Last Week In PlayStation #7 | Horizon And God Of War TV Shows, Returnal May Come To PC, And A New State Of Play + Details From Sony's Business Segment Briefings 2022
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Publishing every Monday evening India time (early evening Central European time and late morning Pacific time), the series will round up all of last week's PlayStation news and other happenings into one single article.
This edition will cover all PlayStation news from the 23rd of May '2022 to the 29th of May '2022.
Usually, time flies between each edition of this newsletter. This time, it feels like an age since I wrote last week's edition. But I am not complaining. I finished The Last of Us a couple of days ago and I really liked it: story, music, environments, gameplay (most of the time). I will have a full review up sometime this week. Look forward to that if you're interested.
But this is a PlayStation news round-up, and there is a lot of stuff to get through. Sony held their Business Segment Briefings for 2022 last week, and there is a ton of information from that presentation to go through. We also have some leaks regarding new PlayStation games and an interesting story about Marvel.
Here is what went down in the world of PlayStation last week.
Sony Business Segment Briefings For 2022
Sony's 'Investor Relations Day' takes place at the end of May every year. It took place again last week, except rebranded as 'Business Segment Briefings' this time. Essentially the same thing, the event's 'Games & Network Services' segment - presented by SIE President Jim Ryan - gave us a trove of new details about PlayStation. Here are the major ones.
1. Details About Game Sales On PlayStation 4
We have two new and interesting percentage figures for game sales on PS4. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2021, 80% of PS4 games sold were digital. When the PS4 first launched in 2013, digital game spending that year was only 20%.
Digital sales have been rising this past generation, but the Covid-19 pandemic 'accelerated strong digital shift' in PS4 games purchases. In FY19 (Ending March 2020), which took place pre-pandemic, digital spending on PS4 games was at 66%. In FY20, this number jumped to 77%.
Furthermore, in FY21, 64% of PlayStation Store revenue was on the now 9-year old PS4. PS5, the current generation console, generated just 36% of PS Store revenue. This, if anything, shows how limited the PS5 install base is compared to the total number of PlayStation users, and how the PS4 is still going strong so deep into its life.
2. Free-To-Play Games Are Bigger Than Ever On PS4
Free-to-play games just keep on getting bigger and bigger. In 2016, free-to-play games made up a meagre 5% of sales on the PS Store. Fast forward to 2021, and this number has grown to lover 25%.
Sony credits this rise to blockbuster titles such as Genshin Impact, Call of Duty: Warzone, Apex Legends and Rocket League, spearheaded by the ever mighty Fortnite. Expect this number to climb over the next few years, as more third-party publishers pour funds into this market, hoping one experiment will eventually stick.
3. Details About PS Plus Customer Satisfaction And Console Split
Here is news that judging by the outcry every time a new batch of monthly PS Plus games is announced, you would think is fake. Sony believes that 72% of PS4's PS Plus subscriber base are satisfied with the service. This is according to, what I assume is, a survey conducted by Sony, which asks players to rate their satisfaction with the service on a scale of 1-10.
33% of people surveyed gave the service a 10/10, with 18% a 9/10 and 21% an 8/10. These numbers look good, but I doubt they give an accurate picture of the entire user base's perception of PS Plus.
Here is one that I am more inclined to believe. Sony has outlined 'the primary reasons why people subscribe' to PS Plus. 36% do so for the online multiplayer, 30% for the monthly free games, 21% for game discounts, and 13% for cloud storage of game saves.
The fact that the majority of people subscribe for the online multiplayer may make Sony worried about the potential user base for PS Plus' two newer tiers, but there seems enough demand for free games that users will flock to the Extra and Premium tiers.
One final piece of PS Plus info. As of March 2022, 69% of PS Plus subscribers are on PS4, with the remaining 31% on PS5.
4. PS Plus Targets More Than 50 Million Users By March 2023
Ok, I lied when I said that was the final piece of PS Plus news. There is more. In a slide detailing the new PS Plus restructuring, out now in Asia and coming to the rest of the world throughout June, Sony notes that it intends to grow the PS Plus subscriber base to more than 50 million in FY22- which ends March 2023.
At the end of FY 21 (March 2022), PS Plus had 47.4 million subscribers. Sony expects this number to grow by around 5.5% to reach the threshold of 50 million by the time FY22 ends in March of next year.
This is an ambitious proclamation by the industry giant because PS Plus subscriber numbers actually fell year-on-year from the end of FY20 to the end of FY21. Let's see if this can be achieved.
5. PS VR2 To Launch With More Than 20 Major Titles
For all you VR junkies out there, here is something to get excited about. In a slide about PS VR2, Sony notes that there are '20+ major first-party and third-party titles confirmed for PS VR2 at launch'.
This is accompanied by an image of Horizon Call of the Mountain. The spin-off from Liverpool-based Firesprite Games was revealed earlier this year, and is now all but confirmed to be launching alongside PS VR2. A big win for fans looking to dip into the system on launch day.
The slide also goes over other PS VR2 features, such as 'enhanced resolution and tracking', a single cord connection to PS5 for 'ease of access', and controllers with improved ergonomics, haptics, and triggers.
6. Timeline Of Mergers, Acquisitions, and Investments
Ok, this slide isn't anything newsworthy. I just thought it was cool, and might be interesting to the hardcore PlayStation nerd out there. It highlights all of SIE's mergers, acquisitions, and investments since March 2021.
It also includes employee numbers for these studios, something which can't be easily found on the internet for some of these studios. Housemarque had 80 employees when acquired and Bluepoint had 69. These aren't massive numbers for two studios making AAA quality games, so credit must be given to the exceptionally talented developers at these studios for pumping out great games with relatively smaller workforces.
The recently acquired Haven Studios has 61 developers as of March 2022, which means it should be past the hiring phase and full swing into production by now. Firesprite's 265 employees and Bungie's 826 also pack a punch and bring a lot of potential to the PlayStation ecosystem, not necessarily with their ability to develop good games - which they obviously have - but with their ability to develop multiple games at a time, akin to what Insomniac has been doing for the past many years.
7. PlayStation Studios To Increase Investment In New IP
Many PlayStation fans are starting to become irritated by Sony's insistence on sequels and remakes of long-running franchises, and are instead itching for new IP. Well, it looks like we will get what we want: new IP and the continuation of existing ones.
PlayStation Studios is set to ramp up investment in new IP, aiming for the budget split between new IP and existing ones to be 50:50 by FY25. As of 2019, the split was 23% new and 77% existing IP. In this fiscal year (FY22), this split is set to become more balanced at 34% and 66% for new and existing IP respectively.
It must be noted that the overall budget is also set to increase, so this year's 22% of funds going to existing IP will be more than FY19's 77% of funds.
8. PlayStation To Grow Its Live Service Portfolio
Much to the fear of us who love traditional single-player games, PlayStation is set to increase investment in live service games. Currently, 88% of PlayStation's PS5 game investment goes into traditional single-player games and 12% into live service titles. But this is set to quickly change.
In FY22, PlayStation estimates 49% of its budget to go into live service titles, leaving 51% for traditional titles. By FY25, the scales are set to tip even more, with 55% going towards live service and 45% towards traditional single-player games that brought the brand so much success during the PS4 generation.
Thankfully for us though, the total funds available are also set to increase, meaning even though FY22's 51% is less than FY19's 88% split for traditional games, FY25's 41% is more than FY22's 51% due to a greater total overall budget.
In further live-service related news, the number of PlayStation live-service franchises is set to increase. In FY21, we saw one live-service game from PlayStation Studios: MLB The Show 21 (2 if you count Gran Turismo 7). In FY22, we should expect 3. There is the already released MLB The Show 22, and likely the rumoured standalone The Last of Us: Factions game, as well as a possible second-party title.
3 more are expected in FY23, 4 in FY24, and 2 in FY25. This brings a total of 12 live-service games by March 2026.
9. PlayStation To Continue Its Push Into The PC Market
Sony has seen immense rewards with its recent push into the PC market with PlayStation. Horizon Zero Dawn, which launched on PC in August 2020, has solved over 2 million copies on the platform and raked in $60 million in revenue. Days Gone has had a softer reception, selling only 835,000 copies since its launch in May 2021, but has brought in a respectable $22.7 million in revenue.
God of War has stolen the show though. It launched in January 2022 with a near-flawless PC port, holding a 93 on Metacritic for this version and selling 971,000 copies in only a couple of months. The game also topped Steam charts for a few weeks after release and has earned the company $26.2 million so far.
Led by God of War's outstanding performance on PC, Sony grossed $80 million from PC sales in FY21 and now targets $300 million for FY22. With such a high target, expect some big PlayStation titles to launch on PC this year. We already have the Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection, Returnal was leaked last week, and maybe some sort of The Last of Us package too?
10. PS4 To Be Phased Out By 2025, PC And Mobile Set To Grow
Before the PS5 launch, Sony seemed to promise a quick transition to next gen. But instead, we have received cross-gen title after cross-gen title, much to the pleasure of PS4 players. Now we know that Sony intends to phase out PS4 games by 2025 at the latest. It also plans to grow its first-party releases on PC and mobile.
In FY2019, 90% of first-party releases were on PS4, with the remaining 10% on PC. For FY22, these percentages are expected to drastically change. PS5 games are expected to make up around 35% of releases, with cross-gen (PS4+PS5) making up another 35%. PC is set to make up 20% of releases, leaving mobile with 10%.
One interesting takeaway here is that so far, God of War: Ragnarok is the only known first-party game scheduled for the remainder of 2022, launching cross-gen o PS4 and PS5. We know Sony is going to reveal more titles for this fiscal year, but now we know that at least one of them must be a PS5 exclusive title.
For FY2025, Sony expects 50% of releases to be on PS5, 30% on PC, and 20% mobile. No PS4 in sight, meaning the console is to be phased out sometime before March 2025, which is when FY2025 begins.
Horizon And God Of War TV Shows Are In Development, Gran Turismo To Reportedly Get A Movie
Here is a piece of news that's not from Sony Interactive Entertainment's segment briefings, it's from Sony Pictures Entertainment's briefing instead. Surprise, more PlayStation franchises are being adapted into TV and film!
VGC reports that Sony is working on TV show adaptations for PlayStation's Horizon, God of War, and Gran Turismo franchises. This information first surfaced through a tweet from David Gibson- a senior analyst at MST Financial.
During the presentation from Sony, it was noted that Netflix has the rights to the Horizon TV show, while Amazon has snapped up God of War. It is still unclear whether these shows will be live-action or animated, and we don't know anything about the nature of the shows' narratives or characters.
But there is a twist regarding Gran Turismo. Initially, it was stated that PlayStation's iconic racing series was getting the TV show treatment, but a report from Deadline may suggest otherwise.
The renowned film and TV outlet reports that Gran Turismo is being made into a movie, and their sources suggest the TV show rumours are not true. Deadline also notes that Neill Blomkamp is being scouted as the movie's director.
The Uncharted movie came out earlier this year. HBO is making a TV show around The Last of Us, and we know of a Twisted Metal TV show starring Anthony Mackie. A Ghost of Tsushima movie is also in the works. These three new additions bolster PlayStation's push into TV and film and are almost guaranteed successes for the company due to their series' size and audience.
Returnal Shows Up On Steam Backend, May Be Coming To PC
VGC reports that 2021's Returnal, from Finnish studio Housemarque, may be coming to PC. The game showed up on Steam's backend and was picked up by the database website SteamDB. The game shows up on SteamDC with the codename 'Oregon', but elements from the code and the game's tags point to it being Returnal.
Elements titled 'Atropos', 'In Helios', and 'Tower of Sisyphus' are direct references to Returnal, while 'Co-op', 'Daily Challenge', 'Photo Mode', and 'Current run: %PlayTime%' all point to features from the game.
Furthermore, tags next to the game such as 'Singleplayer', 'Online Co-op', 'Third-Person Shooter', 'Bullet Hell', 'Sci-fi', 'Rogue-like', and 'Female Protagonist' all perfectly line up with Returnal.
This is also yet another example of a game from the infamous Nvidia GeForce Now leak coming to fruition. Returnal was on the list, with other PlayStation games that either have come to PC or been announced, such as God of War and the Uncharted collection.
Returnal is almost certainly heading to PC. Expect an announcement soon and a release sometime this year.
Third-Party And Virtual Reality State Of Play On June 2nd
Don't expect first-party blockbusters like God of War: Ragnarok or The Last of Us: Factions though, because the blog post announcing the event clearly states 'reveals from our third-party partners' and 'a sneak peek at several games in development for PS VR2'.
Don't rule out seeing some big games, however, because titles like Final Fantasy XVI, Forspoken, and even Horizon: Call of the Mountain fit very nicely into these parameters. We may even catch glimpse of the rumoured Killzone VR game.
God Of War: Ragnarok Rated In South Korea, May Still Release This Year
|Source: GRAC Korea|
PushSquare reports that Sony Santa Monica's upcoming titled God of War: Ragnarok has been rated in South Korea, Games are typically rated a few months before their intended release, meaning Ragnarok may very well be on course for a 2022 release.
The game has been rated 'not available for youth', which translates to an '18' on the PEGI scale. The South Korean ratings board cites 'excessive profanity in conversation' and 'direct drug [alcohol] expression' as reasons for this rating.
God of War: Ragnarok has long been rumoured to be pushed to 2023, and while that is likely, this does give fans some hope that a 2022 release is still on the cards.
Other Bits And Pieces:
- We have word on two news games possibly coming to the classics catalog on PS Plus Premium: Capcom's Dino Crisis and Ben Studio's Resistance Retribution. As pointed out by Resetera user Jawmuncher, Dino Crisis is being used as the cover for the 'classics catalog' on PS Plus Premium in Asia, despite it not being included in the service. This likely means the game is set to join the service at some point in the future, possibly alongside the North American launch on June 12th once licensing agreements are signed. Gematsu reports that 'the Game Rating and Administration Committee of Korea has rated Resistance: Retribution for PS5 and PS4', hinting at the game's imminent arrival on PS Plus Premium as a part of the classics game catalog.
- A post on the official PlayStation Blog that highlights all features of the new PS Plus service note that DLC will not work on streamed PS3 games. Players will be able to purchase and play DLC for downloadable classic games on PS Plus Premium, but not for streamable PS3 games. It is a shame but hopefully, this will be fixed when PS3 games are eventually downloadable on PS5. We know PlayStation is working on it, and it's bound to happen eventually.
- IGN report that a Horizon Forbidden West artbook is being made by Dark Horse, who have previously worked on artbooks for Halo Infinite and Deathloop. The book features a 'mix of concept art and interviews with the development team at Guerrilla Games'. It launches on October 18 for the price of $49.99.
And that is all for this week's edition of Last Week In PlayStation. This is by far the longest news round-up I've written, and I would be lying if I didn't say I was running out of steam by the end. Regardless, thank you for reading and I'll be back next Monday. Bye!