With only a couple of months left before the PlayStation 5's release, Sony has yet to reveal what its next-generation console will look like or how much it’ll cost, but on Tuesday, a company executive hinted that the PS5 will cater to one type of gamer in particular. Is it you?
The official PlayStation blog published a Q&A Tuesday with Hermen Hulst, the head of PlayStation Worldwide Studios, and he revealed Sony’s exclusive network for game developers will focus more on single-player titles than any other format.
“We’re very committed to dedicated hardware, as we were before," he said. "We’re gonna continue to do that. And we’re very committed to quality exclusives. And to strong narrative-driven, single-player games.”
Hulst’s statements imply that his team will continue the trend of narrative-focused console exclusives by putting more stock in games like these rather than first-party, multiplayer experiences. That might be a bummer for many gamers who might have wanted a PS5-exclusive multiplayer game out of the gate, but it also feels like a no-brainer when the most popular multiplayer games are cross-platform anyway.
Hulst continued by saying that the studio will be “very open to experimentation,” so it’s possible that multiplayer-centric titles are in the pipeline or even more groundbreaking sandbox games like Dreams. However, it’s clear that Sony wants to encourage gamers to buy the PS5 if they want more cinematic game experiences, which could appeal to the largest population of gamers.
A 2019 market study by content delivery service Limelight Networks found that single-player games are played more often than any other type of game. However, gamers 18 to 25 prefer to play multiplayer first-person shooters and battle royale games like Fortnite, Apex Legends, and the new Call of Duty: Warzone.
Popular third-party shooters will still be available on the PS5 just like Xbox Series X and PC, which gives gamers less of a reason to choose Sony’s console over the other options. Plus, Hulst made a separate announcement during the Q&A which might have actually made it more difficult for the PS5 to win over gamers.
PlayStation Worldwide Studios is releasing Horizon Zero Dawn for PC this summer. The open-world RPG has been a PS4 exclusive since its February 2017 debut, but gamers soon won’t require Sony hardware to play the title. Depending on whether or not Sony decides to do the same with future titles — or even older versions of its cherished exclusives — this licensing strategy might prevent consumers from rushing to get the PS5 when they can play the best Sony games elsewhere in a few year's time.
“It gives me and many others less of a reason to buy Sony hardware and games on PSN,” commented TJ_Solo in response to Hulst’s interview.
Sony probably won’t release all of its first-party games on different platforms immediately, but anyone who’s content to wait for PS5 exclusives might want to pass on the new console. So it's starting to seem like Sony might need to work a little harder to convince gamers that the PS5 is the best gaming system available to them in this generation, or the company runs the risk of losing the upcoming console war.