We may be stepping into an era where platform-exclusive don’t matter quite as much anymore. Reports today from Kotaku indicate that the PlayStation-exclusive Horizon Zero Dawn is coming to PC later this year. Developer Guerrilla Games is expected to be developing the port in-house with the ability to show what the Decima engine is capable of outside the constraints of the PS4 console. Sony Interactive Entertainment will still publish the game’s PC version.
Bringing a PlayStation exclusive to a different platform marks a huge departure from Sony’s usual modus operandi, though we’ve begun to see that strategy shift recently with Death Stranding coming to PC (though Kojima Productions is not a Sony-owned studio and 505 Games will be publishing the PC version) and the PlayStation-exclusive MLB The Show confirmed to be going multiplatform starting next year. Kotaku’s Jason Schreier reports that three anonymous sources “familiar with Sony’s plans” have all confirmed the strategy with Horizon Zero Dawn.
Horizon Zero Dawn will be the first PlayStation-exclusive Sony published game to come to a different platform in the PlayStation’s 25-year history. What’s unknown at this point is if it indicates a shift in strategy for all PlayStation exclusives going forward, or if Sony is simply testing the waters with a PC release. It could also be preparing for an update to PS Now to be more GamePass-like, giving players access to games on both consoles and PCs. It’s certainly a curious move to happen in the same year that Sony makes other big changes, such as not attending E3 2020 to hype the release of the PS5.
It’s possible this strategy could have something to do with the major unannounced PS5 features that don’t require platform-exclusive games to move consoles. Microsoft has been making similar moves recently, bringing most of its exclusives to PC and recently confirming the Xbox Series X next-gen console won’t have any next-gen console exclusives. All games will be able to be played on the full family of Xbox devices and PCs.
Early last year, we posited that the future was “consoles as a service,” with more focus on console ecosystems than specific physical boxes. By bringing Horizon Zero Dawn to PCs, Sony may be trying to open those doors to its PlayStation ecosystem, and this could be another small glimpse at the future to come. For now, this is still a rumor, though Schreier does have a track record for unearthing and leaking these kinds of stories that turn out to be true. If Horizon is indeed coming to PC, expect to hear more about Sony’s future publishing strategies when the PS5 gets revealed.