Sony Reportedly to Target Hardcore Gamers With PlayStation 5
The Wall Street Journal's Takashi Mochizuki recently published a report from two anonymous Sony officials about how Sony is prioritizing hardcore gamers for the PlayStation 5 at the expense of indies and smaller studios.
As always, TWJ's article is behind a paywall, but GamesIndustry.biz's James Batchelor provided a summary.
According to Mochizuki's sources, a recent strategy meeting, headed by Sony's chief executive Kenichiro Yoshida, focused on making the PS5 a niche console for hardcore gamers. Visuals would be key in the console's marketing strategy, as we already knew, with Sony pushing for 8K resolution and ultra-high definition graphics.
Reportedly, Sony will also be pursuing more relationships with larger publishers, hoping to make the PS5 mostly a AAA game machine; smaller developers and indie developers won't be a major part of the company's plan for the system — if they factor in at all — according to the report. Exclusives will be key, whether they are from Sony's internal studios or outside publishers.
Mochizuki's sources said Sony believes high-quality visuals are key in consumers' purchasing decisions, not whether they can play an indie game that's already available on a mobile device.
Naturally, smaller developers might feel left out by this reported move, but Mochizuki's other unnamed source claims he believes they'll still develop for the system anyway because it will be so popular.
The reason for this apparent shift in publishing focus is Sony's view of its competition. Nintendo doesn't factor into its strategy plans, nor does Google currently; instead, Microsoft is still seen as Sony's biggest rival.
Not courting smaller developers and indies is certainly an unexpected tactic, considering how indie titles on the PlayStation 4 have regularly filled the gap between major releases, and Sony made their inclusion of primary focus this generation.
Sony still knows that gap is potentially a problem, too, as Sony Production's executives mentioned when the studio was first revealed. Regardless of how popular a game's film or TV series becomes, it's still a separate entity and doesn't encourage consumers to purchase a brand-new console.
Since Sony is also reportedly counting on a large number of consumers purchasing the PS5 at launch, it'll need to ensure the kind of consistent lineup of exclusives we saw Nintendo produce in the Switch's first few years if it wants to avoid a Wii U scenario.