Will the PlayStation 4 keep getting new games, or will it suffer through the dreaded software drought that inflicts most video game consoles during their first few months on the market? Sony is hoping — and promising — the former.
Sony's got big plans for their next PlayStation, which comes out on Friday. They want to keep pumping it full of big-budget games, indies, and everything in between. But a glance at their release schedule for the next few months must be disconcerting for anyone who has the shiny new console preordered with the expectation that they'll be playing it non-stop. After the launch lineup — Knack, Killzone, and a bunch of multiplatform games like Assassin's Creed IV and Battlefield 4 — there isn't much out there.
Particularly in January, February, and March, the list is dismal.
But Sony's Adam Boyes says that more games are coming in the next few months — the company just hasn't given us dates. Boyes, who is in charge of working with third-party publishers and developers to get their games on PlayStation consoles, says they don't plan to let the PS4 have any sort of software drought.
"I think we've got a lot of stuff that's gonna be coming out sort of on a more regular cadence than the competition, because we've got a lot of great, phenomenal indie games," Boyes told me during an interview yesterday in NYC. "I think also what you're gonna see is a lot of updates to the free-to-play games as they come online. We've got Warframe; we've got Blacklight: Retribution; we've got DC Universe Online. Then we've got Warthunder coming. And all those games I think we'll be continually adding and evolving the content that's available on them. And then once some of the other indie games start coming online, once they start releasing, we'll see a nice cadence."
Remember that massive list of indie games? The one that includes titles like Fez and The Binding of Isaac? Those might be the titles that help fill in the blanks between launch and the next big AAA games, like Infamous: Second Son, The Order: 1866, and whatever big productions Sony hasn't announced just yet.
"Up until about December, I think there's a lot of visibility on what's coming up, and I think January, February, March is when you'll start seeing all that stuff start hitting the market at a nice, regular beat," Boyes said. "Like every few weeks there will be new stuff to be playing on PS4."
It's also Boyes' job to snag the Sony exclusives you see for multi-platform games like Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. That whole "60 minutes of exclusive PlayStation content" thing? Boyes and his team. The bad news for people who want to play games only on Xbox and Wii U is that Boyes and crew are fighting hard to keep that going — they've already snagged some sort of exclusive content for Bungie's upcoming shooter Destiny, for example, which will be announced tomorrow night during Spike TV's PS4 All-Access event.
"We're having meetings — that's what my team does every single week," Boyes said. "Right now we're planning E3; we're planning our announcements for that; we're planning Gamescom; we're planning TGS; all those different events and what kind of stuff we want. And listening, whether people are tweeting at [Sony top exec Shuhei Yoshida] or me or anyone on my team. We're reading all the forums and commenters to see what people are really excited about. And that's the stuff we usually start with — the more excitement there is around certain content, that's sort of where we go after."
They talk to the big third-party publishers — the EAs and Activisions. They talk to independent development studios like Gearbox, whose AAA shooter Borderlands 2 is getting a Vita port next year. Boyes and his team even talk to the developers behind successful Kickstarters, hoping to sway them to release their games on the PlayStation Network for either Vita, PlayStation 4, or both.
That's why Boyes is confident that the PS4 games are just going to keep trickling in — even if many of them are ports. And although Sony doesn't have any big-budget third-party exclusives on the same level as EA's Titanfall, the multiplayer shooter that will be only on PC and Xbox platforms, they're continuing to fight for platform exclusives that they hope PlayStation fans can care about. For PS4 owners, hopefully that means enough games to keep everyone's console in use for the next few months.
"I think next year is gonna be a huge year though in general, with Destiny coming and a lot of stuff we saw and talked about on that partnership which is gonna be super-exciting," Boyes said. "There's a lot of stuff we continue to focus on trying to get."