During their latest quarterly earnings call, Sony has outlined their plans to launch 10 live service games between now and March 2026. That is… uh… a lot of new live service games, though we don’t need to do too much digging to figure out where they’re coming from and how this will affect their overall strategy.
PlayStation says they plan to launch 10 live service games by March 2026
~Via Sony Q3 Earnings Call pic.twitter.com/2Ud3ua7UnX
— Shinobi602 (@shinobi602) February 2, 2022
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The past decade has really been defined by Sony’s first party studios delivering outstanding single player games like Horizon Zero Dawn, God of War, Ghost of Tsushima and The Last of Us, and this has largely seen the company take a few steps back from trying to compete in multiplayer arenas. Where the PS3 had Resistance, Killzone and Uncharted all trying to go toe-to-toe with Halo, Gears, and cross-platform shooters, that aspect has been deemphasised.
However, Sony clearly knows where a lot of the money is in video games right now, and that’s back in the realms of live service gaming where a change in business model allows for games to keep making a lot of money several years after their initial release. This means getting back into multiplayer in a meaningful way and potentially a shift in strategy to try and drive engagement alongside a revitalised PlayStation Plus designed to take on Xbox Game Pass.
10 new live service games is a lot, so where are all these games going to come from without harming the core single player games that have been so popular over the last generation?
Well, for one thing, many of Sony’s biggest studios are large enough to have multiple projects on the go at once. Naughty Dog has continued to work on a standalone The Last of Us multiplayer game, while there have been persistent rumours and hiring at Guerrilla Games for a new multiplayer game. In the last couple of days, London Studio announced hiring for a PS5 multiplayer game as well. If we want to do a little bit of creative accounting, then Gran Turismo 7 could also be considered a live service game with a steady stream of updates and content additions expected.
So that’s three, maybe four already accounted for, but Sony has (just like Microsoft) been beefing up its internal PlayStation Studios. The announced $3.6 billion acquisition of Bungie isn’t just about Destiny 2, but also what the company is working on for their next new IP. We know that Firesprite was acquired with the studio already working on new projects, and fresh rumours of a Twisted Metal reboot at the studio. The company has continued to foster relationships with external studios, which led to Destruction AllStars‘ release in early 2021, a game which could count as a live service title.
In other words, this might sound like a big change of direction for Sony, but when you look at everything that’s been announced in the past, the hiring drive, and the spate of studio acquisitions, Sony has been adding to their teams to handle both blockbusting single player and multiplayer gaming on PlayStation 5, PlayStation VR2 and beyond.
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- business model
- Horizon Zero Dawn
- playstation 5
- video games