from the about-time dept
For the past couple of years, we have been tracking Sony’s long overdue foray into making its first party titles available to the PC gaming market. Sony, famous for walling off these titles and making them Playstation exclusives, began loosening that grip in 2020. MLB: The Show suddenly appeared on other consoles (though not on PC, grrrr), while Horizon: Zero Dawn got a long-awaited PC port that helped propel that title into incredible sales territory. Perhaps as a result of that success, Sony then acquired Nixxes, a company that specializes in porting console games to the PC. Many of us took this as a sign that Sony was ready to jump into PC gaming with both feet.
It appears we read those tea leaves correctly, as Sony announced it would massively expand the percentage of first party titles that would get PC appearances.
Sony plans to expand significantly into PC gaming, according to an investor briefing published this week. By 2025, Sony says, roughly a third of the games in PlayStation’s portfolio will come out on PC. From a player’s perspective, Sony’s continued foray into PC undeniably rules. And considering that it’s still tough AF to get your hands on a PS5, even as we approach the point in this console generation where developers leave the PlayStation 4 behind, PC versions will help more games reach more people.
And that’s plainly true. More places to play a game means more people have access to it. And, while it’s true that it’s quite difficult to buy a PS5 console right now due to supply chain issues, I think that is mostly coincidence. Yes, Sony for a long time kept titles exclusive in order to sell more consoles, but the plans for moving off that strategy certainly must have been formulated well before the pandemic hit, setting off the supply chain issues.
No, what’s going on here instead is almost certainly that the company has realized two things at the same time: a huge percentage of its revenue comes from the gaming market and it can generate more revenue through a wider distribution of its games than it can trying to coerce the public to buy Playstations. And we are talking about serious amounts of money.
Horizon’s port helped propel the game’s total sales across an impressive benchmark: To date, it’s sold more than 20 million copies. And it’s not just Horizon that brings in a ton of money. In the investor brief, Sony estimates that its PC portfolio is on track to earn $300 million in revenue during the company’s 2022 fiscal year—more than triple the revenue from the same segment for its 2021 fiscal year, and close to 10 times the segment revenue from its 2020 fiscal year.
While this might largely be a “well, no shit!” type situation for us, turning the Titanic that is global strategic policy for a multifaceted and massive corporation isn’t fast or easy. We criticize Sony all the time when it does the dumb stuff, but we should also acknowledge that this move is pretty much great for everyone. More gamers get access to more games and Sony makes more money, allowing it to make more games.
I can’t seem to find anyone that loses in this scenario.