PlayStation fans have mostly come to want and expect AAA single-player blockbusters from Sony's studios. These titles have been the platform holder's bread and butter for a long time, with record-breaking series like Horizon, The Last of Us, Marvel's Spider-Man, and God of War selling by the bucketload each year. A new Bloomberg report, predominantly focusing on Jim Ryan's retirement and his four years as PlayStation CEO, highlights how a shift towards multiplayer-driven experiences has been a difficult change for PS Studios.
One initiative brought about during Ryan's tenure was a move towards live service games. However, this doesn't gel well with the type of teams PlayStation has cultivated over a long time; its studios are largely geared for making huge budget single-player games, not multiplayer titles supported for years. Bloomberg's Jason Schreier describes it as "an uncomfortable pivot", and we've seen plenty of evidence of these growing pains.
Bungie — acquired by Sony for a cool $3.6 billion — is the company's only true expert in the field of live service. It's currently making Marathon, a revival of its old first-person shooter IP that'll be a live service multiplayer offering. Bungie was also brought in to consult on The Last of Us' multiplayer project, and its evaluation essentially sent it back to the drawing board.
We know major studios like Guerrilla Games and Insomniac Games have multiplayer games in the works, but nothing has materialised yet. The games that have been announced, Marathon, Fairgame$, and Concord, have shown very little — only offering a taste with CG trailers.
Not mentioned in Bloomberg's report is the difficulties between Sony and Deviation Games, which had been producing a multiplayer title exclusively for PlayStation. Allegedly cancelled, it's another hint to suggest the company's emphasis on single-player bangers has left it ill-equipped to make equally strong multiplayer games.
Obviously, there's still a lot we don't know, and things may turn around eventually. Helldivers 2 is scheduled for February and looks like a solid co-op shooter. Guerrilla's inevitable multiplayer Horizon game has potential, and the team did make great multiplayer options in its Killzone titles. For all we know, titles like Concord and Fairgame$ could turn out fantastic. However, years of keeping shtum about its software lineup and various uneasy accounts have left fans concerned about Sony's live service future.
How are you feeling about Sony's aim to add a multiplayer feather to its cap? Discuss in the comments section below.