PlayStation wants to shift its attention away from a library of predominantly single-player games in favour of live service titles.
That’s a scary sounding sentence, but don’t stress too much just yet. Sony says what it’s aiming for is a 45-55% split between traditional single-player games and live service titles on the PlayStation 5 by FY25 (which will be 2025-26). In line with that shift toward live service, Sony expects to see a significant boost in its revenue for digital add-ons (or DLC).
In terms of turnaround, this is all a fair way down the track. However, it paints a clear picture of where Sony’s development priorities lie moving forward. The era of first-party PlayStation exclusives sticking mainly to the realm of cinematic, single-player experiences may not be coming to an end, but it is certainly evolving.
The news came from Sony’s recent investor call, where Sony Interactive Entertainment president Jim Ryan stated the company would seek new partners to address the PS5’s ongoing stock troubles.
Another surprising announcement during the call was that Ryan intended to increase PlayStation’s library of games to a 50-50 split between IP already in its stable and entirely new IP. This marks a significant departure for Sony, historically content to rely on established brands, only opening the door to new ones when it is sure it can turn them into a household name.
Over the last few years, however, there’s been a new willingness from Sony to create space for new IPs, and even to let them fail. Days Gone has found a loyal audience but failed to live up to expectations internally. Housemarque’s Returnal was a critical darling that found modest success when held against the yardstick of Sony megahits like The Last of Us. This renewed interest in fresh ideas and new IP seems to be the result of Sony’s interest in studio acquisitions. Perhaps taking a leaf out of competitor Xbox’s book, perhaps Sony is growing more comfortable with the idea of acquiring studios and letting them produce the work they’re most interested in.
Time’s gonna tell on all of this, of course. As with its promises to accelerate PS5 production, these comments all come from shareholder meetings designed to inspire confidence. Plans, like the games industry, change all the time. I look forward to seeing how Sony’s next chapter unfolds.