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A senior PlayStation executive reiterated Sony’s commitment to releasing its games as premium titles first during a discussion panel this week.
Speaking at GI Live 2022 on Wednesday, PlayStation’s Head of Independent Developer Initiatives Shuhei Yoshida discussed the expansion of the PlayStation Plus service and how the company views adding new titles to the service at launch.
“We believe in the premium release of titles at launch,” Yoshida said, referring to how modern digital games’ life cycles are akin to a film being released in the cinema, and then on streaming services months later.
“The new PS Plus has tiers and essentially it’s like the old PS Plus, we still release two or three new games every month, and a new tier, Extra, has a catalogue of hundreds of games for people to play. For Extra, our approach [is] we like to help the publishers [with] lifecycle management.
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“I was managing first-party [at PlayStation] so I know that it’s like in the movies — a movie comes out at the theatre first, then goes to pay per view, or a subscription service, or free TV, every time generating new revenue and reaching out to a broader audience.
“In the same kind of way, we believe in the premium release of a title at launch and after maybe six months, or three months, or three years, when the game’s sales come down, inclusion into this service, PS Plus Extra, can help introduce these games to new, broader audiences.”
He added: “Some people might have missed these games when they came out and it’s a great chance to play and generate word-of-mouth or if there’s DLC or a sequel going, we can help elevate interest to a broader audience about the franchise. So we are encouraging publishers to make use of these services in managing the lifecycle of each title.”
Later in the talk, Yoshida stated that subscription services were still “kind of experimental for [Sony] at this point,” but said that Stray, which released day-one on PS Plus Extra, was an example of a title that found success by adopting a day-and-date subscription release.
While Sony’s first-party titles don’t come to PS Plus on day one, notable indie titles have found success doing so, a trend which stretches back throughout the life of the service, which saw games like Rocket League and Fall Guys launch on the platform.
Earlier in the year, Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan claimed that games “could suffer” if they were added to PlayStation Plus on day one.
When asked about adding new Sony first-party titles to the service in the same way that Microsoft does with its Xbox Game Pass, Ryan said: “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.”