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PlayStation's attempt to pivot to live service might not work out, expert warns

PlayStation's attempt to pivot to live service might not work out, expert warns

Not everything has to be 'live service'

It was one of Jim Ryan's missions, to bring live service mechanics to more PlayStation games. It was actually announced as a game plan after the purchase of Bungie in April 2022. Ryan's hope was to launch ten new live service games over "the next four years."

Now, as Ryan announces his departure from PlayStation, fans and experts are looking back at this promise and seeing it for what it was, an empty promise, full of holes.

First and foremost, Sony prides itself on being a company that produces vast cinematic solo games from their first-party studios. Games that would never fit into the live service model. Writing in a recent editorial, Jason Schreier mentioned Anthem as an example of when studios "pivot from a familiar genre to something brand new."

Schrerier goes on to say "this bet on multiplayer games may not pay off the way Ryan and his team once hoped." This is solidified by game trends throughout 2023 which point to live service becoming something antagonistic to how gamers want to play. Since the success of Fortnite, arguably the world's biggest live service winner, it feels like every game wants a piece of the pie, introducing season/battle passes, or seasonal progression.

Schrerier suggests that "insiders are worried about the company's lack of coherent vision", though this could change when Ryan's replacement is found. Over the last two years, Ryab pushed the idea of "games as a service" referring to games that heavily monetise the player over long periods of time. As Schreier mentions, "It's been an uncomfortable pivot for some of Sony's studios."

Live service games seem to be on the downswing as many players would agree that there are simply too many of them. If the average player wants to play Fortnite, Diablo IV, Rocket League and GTAV Online, it would take considerable hours to experience it all. This forces players to choose, spreading consumers thing.

Perhaps Jim Ryan's departure means another pivot for PlayStation. They already have the chops when it comes to narrative single player experiences, so it makes sense.

Featured Image Credit: Sony

Topics: Sony, PlayStation, Playstation Plus