Sony has a protracted historical past of preserving its first-party video games behind the walled backyard of console exclusivity.
So the corporate’s option to carry its PS4 hit Horizon Zero Dawn to PC in August 2020 felt like a precedent-changing transfer away from that barrier to entry. It represented a seismic shift for a writer protecting of its big selection of console exclusives.
However as former CEO of Sony Interactive Leisure Shawn Layden tells it, adopting a extra open technique for porting first-party titles to PC was truly a simple determination.
Talking on the most recent episode of the What’s Up PlayStation podcast, Layden—who left Sony in October 2019—mentioned he had been considered one of various individuals who have been contemplating adopting a PC initiative within the time shortly earlier than his retirement. Following Horizon‘s launch in 2020, Days Gone hit the platform earlier this yr. In the meantime, Sony adopted an Uncharted 4 leak in Could with an announcement at its September PS5 showcase that subsequent yr’s Uncharted Legacy of Thieves Assortment will hit PC shortly after its console launch. (Loss of life Stranding was additionally ported over in July 2020, with 505 Video games on publishing duties.)
Layden’s plans got here down to 1 query: how may Sony appeal to new clients who weren’t already console-owning followers? PC house owners supplied a simple pool of latest gamers to draw.
The technique as we have been creating it once I was there was that we have to exit to the place these new clients are, the place these new followers may very well be. We have to go to the place they’re… As a result of they’ve determined to not come to my home, so I’ve received to go their home now. And what’s the easiest way to go to their home? Why not take considered one of our top-selling video games?
The hole between Horizon‘s launch on PS4 in February 2017 and a launch on PC was a key a part of the concept, he mentioned. “It is already been on the market for 18 months or 24 months, there isn’t any actual retail exercise towards that title,” he mentioned, referring to his considering in late 2019.
Layden does not imagine Sony will ever decide to simultaneous console and PC releases for its first-party video games, both. To date, that holds to Sony’s outward technique. In a June interview on the Playstation Blog, present SIE President Hermen Hulst mentioned, within the wake of Horizon‘s success, the corporate was nonetheless “planning” on methods to method the platform transferring ahead. Sony’s personal consoles, he added, would proceed to be the presumably solely technique to play new PlayStation Studios unique “at launch.”
Holding to Layden’s concepts, Hulst identified that Days Gone launched on PC roughly two years after its PS4 launch.
“We do worth PC players, and we’ll proceed to take a look at the suitable instances to launch every sport,” he mentioned.
What comes subsequent?
Sony has additionally appeared to decide to the concept of bringing extra of its first-party roster over with its recent acquisition of Nixxes, a studio that makes a speciality of PC port for builders like Eidos-Montréal and Crystal Dynamics. To date, although, Sony hasn’t introduced what Nixxes could also be engaged on. (The Legacy of Thieves Assortment port is being dealt with by former Sony exec Adam Boyes’ studio Iron Galaxy.) Sony ramping up critical consideration of PC is not even the craziest thing it has carried out not too long ago, both, after PlayStation unique MLB The Present 21 landed on Xbox platforms in April.
The place does this depart Sony’s PC plans trying into the subsequent calendar yr? Judging by its final tentpole PS4 exclusives, a protected wager is that one thing from its 2020 catalog might be within the playing cards. Our cash is on Ghost of Tsushima, which has been a serious success in its unique 2020 incarnation. Sony may preserve some unique draw for Ghosts if it chooses to maintain the PS4 and PS5’s recent director’s cut content locked to these variations, as seems will stay the case with PS5’s Death Stranding Director’s Cut. Given the relative recognition of Sony’s franchises throughout the board, although, it is actually anybody’s guess which one may get picked subsequent.
There may be, nevertheless, no purpose not to maintain up the technique, Layden mentioned. Some PC gamers who determine to take a look at Horizon or Days Gone will even decide up a PS5 after doing so, he defined.
“They won’t have in any other case,” he mentioned. “There is not any shedding on this transaction. It is permitting folks have a glimpse contained in the PlayStation world.”