Sony Interactive Entertainment President Jim Ryan has explained his hopes for the future of the PlayStation brand. In an fireside chat with GamesIndustry.biz, Ryan explained how he hopes the brand could get to a point where “hundreds of millions of people” would be able to enjoy PlayStation games. Currently a hit for the PlayStation Studios would be where a game is played by between 10-20 million people.
Ryan started off small by saying he hoped the PlayStation 5 console would be “Sony’s biggest and best and most loved PlayStation yet.” So far they seem to be doing really well on this front anyway. It reached 10 million sales faster than any previous PlayStation console. The console is the best selling in the UK having shifted 1 million units in a shorter timeframe than the PS4. They’ve also sold 1 million units in Japan, and they plan to break their record and sell at least 14.8 million units by the end of the fiscal year.
Further ahead, he would “like to see a world where the games that we make at PlayStation can be enjoyed by many tens of millions of people. Perhaps hundreds of millions of people.” Even with how successful the PS5 console is right now and how well the PS4 console did before it, a “really great PlayStation hit” will sell enough copies for 10-20 million people to be able to play the game.
The problem, Ryan explains, is the way games work in comparison to other media like music or movies. The latter two types of media can be enjoyed on many different devices and have “almost limitless audiences.” On the other hand, PlayStation games are restricted to PlayStation consoles. Ryan said:
I think some of the art that our studios are making is some of the finest entertainment that has been made anywhere in the world. And to kind of gate the audience for the wonderful art, wonderful entertainment that our studios are making… to gate the audience for that at 20 or 30 million, frustrates me. I would love to see a world where hundreds of millions of people can enjoy those games.
He doesn’t go further into what exactly that means, but we’re already seeing initiatives free many PlayStation IP from the platform. PlayStation is already working on expanding its audience beyond consoles by heading into the PC market. PlayStation-exclusive titles that have already made it to PC include Days Gone and Horizon Zero Dawn, with Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection heading to PC next year. Despite this, Head of PlayStation Studios Hermen Hulst has already said PC ports would never come “at the expense of building an exciting lineup of great console games,” and former PlayStation boss Shawn Layden says he doesn’t expect PlayStation will launch games day and date with PC. How PlayStation aims to achieve these dreams of “hundreds of millions of people” remains to be seen.