Sony Says It “Probably” Doesn’t Need to Buy Game Exclusivity
After Sony announced that they’ve sold over 10 million PlayStation 4s to consumers in nine months at gamescom, CVG caught up with PlayStation Europe President Jim Ryan, where he said that he was surprised it reached the mark so quickly:
I think if you’d offered me that at the start of November I’d have bitten your hand off. If you’d have told me that I’d be standing up on the stage at gamescom giving that number I’d have been very surprised. Particularly given that we’d had some pretty severe stock shortages… less so in the UK – although certainly before Christmas in the UK, but in continental Europe it’s been quite difficult through the first few months of this year, so it would have been faster if we’d had sufficient supply.
Back in May, Sony revealed that the PS4 is now profitable and they expect it to be a bigger success than the PlayStation 2. When Ryan was asked about how the PS4 stacks up against previous PlayStation systems, he said:
Oh, way, way out in front. Way out in front. It’s significantly ahead of anything we’ve done on any other PlayStation platform. I wouldn’t be able to rank it against competitor platforms, though I’d imagine we’d show up pretty well in that too, but certainly way ahead of anything we’ve done before.
Perhaps the biggest point of controversy at gamescom was Rise of the Tomb Raider initially being revealed as an Xbox-exclusive (we now know it’s only a timed-exclusive). CVG brought this up with Ryan, who detailed Sony’s stance on securing AAA exclusives:
Well, you know, we’ve got a very large and very powerful network of studios on our own, all of whom are working on games that will be fully exclusive to PlayStation, and we feel that this on top of partnering with third parties where it makes sense. I think the partnership we have with Activision on Destiny is a good example of where it makes really good sense for them, it makes good sense for us and it benefits our consumers – when you complement those two things we think that gives us a pretty complete position in the market.
So do we feel the need to go out and buy outright exclusivity? Probably not. You saw last night [at Sony’s press conference] that before the media briefing we showed updated videos of games that we had revealed at E3. That’s because we wanted to keep the show itself full of new, fresh things. We think that gave us a good, strong, convincing portfolio of exclusive stuff and we’re happy with that.
With the success of The Last of Us Remastered so far, Ryan says porting it from PS3 to PS4 “made a huge amount of sense.” However, he is aware that too many remasters could be a bad thing:
I think it’s got to be looked at very holistically; you can’t have too many of these things, otherwise next-gen just looks like rehashed last-gen and we certainly don’t want that. I think the balance is just about right but you know, there are other games that could be looked at, but there’ll come a point where next-gen will have moved on and rehashing old-gen will have passed its sell-by date.
Also in the interview, Ryan discussed Tearaway Unfolded for PS4, revealing that it’s a “significant commitment” from Media Molecule, but with release not happening until 2015, it leaves them “free to do other things.” Ryan didn’t reveal what else they’re working on, only mentioning, “Well, I’ll say that not all of their mind-share is on [Tearaway Unfolded], but I’m not going to say anything more at this stage.”
As you’d expect, the PlayStation Vita’s absence at the press conference was brought up in the interview, with Ryan saying that the reason there wasn’t any focus on the handheld was due to a lack of time (which is the exact same thing they said for E3):
We continue to support it. We like Vita. As we said at E3, there’s over 100 games in development. You know, it wasn’t featured last night because there’s only so much time for these things. PS4 is the priority, we had a ton of stuff to show on PS4 and we just wanted to focus totally on that.
If you start talking about Vita and PS3, the show’s two hours long and everybody’s unhappy about that. So we kept to the PS4. I will say that every single one of those games you saw last night is playable on Vita using Remote Play, and that feature is very valued and the incidence of it is way greater than what we expected.
If you were curious, the PS4+PS Vita bundle is “still being looked at,” but there’s no update as of today.