In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan noted that the PlayStation team does not currently intend to offer new game releases as a day one addition to their subscription services.
“For us, having a catalogue of games is not something that defines a platform,” says Ryan. “Our pitch, as you’ve heard, is ‘new games, great games.’ We have had this conversation before — we are not going to go down the road of putting new releases titles into a subscription model. These games cost many millions of dollars, well over $100 million, to develop. We just don’t see that as sustainable.”
Ryan goes on to note that part of the team’s hesitation to immediately bring such titles to a subscription service is closely related to their desire to continue to expand the scope of such games.
“We want to make the games bigger and better, and hopefully at some stage more persistent,” says Ryan. “So putting those into a subscription model on day one, for us, just doesn’t make any sense. For others in a different situation, it might well make sense, but for us, it doesn’t. We want to expand and grow our existing ecosystem, and putting new games into a subscription model just doesn’t sit with that.”
There are a few interesting things in that last quote that are worth diving into. The first is how it somewhat conflicts with a statement made by former PlayStation executive Shawn Layden who noted that he felt the growth of the AAA industry was, itself, unsustainable and that companies should pursue the development of smaller, shorter games. Based on this quote, it does not sound like Ryan necessarily agrees with that sentiment and expects AAA games to continue to grow.
It’s also interesting that Ryan references the PlayStation “ecosystem” considering that Sony has been criticized in the past over their hesitation to adopt even simple cooperation concepts such as cross-platform play. Sony is certainly not as strict as they used to be in that respect, but it’s potentially noteworthy that Ryan chooses to use the word ecosystem in this instance.
Finally, there’s Ryan’s apparent reference to Microsoft when he says “others in a different situation.” Microsoft has made it clear that they’re learning to measure the success of their gaming efforts in terms of how many people they can get to play Microsoft games, regardless of the platform they choose to do it on. It does not sound like Sony intends to adopt that viewpoint anytime soon.