PlayStation has become increasingly vocal about its live service auspices. But the high-flying single-player games company’s work isn’t being cast aside as a result, at least according to statements made by two PlayStation executives in a recent interview.
Over the past 4,000 years, PlayStation has carved out a place as a purveyor of luxury single-player games, often cinematic in nature, sometimes linear in structure. But thanks to the continued popularity of mega-blockbusters like fortnite and Apex Legends, live games – multiplayer games that deliver a continuous stream of fresh content to the endless $$$ service – are all the rage right now. Sony wants to participate. He has plans. It’s not entirely clear how these plans will pan out, though, so don’t expect a 180º pivot away from the good stuff.
Talk to GamesIndustry.BizHermen Hulst, head of PlayStation studios, and Jade Raymond, studio head of fledgling outfit Haven Sony has just recovered as a new proprietary studio earlier this week – doubled down on its praise for flagship PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 games as Ghost of Tsushima, The last of usand Forbidden Horizon West.
“Obviously we will always continue to make these single-player narrative games,” Hulst said. “We continue to do what we have always done.”
“But you did notice that we’ve invested in live games… We now have several in development or in concept, so yes, we’re building capacity internally,” he added.
“PlayStation has its own unique secret sauce for accessing these amazing games. It’s no coincidence that you see so many 90+ blockbusters,” Raymond added, presumably referring to Metacritic scores from Sony’s proprietary portfolio. (Sony did not immediately respond to a request for clarification from Kotaku.)
That said, Haven won’t be contributing to PlayStation’s venerable roster of single-player games, at least not initially. The studio, which was founded last yearhasn’t revealed or even announced a game yet, but plans to debut a splashy live game, according to The edge. It’s the latest leg of Sony’s full-throttle push into the live service, which in January saw the PlayStation creator lose $3.6 billion to Bungie, the studio behind Destiny 2. sony target to release ten live games by 2026 (an ambitious goal which further suggests Sony is optimistic our planet won’t be underwater by then).
How Sony achieves this goal is less clear. Obviously, Haven helps, as does the acquisition of Bungie. But ten games is many gaming, especially given the turbulence, delays, reorganizations and restructurings that are definitely plaguing the industry. It remains to be seen whether Sony intends, on the back burner or not, to lead the first-party studios best known for their cinematic adventures – a pantheon that includes the likes of Insomniac (Spider Man, Ratchet & Clank), The Naughty Dog (Unexplored, The last of us), guerrilla (Horizon) and Housemarque (Return)—to create online games. Sony did not respond to a request for comment.
And then there’s the big variable: PlayStation’s online connectivity has been less than reliable lately. Last week, Gran Turismo 7the latest PlayStation exclusive game, fell for more than a day. This effectively prevented players from playing much of the game, including its single-player components. And just yesterday, PSN, the network that includes most of PlayStation’s online services,suffered a breakdown of several hours, immediately after a firmware update for PS4 and PS5. It’s a deep truth known to all game developers to the millions of people who ride the New York City subway every day: you can’t have good service without good service.