Internal Sony Interactive Entertainment documentation distributed to developers in 2019 suggested PS4 users regularly spent more time playing offline than online.
“Single player is thriving,” Sony said in a presentation obtained by Vice, which shines some light on the platform holder’s ongoing commitment to story-based games.
However, research conducted by Sony also highlighted several issues its players encountered with single player games, findings which appear to have been influential in the creation of PlayStation 5’s new Activities feature.
Sony listed four key problems players reported experiencing:
- Not knowing how long they need to achieve in-game goals
- The amount of time it takes to locate solutions in online help videos
- How to engage socially without encountering spoilers
- Forgetting what they were doing the last time they played and struggling to re-engage
Sony says PS5’s Activities feature has been designed to “remove barriers to gameplay”. It enables users to jump straight into specific levels or challenges, suggests how long these will take to complete, and offers hints about how to progress when stuck, all without needing to leave the game.
PlayStation boss Jim Ryan said in June 2019 that the company would never walk away from story-based first-party games.
“We’ve never had greater success with our own narrative-driven, story-based games than we’re having right now,” he told CNET. “We feel good about that, and it’s certainly not a genre of gaming we’ll ever walk away from.”
Titles in the God of War, Uncharted and The Last of Us series all shipped or sold more than 10 million units on PS4, something not achieved during the PS3 era, according to Sony.
Horizon Zero Dawn has also sold over 10 million copies and Marvel’s Spider-Man has sold over 13 million units.