Report: Sony Focusing on Profit-Generating Blockbusters
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So the big news yesterday outside of notable deaths was that Sony is reportedly focusing more on blockbuster games that generate large profits over titles that are smaller or aren't trusted to pull big numbers: Source

To paint a quick picture of just how focused Sony is on this approach, 2013's The Last of Us is reportedly getting a complete remake, after an attempt to do so with Uncharted was shelved due to being deemed too expensive and demanding in comparison to remaking Naughty Dog's last PS3 game (which was also remastered for PS4). Bloomberg also go on to state the following in relation to other studios and games:
Bloomberg Wrote:
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. 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, Bloomberg has reported.

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. Although the first game had been profitable, its development had been lengthy and critical reception was mixed, so a Days Gone 2 wasn’t seen as a viable option.
Sony also appear to be reluctant to give out a budget to any developer that isn't one of their treasured first parties, since funding was barely being given to the team trying to work on The Last of Us remake, and when they pitched a section of the game they had worked on, it was determined that the project would be too expensive to continue under that developer, with the project being moved over to Naughty Dog.

This really isn't a good look for Sony. I get that investing in risky projects is what it says on the tin, but I can't decide if it's desperation or arrogance to just push out a remake of a game not even a decade old. If anything, it's definitely similar to how Rockstar continue to ride the wave of GTA V.
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So the big news yesterday outside of notable deaths was that Sony is reportedly focusing more on blockbuster games that generate large profits over titles that are smaller or aren't trusted to pull big numbers: Source

To paint a quick picture of just how focused Sony is on this approach, 2013's The Last of Us is reportedly getting a complete remake, after an attempt to do so with Uncharted was shelved due to being deemed too expensive and demanding in comparison to remaking Naughty Dog's last PS3 game (which was also remastered for PS4). Bloomberg also go on to state the following in relation to other studios and games:
Bloomberg Wrote:
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. 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, Bloomberg has reported.

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. Although the first game had been profitable, its development had been lengthy and critical reception was mixed, so a Days Gone 2 wasn’t seen as a viable option.
Sony also appear to be reluctant to give out a budget to any developer that isn't one of their treasured first parties, since funding was barely being given to the team trying to work on The Last of Us remake, and when they pitched a section of the game they had worked on, it was determined that the project would be too expensive to continue under that developer, with the project being moved over to Naughty Dog.

This really isn't a good look for Sony. I get that investing in risky projects is what it says on the tin, but I can't decide if it's desperation or arrogance to just push out a remake of a game not even a decade old. If anything, it's definitely similar to how Rockstar continue to ride the wave of GTA V.
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Honestly I'm not surprised, but I also feel like this is kind of what triple a gaming company want. They want cheap projects that will bring in the sales with minimum effort and risk. I'm sure they'll probably still support the occasional project that they think will bring in big money, but other than that I'm not expecting much.
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Honestly I'm not surprised, but I also feel like this is kind of what triple a gaming company want. They want cheap projects that will bring in the sales with minimum effort and risk. I'm sure they'll probably still support the occasional project that they think will bring in big money, but other than that I'm not expecting much.
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(Apr 10th, 2021, 08:22 PM)Karo Wrote:
Honestly I'm not surprised, but I also feel like this is kind of what triple a gaming company want. They want cheap projects that will bring in the sales with minimum effort and risk. I'm sure they'll probably still support the occasional project that they think will bring in big money, but other than that I'm not expecting much.
It seems more like Sony will only support projects that are being made by studios that always deliver, such as Naughty Dog. The Last of Us is guaranteed money and yet they wouldn't support a remake of it under a developer that wasn't Naughty Dog. It's really weird because a few years ago they happily pushed the MediEvil remake and that game is incredibly niche and wasn't ever going to pull numbers like a lot of other old school remakes did.
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(Apr 10th, 2021, 08:22 PM)Karo Wrote:
Honestly I'm not surprised, but I also feel like this is kind of what triple a gaming company want. They want cheap projects that will bring in the sales with minimum effort and risk. I'm sure they'll probably still support the occasional project that they think will bring in big money, but other than that I'm not expecting much.
It seems more like Sony will only support projects that are being made by studios that always deliver, such as Naughty Dog. The Last of Us is guaranteed money and yet they wouldn't support a remake of it under a developer that wasn't Naughty Dog. It's really weird because a few years ago they happily pushed the MediEvil remake and that game is incredibly niche and wasn't ever going to pull numbers like a lot of other old school remakes did.
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Sadly I'm not surprised to see this happen. Might explain why so many people have been leaving Sony lately (pretty much every person of importance who worked on Bloodborne have left the last two months). We'll see how this affects Sony's first party games. They've always thrived on first-party games, and if they slip at all in that market, they are going to get absolutely demolished by Nintendo this generation.

We'll see if this move leads to a massive increased in the quality of their first-party games, or if they alienate so many potential games that they are left with the same re-hashed "more of a movie than a game" titles.

The fact that the first big thing coming out of this is a remake of The Last of Us does not bode well for the future.
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Sadly I'm not surprised to see this happen. Might explain why so many people have been leaving Sony lately (pretty much every person of importance who worked on Bloodborne have left the last two months). We'll see how this affects Sony's first party games. They've always thrived on first-party games, and if they slip at all in that market, they are going to get absolutely demolished by Nintendo this generation.

We'll see if this move leads to a massive increased in the quality of their first-party games, or if they alienate so many potential games that they are left with the same re-hashed "more of a movie than a game" titles.

The fact that the first big thing coming out of this is a remake of The Last of Us does not bode well for the future.
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Why does TLOU need a remake, when Part 2 was released not long ago and the remaster for PS4 did so well--oh right it's been 6-7 years, about time to make/port a game to the latest console because that's what the market has had for ages now! Gotta keep the game relevant! Why make ND do this?

Don't mind me, just kinda annoyed at the decision of the big wigs still doing this type of thing. Remake this that and everything else. Yay...
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Why does TLOU need a remake, when Part 2 was released not long ago and the remaster for PS4 did so well--oh right it's been 6-7 years, about time to make/port a game to the latest console because that's what the market has had for ages now! Gotta keep the game relevant! Why make ND do this?

Don't mind me, just kinda annoyed at the decision of the big wigs still doing this type of thing. Remake this that and everything else. Yay...
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Welp, there goes my dream of a Legend of Dragoon remake. Right shame; was looking forward to it. Hopefully the fanbase can pull through for content before getting Cease and Desist'd.
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Welp, there goes my dream of a Legend of Dragoon remake. Right shame; was looking forward to it. Hopefully the fanbase can pull through for content before getting Cease and Desist'd.
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It's insane to me how stubborn Japanese CEOs can be. Nintendo's suffered this same kind of arrogance for years, but luckily their gambles have mostly paid off (I'll give a special exception to the WiiU considering the bounceback with the Switch).

I honestly can't see this changing much, either, in the future, considering how well the turnover is for profit on these kinds of games. The only sort-of failure so far has been Days Gone, which markedly will not receive a sequel as a result. But damn do I remember the marketing put into that game. Their whole booth at PAX was decked the hell out! It was as clear as day that was their main feature for their PlayStation presence.
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It's insane to me how stubborn Japanese CEOs can be. Nintendo's suffered this same kind of arrogance for years, but luckily their gambles have mostly paid off (I'll give a special exception to the WiiU considering the bounceback with the Switch).

I honestly can't see this changing much, either, in the future, considering how well the turnover is for profit on these kinds of games. The only sort-of failure so far has been Days Gone, which markedly will not receive a sequel as a result. But damn do I remember the marketing put into that game. Their whole booth at PAX was decked the hell out! It was as clear as day that was their main feature for their PlayStation presence.
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(Apr 11th, 2021, 10:56 PM)Maniakkid25 Wrote:
Welp, there goes my dream of a Legend of Dragoon remake. Right shame; was looking forward to it. Hopefully the fanbase can pull through for content before getting Cease and Desist'd.
This was my thoughts on an Ape Escape remake when Sony killed off Japan Studio recently. Eh

I'd love to know what changed at Sony to make them opt for a remake of The Last of Us solely for the sake of money, when a few years ago they happily greenlit a remake of MediEvil and that game was never even big. It's like they looked at how well every other company is doing off remaking their games, and decided to do it for themselves but with the safest and easiest possible choice rather than something that needs it and is actually desired by the fanbase. In less than a decade The Last of Us will have been made, remastered, and then remade. That's fucking ridiculous. Errm
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(Apr 11th, 2021, 10:56 PM)Maniakkid25 Wrote:
Welp, there goes my dream of a Legend of Dragoon remake. Right shame; was looking forward to it. Hopefully the fanbase can pull through for content before getting Cease and Desist'd.
This was my thoughts on an Ape Escape remake when Sony killed off Japan Studio recently. Eh

I'd love to know what changed at Sony to make them opt for a remake of The Last of Us solely for the sake of money, when a few years ago they happily greenlit a remake of MediEvil and that game was never even big. It's like they looked at how well every other company is doing off remaking their games, and decided to do it for themselves but with the safest and easiest possible choice rather than something that needs it and is actually desired by the fanbase. In less than a decade The Last of Us will have been made, remastered, and then remade. That's fucking ridiculous. Errm
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This report seems to be one sided, as if he came up with a narrative and then found evidence to support it rather than evidence that leads to a narrative. Some of what he has said has already been refuted and conflicting with what others have said.

That said, I don't really see them focusing on AAA being any different from what they did with PS4. Outside of a few smaller games, most of their focus and marketing was on stuff like Uncharted 4, Horizon, and Spider-Man. Plus they have plenty of games that aren't surefire moneymakers on PS5 already with Sackboy, Destruction Allstars, and Returnal. Those games directly conflict with this "only games that are sure to deliver" mentality. As far as TLOU remake, I think it's dumb they didn't can it when that team couldn't remake it without a bloated budget that cost more than any other remake they've ever done. I can see why they wanted to remake it, so Sony would greenlight it but their original plan of remaking the first Uncharted was a MUCH better idea.

As far as Japan Studio, don't you think the restructuring is a good thing? This is a studio that has been squandered since the PS3 era. They haven't produced much and have been mostly a support studio. Their biggest game last gen took 11 years to make and the rest were mediocre to average. Their best team was moved to be the main team of the studio and most likely expanded upon.
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This report seems to be one sided, as if he came up with a narrative and then found evidence to support it rather than evidence that leads to a narrative. Some of what he has said has already been refuted and conflicting with what others have said.

That said, I don't really see them focusing on AAA being any different from what they did with PS4. Outside of a few smaller games, most of their focus and marketing was on stuff like Uncharted 4, Horizon, and Spider-Man. Plus they have plenty of games that aren't surefire moneymakers on PS5 already with Sackboy, Destruction Allstars, and Returnal. Those games directly conflict with this "only games that are sure to deliver" mentality. As far as TLOU remake, I think it's dumb they didn't can it when that team couldn't remake it without a bloated budget that cost more than any other remake they've ever done. I can see why they wanted to remake it, so Sony would greenlight it but their original plan of remaking the first Uncharted was a MUCH better idea.

As far as Japan Studio, don't you think the restructuring is a good thing? This is a studio that has been squandered since the PS3 era. They haven't produced much and have been mostly a support studio. Their biggest game last gen took 11 years to make and the rest were mediocre to average. Their best team was moved to be the main team of the studio and most likely expanded upon.
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(Apr 16th, 2021, 04:18 AM)Metallix Wrote:
That said, I don't really see them focusing on AAA being any different from what they did with PS4. Outside of a few smaller games, most of their focus and marketing was on stuff like Uncharted 4, Horizon, and Spider-Man. Plus they have plenty of games that aren't surefire moneymakers on PS5 already with Sackboy, Destruction Allstars, and Returnal. Those games directly conflict with this "only games that are sure to deliver" mentality. As far as TLOU remake, I think it's dumb they didn't can it when that team couldn't remake it without a bloated budget that cost more than any other remake they've ever done. I can see why they wanted to remake it, so Sony would greenlight it but their original plan of remaking the first Uncharted was a MUCH better idea.

Sackboy, Destruction All-Stars, and Returnal aren't first party endeavors though. Although Sony is publishing those games, I doubt they're spending anywhere as much money on those games compared to those that are developed by first party studios that they own. If they don't want to take on a third party game, that game just goes to somewhere else if it isn't using any Sony IP. Sony can't stop it being made like they can with a first party developer. The report could mean that Sony is focusing on blockbusters for only their first party studios, and the only small games that can stand a chance are those developed by third parties where the investment is going to be less for Sony.

Something to consider would be how Sony has handled the LBP series. In 2008 they supported an independent Media Molecule for the first game, and it was such a critical success that Sony proceeded to purchase that company two years later, and LBP2 knocked it out of the park. However, LBP3 was made by a third party, and just the reveal for the game alone shows Sony was not backing it as much as they had backed the previous games. They seemed more focused on Dreams, but the marketing for that game has become basically zero from Sony ever since the early access release, and I think it's because they saw that it won't reach the sales heights that LBP did under MM. On the flip side though, Sony likely manage the servers for LBP and if so, are allowing those servers to be worked on to have them come back online since they went down back in March. If money was their sole goal, they could just decide to only work on the online for Sackboy and just let the LBP levels stay nuked to save on server costs.

I agree with your take though that the article may not necessarily mean Sony is just going to put profit over creativity like companies such as EA and Activision, but it's tough to tell if they're only going for certain games because like any company they won't just back everything and the kitchen sink because if money isn't being made or going to be made, no one would really jump into that headfirst and especially not in every case. Days Gone 2 could have been turned down because of how the initial game performed just as much as it could be that the pitch for the sequel simply wasn't good enough to make Sony want to go for it.
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(Apr 16th, 2021, 04:18 AM)Metallix Wrote:
That said, I don't really see them focusing on AAA being any different from what they did with PS4. Outside of a few smaller games, most of their focus and marketing was on stuff like Uncharted 4, Horizon, and Spider-Man. Plus they have plenty of games that aren't surefire moneymakers on PS5 already with Sackboy, Destruction Allstars, and Returnal. Those games directly conflict with this "only games that are sure to deliver" mentality. As far as TLOU remake, I think it's dumb they didn't can it when that team couldn't remake it without a bloated budget that cost more than any other remake they've ever done. I can see why they wanted to remake it, so Sony would greenlight it but their original plan of remaking the first Uncharted was a MUCH better idea.

Sackboy, Destruction All-Stars, and Returnal aren't first party endeavors though. Although Sony is publishing those games, I doubt they're spending anywhere as much money on those games compared to those that are developed by first party studios that they own. If they don't want to take on a third party game, that game just goes to somewhere else if it isn't using any Sony IP. Sony can't stop it being made like they can with a first party developer. The report could mean that Sony is focusing on blockbusters for only their first party studios, and the only small games that can stand a chance are those developed by third parties where the investment is going to be less for Sony.

Something to consider would be how Sony has handled the LBP series. In 2008 they supported an independent Media Molecule for the first game, and it was such a critical success that Sony proceeded to purchase that company two years later, and LBP2 knocked it out of the park. However, LBP3 was made by a third party, and just the reveal for the game alone shows Sony was not backing it as much as they had backed the previous games. They seemed more focused on Dreams, but the marketing for that game has become basically zero from Sony ever since the early access release, and I think it's because they saw that it won't reach the sales heights that LBP did under MM. On the flip side though, Sony likely manage the servers for LBP and if so, are allowing those servers to be worked on to have them come back online since they went down back in March. If money was their sole goal, they could just decide to only work on the online for Sackboy and just let the LBP levels stay nuked to save on server costs.

I agree with your take though that the article may not necessarily mean Sony is just going to put profit over creativity like companies such as EA and Activision, but it's tough to tell if they're only going for certain games because like any company they won't just back everything and the kitchen sink because if money isn't being made or going to be made, no one would really jump into that headfirst and especially not in every case. Days Gone 2 could have been turned down because of how the initial game performed just as much as it could be that the pitch for the sequel simply wasn't good enough to make Sony want to go for it.
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(Apr 20th, 2021, 11:46 PM)Moonface Wrote:
Sackboy, Destruction All-Stars, and Returnal aren't first party endeavors though. Although Sony is publishing those games, I doubt they're spending anywhere as much money on those games compared to those that are developed by first party studios that they own. If they don't want to take on a third party game, that game just goes to somewhere else if it isn't using any Sony IP. Sony can't stop it being made like they can with a first party developer. The report could mean that Sony is focusing on blockbusters for only their first party studios, and the only small games that can stand a chance are those developed by third parties where the investment is going to be less for Sony.

Something to consider would be how Sony has handled the LBP series. In 2008 they supported an independent Media Molecule for the first game, and it was such a critical success that Sony proceeded to purchase that company two years later, and LBP2 knocked it out of the park. However, LBP3 was made by a third party, and just the reveal for the game alone shows Sony was not backing it as much as they had backed the previous games. They seemed more focused on Dreams, but the marketing for that game has become basically zero from Sony ever since the early access release, and I think it's because they saw that it won't reach the sales heights that LBP did under MM. On the flip side though, Sony likely manage the servers for LBP and if so, are allowing those servers to be worked on to have them come back online since they went down back in March. If money was their sole goal, they could just decide to only work on the online for Sackboy and just let the LBP levels stay nuked to save on server costs.

I agree with your take though that the article may not necessarily mean Sony is just going to put profit over creativity like companies such as EA and Activision, but it's tough to tell if they're only going for certain games because like any company they won't just back everything and the kitchen sink because if money isn't being made or going to be made, no one would really jump into that headfirst and especially not in every case. Days Gone 2 could have been turned down because of how the initial game performed just as much as it could be that the pitch for the sequel simply wasn't good enough to make Sony want to go for it.
Those games are still funded and owned by Sony though, they own the IP. Yeah they don't pay as much because they don't have the overhead like a studio they own. However if they're willing to fund smaller games with other studios I don't see why that's any worse than funding smaller games with their own studios. They funded Ratchet & Clank for years despite not owning Insomniac for most of it. If something doesn't stick, they usually just move on to different IPs instead of trying to brute force a bomb into a success.

As far as this article goes it says that Bend was worried about being absorbed into Naughty Dog but other people have come out and said that they never felt that way.
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(Apr 20th, 2021, 11:46 PM)Moonface Wrote:
Sackboy, Destruction All-Stars, and Returnal aren't first party endeavors though. Although Sony is publishing those games, I doubt they're spending anywhere as much money on those games compared to those that are developed by first party studios that they own. If they don't want to take on a third party game, that game just goes to somewhere else if it isn't using any Sony IP. Sony can't stop it being made like they can with a first party developer. The report could mean that Sony is focusing on blockbusters for only their first party studios, and the only small games that can stand a chance are those developed by third parties where the investment is going to be less for Sony.

Something to consider would be how Sony has handled the LBP series. In 2008 they supported an independent Media Molecule for the first game, and it was such a critical success that Sony proceeded to purchase that company two years later, and LBP2 knocked it out of the park. However, LBP3 was made by a third party, and just the reveal for the game alone shows Sony was not backing it as much as they had backed the previous games. They seemed more focused on Dreams, but the marketing for that game has become basically zero from Sony ever since the early access release, and I think it's because they saw that it won't reach the sales heights that LBP did under MM. On the flip side though, Sony likely manage the servers for LBP and if so, are allowing those servers to be worked on to have them come back online since they went down back in March. If money was their sole goal, they could just decide to only work on the online for Sackboy and just let the LBP levels stay nuked to save on server costs.

I agree with your take though that the article may not necessarily mean Sony is just going to put profit over creativity like companies such as EA and Activision, but it's tough to tell if they're only going for certain games because like any company they won't just back everything and the kitchen sink because if money isn't being made or going to be made, no one would really jump into that headfirst and especially not in every case. Days Gone 2 could have been turned down because of how the initial game performed just as much as it could be that the pitch for the sequel simply wasn't good enough to make Sony want to go for it.
Those games are still funded and owned by Sony though, they own the IP. Yeah they don't pay as much because they don't have the overhead like a studio they own. However if they're willing to fund smaller games with other studios I don't see why that's any worse than funding smaller games with their own studios. They funded Ratchet & Clank for years despite not owning Insomniac for most of it. If something doesn't stick, they usually just move on to different IPs instead of trying to brute force a bomb into a success.

As far as this article goes it says that Bend was worried about being absorbed into Naughty Dog but other people have come out and said that they never felt that way.
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(Apr 21st, 2021, 04:27 AM)Metallix Wrote:
However if they're willing to fund smaller games with other studios I don't see why that's any worse than funding smaller games with their own studios.
For the consumer overall I'd agree that it isn't worse. The only thing that could make it worse is if one of their first party studios wants to make something smaller or different, it might not be responded to as well as if the same thing was pitched by a third party, or a first party having to make a game they may not have chosen to do themselves but Sony wants to see made or handed over to them from someone else. But how bad that is comes down to how often pitches are shot down that aren't bad but from the wrong people, or how many studios are being put onto projects that they otherwise wouldn't touch.

I just hope a lot of ideas that have potential don't get left behind because a first entry doesn't knock it out of the park instantly. I'm not saying give a chance to every game like that, but if the game wasn't generating a loss but didn't hit a particular goal, it could be that the idea just needs refining for the sequel so that it performs stronger. It just makes me think of companies like Square Enix who said the Tomb Raider reboot trilogy didn't perform well, but the only reason they said that was because they put a lofty sales goal onto it and said one of the games failed because it didn't hit that target, despite the fact the game still generated a very good profit. I doubt Dreams has made notably high sales, but I wouldn't want Sony to start taking such a strong stance of profit-generating games that they just stop nurturing a game like that (although if you ask me, they already have left Dreams to coast on auto-pilot).
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(Apr 21st, 2021, 04:27 AM)Metallix Wrote:
However if they're willing to fund smaller games with other studios I don't see why that's any worse than funding smaller games with their own studios.
For the consumer overall I'd agree that it isn't worse. The only thing that could make it worse is if one of their first party studios wants to make something smaller or different, it might not be responded to as well as if the same thing was pitched by a third party, or a first party having to make a game they may not have chosen to do themselves but Sony wants to see made or handed over to them from someone else. But how bad that is comes down to how often pitches are shot down that aren't bad but from the wrong people, or how many studios are being put onto projects that they otherwise wouldn't touch.

I just hope a lot of ideas that have potential don't get left behind because a first entry doesn't knock it out of the park instantly. I'm not saying give a chance to every game like that, but if the game wasn't generating a loss but didn't hit a particular goal, it could be that the idea just needs refining for the sequel so that it performs stronger. It just makes me think of companies like Square Enix who said the Tomb Raider reboot trilogy didn't perform well, but the only reason they said that was because they put a lofty sales goal onto it and said one of the games failed because it didn't hit that target, despite the fact the game still generated a very good profit. I doubt Dreams has made notably high sales, but I wouldn't want Sony to start taking such a strong stance of profit-generating games that they just stop nurturing a game like that (although if you ask me, they already have left Dreams to coast on auto-pilot).
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