Sony has lifted the lid on its Game Pass-like relaunch for PlayStation Plus
, where new tiers will offer players hundreds of titles from first and third-party studios to download and play. As part of a new interview with gamesindustry.biz
Jim Ryan, President & CEO, Sony Interactive Entertainment, confirms games like God of War: Ragnarok won't hit the service on day one.
Or even the recently released Horizon Forbidden West by the sounds of it. The reasoning comes down to sales, and money. Where, until PlayStation Plus Extra hits massive subscription numbers, first-party titles will stay as is - released via retail. Of course, the wording calls this a "virtuous cycle" and states that bringing games to a subscription service hurts gamers, and would reduce development budgets and the overall quality of Sony first-party games.
"We feel like we are in a good virtuous cycle with the studios," Jim Ryan explains. "Where the investment delivers success, which enables yet more investment, which delivers yet more success. We like that cycle and we think our gamers like that cycle. [In terms of] putting our own games into this service, or any of our services, upon their release... as you well know, this is not a road that we've gone down in the past. And it's not a road that we're going to go down with this new service. We feel if we were to do that with the games that we make at PlayStation Studios, that virtuous cycle will be broken. The level of investment that we need to make in our studios would not be possible, and we think the knock-on effect on the quality of the games that we make would not be something that gamers want."
It makes sense from a business perspective. Sony launching a Xbox Game Pass-like service is a massive undertaking no matter which way you look at it. From library curation to infrastructure to expanding cloud gaming. It's new territory, and the big question mark becomes how many people will sign up to the more expensive tiers. That said, PlayStation Plus in its current form has around 50 million subscribers. And with that, how many (in terms of millions) will it take to invest and expand the offerings. PlayStation exclusives sell because of their quality and when you're talking about something like God of War, they are definitely worth the money.
And with that Sony's stance might be pragmatic, but also open to change. With Jim Ryan adding, "All I'm talking to today is the approach we're taking in the short term. The way our publishing model works right now, it doesn't make any sense. But things can change very quickly in this industry, as we all know."