Two of which are to be expected this fiscal year
Sony Interactive Entertainment held its latest investor call this morning, in which president Jim Ryan spoke to shareholders and press about some of the corporation’s plans for the PlayStation brand going forward — Among the many topics discussed were the company’s newfound love of Live Service titles, of which Sony is expecting to produce many more of in the coming few years.
As transcribed and reported by news outlet VGC, Ryan stated that Sony has two live service titles currently planned for release by the end of the fiscal year (which will be March 2023). When asked whether Destiny — property of the newly-acquired Bungie Studios — is included as one of these two incoming releases, Ryan said that these particular live service titles were as-yet-unannounced projects.
Ryan would go on to note that Sony had designs on releasing 12 live service titles for PlayStation and/or PC by the end of the fiscal year 2025. An accompanying slide, as seen by VGC, reportedly showed a timeline of three more games arriving in fiscal year 2023, four in fiscal year 2024, and two final titles launching in fiscal year 2025. During the call, Ryan defined “live service titles” as games “with no end”, using baseball sim MLB The Show 22 as an example of Sony’s only live service game to date, (due to its microtransaction-based “Diamond Dynasty” mode).
Live service has come to be a disgruntling term among many in the gaming community, due to its typical hand-in-hand nature with heavy monetization, piecemeal content delivery, and common implementation of randomized purchases. Recent forays into live service by Square Enix — namely Marvel’s Avengers and Babylon’s Fall — fell into immediate player-retention struggles. While on the other end of the spectrum, Electronic Arts’ own live service ventures, such as FIFA Ultimate Team, provided resounding financial success for the publisher, though still spawned their own fair share of strife and scandal.
Clearly, there is the potential for serious long-term bank to be made in live service gaming, and thus Sony (and other publishers) are willing to take the risk that comes with dipping into this particular pool. While Sony will be looking to replicate the same successes as EA, (and dodge the disasters of Square Enix), it’s likely that Sony’s new interest in live service will be greeted with trepidation by many players — especially once it’s revealed which PlayStation IPs are to be married to the money-hungry mechanic.