Third-party exclusives are becoming less common these days, which means platform holders like Sony need to find savvy ways to entice players into their ecosystem. This can be done, one exec says, by making PlayStation the best place to play.
In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, head of third-party portfolio and acquisitions Shawne Benson discusses some of the reasons why such arrangements are less common nowadays and said, "there's room for exclusives where it makes sense, obviously, but really the focus – especially with a digital distribution model that is more prevalent than in generations past – is that there are different types of gameplay out there."
As the industry grows, so too does the breadth of experiences available to the gamer, and a one-size-fits-all approach won't work for everything. Benson explains, "for example, a free-to-play game's business model is most successful when it's on as many platforms as possible and brings the biggest audience possible."
Still, when the opportunity arrives, Benson says that what is more important than any exclusivity deal is making the PlayStation version of a game stand out as being the best, and this can be achieved through the skilful application of existing tech. Benson asks the question, "what kind of innovation can they apply with the haptics in the DualSense or the adaptive triggers? What could they do with 3D audio in the sound design of a game, etc? So there's a lot of things we could do and then create marketing stories around, and that's where some of these partnerships for multiplatform games really focus."
The situation is a bit different for the firm's most recent piece of tech, the excellent PSVR2, because, as Benson describes it, "we definitely are still in this 'raising tide helps all ships' mindsets for the VR ecosystem, so it's not the same kind of competitive landscape as it is, say, in the console space, kind of 'flat' gaming experience."
Instead, Sony wants to support PSVR2 by keeping the development community healthy, supporting studios that want to bring their titles to the platform, as Benson notes, "it's around how we can best support you to be able to bring that content over to PSVR2, and that can be development funding support to marketing support because a lot of these studios don't necessarily have the same kind of marketing infrastructure as a bigger publisher would."
Finally, on the subject of the relatively new frontier (for Sony) of PC, Benson says she doesn't see it as such a contentious space for third-party deals, but that could change, stating that "from my perspective, it's really important for gamers to have choice and variety of opportunities in places to play, and PC is really not in the same kind of competitive space for us, at least currently."
Do you agree with Benson's strategy, that making PlayStation the best place to play third-party games is more effective than an exclusivity deal? Let us know in the comments section below.