Sony has ruled out any hopes of PlayStation 5 exclusives being bundled up as part of a subscription service and effectively given away at launch. Asked about Microsoft’s own Game Pass initiative – which sees all Xbox Studios titles added day one – PlayStation boss Jim Ryan suggested that it makes “no sense” for the organisation to do that, as the economics currently don’t work.
“For us, having a catalogue of games is not something that defines a platform,” he told GamesIndustry.biz, perhaps a little pointedly at his rivals. “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 continued that Sony wants to commit to improving its output, and it doesn’t want to involve itself in a race to the bottom. “We want to make the games bigger and better, and hopefully at some stage more persistent,” he explained. “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.”
Despite what Ryan says here, there’s no doubt that the Japanese giant will be monitoring the balance sheets closely, and once it believes that there’s more money to be made through subscribers than full-price sales, it’ll no doubt change its tune. Right now, though, with titles like The Last of Us: Part II and Ghost of Tsushima breaking records at retail, it’s not hard to understand PlayStation’s perspective – especially when Microsoft has more or less admitted that it’s losing money on its approach.