what we tend to buy in for. Before PS5 they were making presentations to partners about the strength and importance of single player, and we rejoiced in Sony doubling down on our market, only for them now to be singing the strength of services and other platforms and doubling down on that market.
But the real difference is what you say about Sony saying they'll continue making the things we want, and actually believing that. I think a lot of us aren't buying it. Lots of companies "say" they'll keep supporting a product or service when they announce disruptive changes, and then the reality becomes different. "There won't be any changes to your service or the price you pay after this merger" and then 18mo later you get the announcement they're discontinuing your service and graciously offer to move you to a 50% more expensive one. "The service you enjoy will remain the same" and then 18 mo later they start stripping features or modifying the fine print on how you redeem rewards, etc. etc. So I (and many others) read Sony's statements about continuing to make the single player games as mostly lipservice. If they make ANY, they will have told the truth, and we all know they will make SOME, but not in the quantity they used to or with the same focus on them, or not representing the same scope and value they used to, as the resources will instead be poured into the much more profitable much more monetizable revenue channel of services.
Some are also being optimistic and believe it will just mean more ongoing support or events and not the heavily monetized variety of service, while their own presentation focused on the word monetization verbatim...
So I think a lot of pessimism here revolves around the analysis that while "abandoning" content we want may not be 100% true, the effect will be a wash, they will largely reduce their offerings in the categories we actually want and will replace it with most of their offerings being that other market that isn't us. And, honestly, that's the smartest business thing to do for maximizing profits, so there's almost no reason to expect any other outcome as long as they've announced maximizing profits, and not best serving their market is their mission. And they have.
I know they are not the EXACT same scenarios, but when a big publisher gets into live service, and they finally get that big money-making mega-hit, they ditch single player. Look at the past:
So yeah. Sony says they will keep focusing on single player. And they probably will. Until they get their mega ultra hit release. Then, historically speaking, they will inevitably transfer resources from their SP games to their money-making live service efforts. It would be terrible business sense not to do so.
Sony can say whatever it wants. I think they will always have SP in their portfolio, just less of it in the live service future. That's based on common sense and historical trends in the industry. This is good news if you like live service games, or bad news if you aren't a fan (I find them repugnant outside of a few MMOs, but that's just me. I do understand many enjoy them).
I hope Sony fails spectacularly in its live service efforts. It isn't the future I want for gaming - sterile, incomplete, and incoherent releases with superficial content updates ad nauseum in lieu of actual story or gameplay, with predatory FOMO concepts applied throughout. A neverending cheap slush of content for contents sake, with no over-riding direction or purpose besides maintaining engagement... Generally, that's how it goes. That's me though. If you like live service, this is great news.
I bought a PS5 for Gran Turismo 7 and the new Horizon. And I’ve been disappointed by both. I bought a new Xbox to play Forza Horizon 5 and Halo Infinite. And was disappointed by both. So then I decided to go back to my switch and got Hades and Metroid Dread. And it was there that I discovered that good video games that are just about fun and mechanics and are actual video games still exist. This new generation of consoles has been nothing but a disappointment so far. I’m sure other things will come out that I will have interest in and have fun with. But right now I just want to play videos games. I know where I can find them.
We complain, because that's what you are supposed to do on the internet, but there really isn't less choice these days. Games like Hades and Death's Door will always be there. Sony is losing its way slowly, but another dev or company will always step in to fill the gap when another drops the ball.
Good to remember gaming is thriving in all areas, including those that emphasize, ya know, actual gameplay.
The pessimism you see is the end result of hitching your wagon to a single company (Sony). When Sony is messing up, as I believe they are, and you derive your identity to some degree from that company's products or services, you start to think the whole sky is falling when they go a different direction. But not true! There are other companies that would die to get the money you spend on Playstation!
(If you were looking for an optimistic take in the comments haha.)
Dang, I should have read your essay on Sony's live service trend and why it is bad for us before I wrote my essay. You wrote it more eloquently than I could have. The trends are alarmingly clear when it comes to this industry, as far as GaaS releases.
The whole, "But Sony said..." thing is, well... this is a corporation. They are going for the money, as a corporation does. That strategy leaves us behind eventually. Not tomorrow, not next year, but eventually. They will pare down single player if they get a live service mega success release. The two differing philosophies won't exist untouched in unison, one has to take a hit - that is utterly inevitable due to finite resources.
But as another commenter mentioned, we will always have single player games in abundance (just perhaps not from Sony). So no need for all the doom and gloom, but a healthy level of disappointment is warranted I think.
That's an optimistic take on it. If they have one big live service success, they will not take the massive proceeds from that success and re-invest it into single player games. They won't.
What they will do is reinvest the funds into what made them the money in the first place - growing live service games. That is the standard, only reasonable way to proceed from a business perspective. Identifying "growth areas" (i.e., what makes big money), then pumping more money into that. Investors love it, because it works (in making money, but not necessarily good games).
You are right though it's not all doom and gloom. That said, this company is about 5 to 10-ish years out from being toast for a lot of us. We just aren't the market anymore. After 20, 30 years of supporting this company wholeheartedly, we are whipping out "The End is Nigh" signs. It's not a done deal yet, but red flags abound everywhere you look. Call it pessimism, or call it recognizing historical market trends.
I consider myself an optimist and the future of gaming as exciting. But Sony in particular's future under these new philosphies... not so much. And not just referring to the live service emphasis, I could point to dozens of indicators. Hope I'm proved wrong though, truly.
@UnlimitedSevens On the contrary, I think your summaries add considerably!
In hindsight the writing should have been on the wall from the PS4 launch and demise of Vita. Sony was clearly getting into the habit of dropping one market for another and following the trend in abrupt new directions at the drop of a hat starting back then. It wasn't as volatile as now, but that whole mentality started in the scramble to recover from PS3, and is just accelerating now. I don't think they ever quite found their groove when the competition became PC instead of Sega.
@F1at8mot0 I also found Metroid Dread disappointing....
I couldn't point to an exact moment which started the current downward spiral... I mean, the obvious answer is Jim Ryan taking over, but yeah that seems too simple. This titanic mega-corporation cannot spin on its heels on a dime, and one guy (even the CEO) can't enact such radical changes in just a few short years. The ship has been slowly turning for years, we just didn't realize it then because it was happening so slowly. This has been coming for awhile. My outside guess is to take a close look at the Board of Directors of Sony as a whole - it probably starts there. Jim Ryan is a convenient patsy for the current "troubles". But he's just one guy after all.
I'd cordially disagree Sony never found its groove after Sega's exit - the PS2 was solid, I think because they knew what they wanted it to be and executed. I guess you could consider PS2 'pre-Sega' depending on the year you are talking about though.
I'm with you - my wild guess is this is all a domino effect somehow leading back to the troubled PS3 launch. That caused a shakeup in management if I recall. I didn't really see the trouble brewing during the PS4 era and generally viewed it as a "return to form" at the time, but now I'm not sure. I viewed Sony tinkering with different ideas, like the VITA, as sort of a natural process of a company throwing its feelers out there to see what worked. Sort of an organic progression or a trial and error adaptation process that needs to happen. I saw promising signs, like the simpler architecture of the PS4 lowering the barrier of entry and development of relationships with indie developers.
Now though, the unceremonious cancelation of Vita support strikes me as a company that did not and does not have a vision, or is unwilling to execute the one it has. Prior to that, the half-hearted implementation of Playstation Home under Phil Spencer, or the ongoing lack of focus on the 'metagame' aspects of Playstation (still no trophy leaderboards? - c'mon already!) Or the abysmal lack of communication starting with the Wired PS5 launch announcement article back in 2019 (still scratching my head on that decision). Or the inconsistent messaging and execution with Playstation Directs/Showcases. Or the fundamentally botched PS1 Classic mini console. The list goes on and on and on. This is how I perceive it now with the benefit of hindsight.
Possibly all due to Sony being gun shy from the PS3? Hard to say...
Where are Kaz and Andrew House now? They should have progressed to board of director seats, and kept them. But that didn't happen. I think that is a clue. Kaz was getting old though 🤔
I'd also add another general theory: the Playstation division of Sony is a victim of its own success. They did so well for the company, Sony probably gives them free reign now for all their ventures. E-sports investment, games as a service, a surge in acquisitions never before seen. All of it seemingly occurring too quickly, with no overall guiding vision in any specific direction, just outward expansion in ALL directions simultaneously. No checks or balances to be seen anywhere. Blank checks, etc.
@UnlimitedSevens 100% agree with you
@Mauzuri insomniac is hiring for their 'multiplayer project' so Spider-man could be getting a multiplayer game 🤷♂️
They can do whatever they think is profitable, I'll never be supporting these kind of games.
I mean, multiplayer is just fine.. as long as they don't completely forget about their singleplayer campaigns
oh geez no , i played sniper elite 5 for the first time, it was more concerned about my internet connection.im like who cares i just wana play the game. live service games your only going to get a limited amount. im just glad the first half is offline games.
@UnlimitedSevens I think there were three phases. The first was the PS3 launch disaster, which ended Ken Kutaragi's tenure who'd set the tone for everything PS is before that point. But Kaz had the reigns, and he had a handle on maintaining the direction. PS2 was shaped by Kutaragi and always had a plan, and that plan was devised while competing against Sega (and indeed launched in a matter as to sign Sega's (console) death sentence.) PS2 was shaped by the Sega war still. PS3's when he went off the rails, having no Sega to compete with.
The second phase started at the end of PS3. Naughty Dog released TLoU which hit critical and commercial success even on the failed PS3. It coincided with Sony corp itself being in very dire straights and relying on PS for most of it's corporate funding. That led the the PS4 years of just copying that successful template pretty much across every game. It worked, but it worked partly because PS4 had no competition. This was also the period of shifting to only accepting the biggest winners and everything else, be it franchises or hardware (Vita) gets cut. During that time they lost most of PS's historical momentum and replaced it with this new model of over-budget games being the foundation of the platform. It was always going to have sustainability problems, but then....
The management changed. Phase 3. The day I'd heard Kaz was out prematurely to "retire", and (Ken) Yoshida was in, I knew PS was going to be in for a bad time. Kaz was an entertainment guy. He "got" PS. (Ken) Yoshida, comes from Sony Financial Services. He's a banker. A lender. A shark. He doesn't know product. He doesn't know entertainment. He doesn't know marketing. He knows trendlines and statistical models. We were never going to have a good time unless the PS leadership is solid and can push back a banker's view of maximizing entertainment profits. Instead, we have Good Time Jim. Jim strikes me as......a bootlicker? Corporate yes-man? Corporate climber? He seems like someone that knows how to please power and suck up to the good side of whoever's above to be advanced up the ladder. He's not the kind of guy who says "no, I have a vision for the future of the business, and that vision is not this one." He's the guy that says "yes, Yoshida-san that idea is excellent, I'll get on that right away! We do need more The Last of us Action figures, Disney really does have us beat in the franchise-based-toys category by a staggering $500b!"
You can add their bewildering final E3 performance to that list. We went from the stadium shows down to the awkward church set with the worst mic-job I've ever heard for a live performance, by the company who owns a near-monopoly on studio recording and live sound in the music business, with Shaun Layden in the booth like an IGN commentator hulking 3rd party controllers while they shuffled press around the venue. The embarrassment of that, combined with the fact Jim didn't want to do E3 at all and Shaun pushed for it led to them abandoning...well...all communication.
Kaz's "retirement" was always sudden and bizarre. One day he was planning to split his time 50/50 between Tokyo and Hollywood to fix Sony Pictures disaster, then shortly later he's "retiring" and Ken's replacing him, but whe'd be "available" to advise. Nothing about that ever felt like we know what actually happened. And as you said, how is he not on the board? And who is the board?
Your last paragraph may have some truth, too. Under Kodera, PlayStation was going to absorb Sony Pictures (as a division of PS). Which was a bizarre move. Who puts a motion picture studio as a subsidiary of a video game company? They bailed out of the idea before it happened, but it shows some of the thinking going on there. Then again, that was under (Ken) Yoshida, not Hirai.
Kaz's "retirement" always struck me as fishy. He was awarded a board seat but only held it for two years. I can only imagine since he was the idea man behind the PS3's cell architecture, he was persona non grata.
Maybe he really did have other priorities and left voluntarily (he is getting up there in age), but that generally isn't how Japanese business culture works - their jobs are cradle to grave right?
We can only speculate, and we will never know for sure unfortunately. At least superficially, it looks like he was quietly promoted out of the position they felt he did poorly in, then he was ousted or quit not long after. All speculation, but it does appear that way based on the general timeline.
Jim Ryan is Sony Corps' yes man, that I do not see as mere speculation. He was almost certainly chosen for... certain qualities he possesses, and none of those have anything to do with passion for the actual product he is selling. And certainly not his ability to communicate with his audience. He is good at making money, point blank.
Also, I never heard about their last E3 showing being so rough - that's super interesting! May explain some things. You were in attendance?
@UnlimitedSevens Glad I'm not the only one to find Kaz' sudden departure suspicious!
No, I wasn't there myself, but the whole event was.... Bad... From what we saw, from reports from those that were there. Layden wanted that E3, others didn't. I'm glad he got it, but it was so very bad... The only thing good about it was Spider-Man coverage looking good and an interview with insomniac and most of that was the post show. You can still find some stories in the press from the time about their experience being herded around the awkward maze having no idea what was going on. Idk if the video is still around in full. The badly mic'd church set and the layden killing time in the booth flogging 3rd party scuf controllers is classic.
It's not "real time weapon change!" Classic but it's memorable!
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