The greatest will-they-won’t-they saga in gaming finally has a conclusion: Death Stranding will release on the PC next year. The game had been announced for computers right at the very beginning of Hideo Kojima’s relationship with Sony, but when the auteur opted to employ Guerrilla Games’ proprietary Decima Engine technology, many felt that a port had been ruled out.
However, despite the Japanese giant owning the intellectual property, it’s decided to license the product out to 505 Games, enabling a PC release in 2020. That’s probably as far as the product will go; we wouldn’t hold your breath for an Xbox One or Nintendo Switch version at this stage. It’s not all that different to the way the platform holder’s handled, say, Monkey King: Hero Strikes Back.
So what gives? Well, while the idea of PlayStation exclusives appearing on computers once seemed strange, it’s really not that surprising anymore. We’ve seen big name titles like Detroit: Become Human and Beyond: Two Souls make the jump this year alone, while the likes of Journey and Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture are other examples from this generation.
In some cases, the manufacturer has even published the titles on marketplaces such as Steam itself, rather than license the products out to third-parties. And it’s been relatively open about the idea, explaining in an interview that “it may need to lean into a wider install base”. In fact, if you factor in PlayStation Now, even internally developed titles like God of War can be played on PC – at least temporarily.
Why, then? Well, the answer is an obvious one: it has minimal material impact. Death Stranding, for example, is still launching as a PS4 exclusive; if you want to be part of the zeitgeist and be among the first wave of people to play the title, you’ll be doing so on Sony’s system. There may be a small number of people who wait for the PC port, but this figure is unlikely to be particularly substantial.
It’s worth adding that, as the owner of the IP, the company will still see some returns on the port – and allowing Kojima Productions to re-release the title at a later date may have played a part in it landing the publishing contract to begin with. In an age where third-party exclusives are rare, the organisation may have learned that it has to give some leeway in this department.
Does that mean that all future PlayStation exclusives will come to PC? Well, no, it still has a mandate to support its own hardware as effectively as possible. But in fringe cases like Death Stranding, how much does this really matter? Time will tell, we suppose, but beyond the furrowed brows in enthusiast forums, we just can’t see this having much of an impact at all.
How much do you think Death Stranding’s non-exclusivity matters? Will this hurt the title’s performance on PS4, or is it a non-issue? Connect in the comments section below.