The prevailing wisdom within Sony is that exclusive games sell consoles. And if you were wondering — or maybe hoping — if that attitude might change with the PS5, one of the company’s executive vice presidents is doubling down on the power of an exclusive.
In a lengthy interview with The Guardian, Sony’s executive vice president and head of business operations in Europe has described console exclusives as “more important, I think, than they’ve ever been”. In the interview — courtesy of Kotaku alumni Keza McDonald — Rutter explained how Sony’s focus on exclusives highlighted why people should invest in the PlayStation 5, and the brand more generally.
“[PlayStation] can rely on a studio network that can really show off the innovations that we’re trying to put across … when the exclusives are as powerful as Marvel’s Spider-Man or Horizon, they are important games that people want to play,” Rutter told The Guardian.
Curiously, the chatter about “zero loading times” is starting to fade away a little. When talking about Gran Turismo 7, Rutter explained how the technological upgrades in the PS5 would enable “next to nothing compared to what they have been in the past”. That’s not quite the same as the “instantaneous” or “blink and you’ll miss it” phrasing deployed by Mark Cerny into the PS5’s deep-dive earlier this year. It’s worth keeping an eye on that messaging as we get closer to launch. The lead-up to console releases have historically encouraged all sorts of claims and marketing messages, many of which often not panning out quite as planned.
After letting Microsoft have free reign for almost three months, Sony and their chief architect Mark Cerny finally lifted the lid on what everyone wanted to know about the PlayStation 5: install times, backwards compatibility, how 3D audio works in practice, GPU and CPU speeds, ray-tracing, architecture and what that means for video games.Read more
23 of the 28 games shown during the PlayStation 5 briefing were either first-party games or timed exclusives. It’s a vast divergence from Microsoft’s strategy, which has focused on the proliferation of Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. Phil Spencer himself has spoken about “bringing console quality games that you see on TV or PC to any device”.
“I want to see the creators that I have relationships with reach all two billion people who play games, and not have to turn their studio into something that makes match-3 games rather than story-driven single player games. Because that’s the only way to reach a bigger platform. That is our goal: to bring high-quality games to every device possible on the planet,” Spencer said at E3 2018.
The biggest emergence of exclusives in the current console generation wasn’t through more first-party games, but the proliferation of timed exclusives and console-exclusive content. Sony made several moves in this space, locking up content on Destiny for a full year before it was released on the Xbox One, as well as month-long exclusivity on content in various Call of Duty releases. Rutter’s remarks mean we should more of that behaviour going forward.