Update: Sony had “no involvement” with Death Stranding’s release on PC Game Pass, despite the platform holder owning the intellectual property and funding the development of the title. “Matters relating to the PC release of Death Stranding are managed by Kojima Productions and 505 Games,” a spokesperson told us. “SIE has no involvement in this promotion.”
It raises the question: how has the Japanese giant managed to negotiate a licensing deal where it has zero control over where its product is ultimately distributed? Obviously, we’ve seen a similar situation unfold with MLB The Show.
It’s perhaps worth pointing out that the PC Game Pass version of the release will be based on the original Death Stranding campaign, and not its expanded Director’s Cut. The latter was also published by 505 Games on storefronts such as Steam, so it’s possible a different licensing arrangement may have been drawn up for that particular version of the game.
Original Story: We knew it was happening, but here’s the official announcement – complete with a blog post on Xbox.com, just to rub it in. Death Stranding – a game fully funded and owned by Sony Interactive Entertainment, and running on first-party studio Guerrilla Games’ engine – is coming to PC Game Pass from 23rd August, 2022. It’ll even include Xbox Achievements! So much for the platform holder paying to keep games off the subscription, eh?
The press release almost reads apologetic, and includes an explanation of why the title is coming to Microsoft’s service: “[The release will] provide players with greater access to Hideo Kojima’s genre-defying title, in which they’ll reconnect a fractured America, one step at a time,” the marketing materials explain. “Death Stranding tells a ground-breaking story of perseverance through an emotional adventure that those in the Microsoft community can now experience for the first time.”
It should be underlined that 505 Games is the publisher of Death Stranding on the PC, and therefore will have initiated this deal. However, it remains utterly baffling to us that Sony has signed contracts where it has so little control over its own products it’s seemingly unable to prevent situations like this from occurring. The same thing has happened with MLB The Show twice now – a game which is wholly developed by a PlayStation Studios developer.
Nevertheless, Death Stranding is a phenomenal adventure, so we sincerely hope people enjoy it. And seeing as the title is already included with All PS Plus Games, this is less of a slap in the face than Sony’s prior Game Pass releases, where it asked PlayStation players to pod out full-price while allowing Microsoft gamers to enjoy at no extra cost.