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"Sony’s Obsession With Blockbusters Is Stirring Unrest Within PlayStation Empire"

 

 

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 Sony’s conservative approach to making games for the PlayStation 5. The Japanese conglomerate owns about a dozen studios across the world as part of its PlayStation Studios label, but in recent years it has prioritized games made by its most successful developers. Studios such as Santa Monica, California-based Naughty Dog and Amsterdam-based Guerrilla Games spend tens of millions of dollars to make games with the expectation that the investments will pay off exponentially. And they usually do. Hits including 2018’s God of War and 2020’s The Last of Us Part II are exclusive to PlayStation consoles, helping Sony sell some 114 million of the PS4.

Rival Microsoft Corp. has taken the opposite approach, relying on a wide array of studios to feed its Netflix-like subscription service, Xbox Game Pass, which allows users to pay a monthly fee for unlimited access to a variety of games. 

Sony’s focus on exclusive blockbusters has come at the expense of niche teams and studios within the PlayStation organization, leading to high turnover and less choice for players.

Emphasizing big hits can also be counterproductive because sometimes games that start small can turn into massive successes. In 2020, Sony didn’t put much marketing muscle behind the quirky video game creation system Dreams, by the PlayStation-owned Media Molecule in the U.K. As a result, PlayStation may have missed out on its own version of Roblox, a similar video game tool. Parent company Roblox Corp. went public earlier this year and is now valued at $45 billion. 

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To Sony, the move made sense. Naughty Dog is “one of the key studios” for Sony’s ability to sell PlayStations, said Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Matthew Kanterman. “Sony’s competitive advantage has always been exclusive content over Microsoft and more new games as well as remakes of classic titles from such a storied team can help sustain demand for PS5.”

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Last week, Sony reorganized a development office in Japan, resulting in mass departures of people who worked on less well-known but acclaimed games such as Gravity Rush and Everybody's Golf. The company has informed developers that it no longer wants to produce smaller games that are only successful in Japan

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This fixation on teams that churn out hits is creating unrest across Sony's portfolio of game studios. Oregon-based Sony Bend, best known for the 2019 open-world action game Days Gone, tried unsuccessfully to pitch a sequel that year, according to people familiar with the proposal. Days Gone 2 wasn’t seen as a viable option.

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Instead, one team at the studio was assigned to help Naughty Dog with a multiplayer game while a second group was assigned to work on a new Uncharted game with supervision from Naughty Dog. Some staff, including top leads, were unhappy with this arrangement and left. Bend's developers feared they might be absorbed into Naughty Dog, and the studio’s leadership asked to be taken off the Uncharted project.

- Naughty Dog are leading development on a remake of The Last Of Us, a game that only came out 8 years ago and has already had a (very good) remaster on PS4, seems a ridiculous waste of resources..

- Days Gone 2 has been cancelled, BEND were working as a support studio for Naughty Dog since Days Gone shipped, they are now working on their own game after leadership asked to be removed from ND's project.

- Sony 's focus is on blockbusters, no more niche Japan-centric games

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  • 2 weeks later...

The previews for Returnal seem really positive.

 

Not that i can play it anytime soon as this stupid country has no stock.

 

 

Edited by Mole

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On 21/04/2021 at 12:04, TBG said:

Hold on the PS5, is still out of stock pretty much everywhere :lol: 

Ongoing global chip shortage effecting both consoles, & other industries. Jaguar Land Rover just had to suspend production due to it.

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Sick to death of issues and bugs with PS5 and COD Wazrone / Modern Warfare. If I want to play it, I have to give myself at least half hour notice in order to turn on the PS5 and then await updates for COD. It's not because it needs them, every single day it has to download and reinstall them. Not all of them, just a few, but it won't load up the game until they are done. I even end up with an update that won't install, gives an error code. If I turn it on and load the game it will hold at the loading screen and usually work, but that takes around 20 to 30 mins. Seems to be when the system is in rest mode or turned off the game installs corrupt or something. I've tried rebuilding databases, clearing cache etc. - they don't work. The only thing that briefly works is deleting the whole thing and downloading it all again, which on my 40mb broadband is an overnight task. Then it works for a few days but same issue comes back. Seriously annoying.

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On 22/04/2021 at 13:28, Mole said:

The previews for Returnal seem really positive.

 

Not that i can play it anytime soon as this stupid country has no stock.

Decided I'm getting this. 

Have resisted the £70 for demon's souls so far but figure for an actual new game that ticks any box there is to tick that I should make an exception. 

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Got it pre-downloaded.

It had a countdown timer saying it would be ready at 1pm today. Sat there as it hit 0 and the button changed to "Play Game". Just before I picked my controller up to click it it changed to a countdown to midnight tonight. I wonder if it would have worked if I was fast enough...

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I can count the number of good ones on one hand, like.  By their nature they always have a dull and arbitrary feel to them which gets impossible to ignore after a while.  The Chalice Dungeons in Bloodborne are the best procedurally generated gameplay I've ever experienced and they were still miles short of a real, designed experience.  I hadn't realised that Returnal was until now.

I haven't played many by Housemarque but other than Dead Nation, the ones I have are ones that I've found great for about ten minutes and then just switched off and never played again.  Every one of them :lol:

 

 

Edited by OpenC

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Returnal feels legit. Playing it I can see why it's PS5 and would struggle to be the same on last gen. 

Will post more thoughts in coming days bit for now I really should go to bed. 

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