Along with the Street Fighter V console-exclusivity deal and Final Fantasy VII timed-exclusivity deal, Sony announced at E3 2015 that they struck a deal with Activision to become the new partner for Call of Duty, meaning content for the game will appear first on PlayStation going forward.
PlayStation Europe boss Jim Ryan explained to GameSpot why Sony is managing to get these partnerships, when it seemed to be so difficult in the previous generation:
I think a few things have changed. It certainly makes discussions with publishers easier when you have a significant installed base, and one that is fast growing, and one that is noticeably further ahead than the competition. I wouldn’t say we have become the industry’s default option, because there are other factors come into play, such as amounts of cash. But I would say we’re starting to become the first thing a publisher thinks about when they consider partnerships.
Asked if getting to that position was the hardest job, Ryan replied, “Well, I think the vast majority of people running third-party publishers are rational executives, who are very observant. They are making the right decisions for their business.”
Admitting that their first-party lineup of titles is “not the strongest we’ve ever had,” Ryan looks at the full year, which includes Bloodborne, Until Dawn, the Uncharted Trilogy, and Tearaway Unfolded. “So taking all that, and added with all the third-party games in the pipeline for this year, we’re feeling confident,” he says.
Despite their lack of a flagship title, the PS4 is enjoying incredible success. Going into 2016, Ryan says it gives them “cause for optimism,” with titles like Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End launching early next year.
Certainly in the UK, it’s still rather close [when compared to Xbox One sales], but we have been edging ahead every month. But across Europe, it’s fair to say we’re beating [Microsoft] by a considerable margin. Once you get into that position, the popularity of a console can start to become its selling point.
So when you look at what drives sales of a console, obviously exclusive games do help, but if you have 75 to 80 percent of the market, it makes the system easier to sell.
What’s the reason you bought a PS4?
Jim Ryan: Sony Becoming the First Thing a Publisher Thinks About When Considering Partnerships