Last Week In PlayStation #15 | PS5 Sales Reach 21.7 Million, PS VR2 User Experience Shown Off, And PS5 Console Exclusive Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic Remake In Development Trouble
Hello and welcome to the fifteenth edition of Last Week In PlayStation, the weekly PlayStation newsletter here on platyview.com.
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 25th July '2022 to 31st July '2022.
I didn't expect much to go down last week but unbeknownst to me, Sony was actually holding their earnings call for Q1 of this financial year. And we also got news about PS VR2 and a PlayStation console exclusive whose development may be in trouble. All of that in the last week of July, eh?
Here is what went down in the world of PlayStation last week.
Sony Financial Results For Q1 FY22
Last week, Sony announced its consolidated financial results for Q1 of the ongoing financial year (FY22). While not bursting with news like May's annual Business Segment Briefings, some interesting tidbits remain from Sony's newly published data. Here are the major ones.
1. PS5 Sales Reach 21.7 Million, 2.4 Million Units Sold This Quarter
These 2.4 million units sold in Q1 FY22 is also an increase in the number of consoles sold during the same quarter in the previous fiscal year. In Q1 FY21, the PS5 sold 2.3 million units, making it a marginal 4% increase in sales from the previous corresponding quarter.
During Sony's Business Segment Briefings in May of this year, SIE President Jim Ryan notes that the company is targeting 18 million PS5s sold by the end of the fiscal year (March 31st 2023). This leaves 9 months for the company to sell 15.6 million more PS5s. While new releases like The Last of Us Remake and God of War Ragnarok will certainly help push these numbers, PlayStation still has a tough task on its hands.
2. PS Plus Subscribers Down Slightly To 47.3 Million
|Source: PlayStation Blog|
At the start of FY22 (April 1st 2022), PlayStation Plus subscriber numbers were at 47.4 million. 3 months later - and at the end of Q1 FY22 - these numbers are down slightly to 47.3 million. This is only a marginal drop in subscribers for Sony's flagship gaming subscription service, but one that is more relevant due to the service's recent revamp.
Starting with some regions at the end of May, and only fully rolling out worldwide in the end of June, the new PS Plus service is leaps and bounds better than its predecessor. In theory, this would've meant an increase in subscriber numbers, but we should keep in mind that the service only launched midway through Q1, and many people might be waiting to see the service's true value before buying into it.
I don't think Sony should be too worried about this marginal drop in numbers, and I expect them to climb over the following months, as the service gains its foothold and begins to add new and better titles to its library.
3. Digital Games Continue To Dominate The PlayStation Market
Out of the around 302 billion yen Sony made from game software sales in Q1 FY22, just over 100 billion yen came from the sales of digital software on the PlayStation Store. Another 184 billion yen came from the sales of add-on content, also through the PlayStation Store. This means 94% of the revenue from PS4 and PS5 game sales this quarter was from digital software.
PS VR2 User Experience Outlined In PlayStation Blog Post
|Source: PlayStation Blog|
The first feature outlined is called 'see-through view'. It allows players to 'see their surroundings while wearing the headset.' This can be done by pressing 'the function button on the headset' or through 'the Card in the Control Center.' This may be useful for players to make sure they aren't straying too far from the centre of their room and towards any furniture that may be placed around. Also, you can easily reach for stuff like water, the AC remote, or your phone without having to take your headset off.
Another feature is the ability to film yourself while playing, as seen in the image above. This can be done by 'connecting a PS5 HD camera to the console.' A handy feature for streamers, and for friends to broadcast gameplay over discord chat. That is if discord ever even makes it to PlayStation.
This last feature may not seem the most glamourous, but I think it's pretty useful. Dubbed the 'customized play area', it allows players to set a boundary in their room. If the player steps or swings outside this boundary, they will get a warning alerting them to their proximity to the border. Just like the 'see-through view', this seems handy to avoid knocking stuff over while playing or tripping over the edge of the sofa.
The blog post rounds up with details about two viewing modes for the headset: VR mode and Cinematic mode:
"In VR Mode, players can enjoy VR game content in a 360 view in a virtual environment. Content will be displayed in 4000 x 2040 HDR video format (2000 x 2040 per eye) with 90Hz/120Hz frame rate. In Cinematic Mode, players can view the PS5 system and UI and all non-VR game and media content on a virtual cinema screen. Content in Cinematic Mode will be displayed in 1920×1080 HDR video format with 24/60Hz and also 120Hz frame rate."
While this is just a tiny look at the PS VR2, we can expect much more to be revealed in the following months. And even though Sony is yet to stamp a date on the console's release, making landfall in 2023 seems like a safe bet.
PS5 Console Exclusive Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic Remake In Development Trouble
|Source: Aspyr Media|
KOTOR Remake was announced in September 2021 and is being developed by Aspyr Media. PlayStation seems to have locked down a console exclusivity deal but notably doesn't seem to be funding the game. Schreier notes that 'according to people familiar with the project' the game is in 'serious trouble.' The game is reportedly 'delayed indefinitely' as the developers 'try to figure out what comes next.'
"Aspyr also abruptly fired the game’s art director and design director this month. In a series of meetings throughout July, Aspyr’s two studio heads told employees that the project is on pause and that the company will look for new contracts and development opportunities, said the people, who were not authorized to speak publicly about the situation."
Schreier notes that on June 30th, a demo of the game was shown to 'production partners Lucasfilm and Sony.' The developers were reportedly 'excited' about this demo, and 'felt like the game was on track.'
"Aspyr’s studio heads told staff that the vertical slice wasn’t where they wanted it to be and that the project would be paused, according to two people who were in the meeting. One person familiar with the discussions suggested that a disproportionate amount of time and money had gone into the demo and that the project’s current course wasn’t sustainable. Another point of contention may be the timeline. At the outset of development, Aspyr told staff and partners it would release the game by the end of 2022, according to two people familiar with production. Developers said a more realistic target now would be 2025."
Schreier concludes by noting that 'some at Aspyr believe that Saber, which has mainly been doing outsourcing work for the project, may take it over completely.'
KOTOR Remake was always an unknown product due to the fact that Aspyr Media had never worked on a game of this scale before. From what Schreier's reporting tells us, it seems that the game is good, but production issues are holding it back. Hopefully, Aspyr can get the game over the line and treat long-time fans of this historic RPG.
Other Bits And Pieces:
|Source: PlayStation Blog|
- PS Plus Essential's games for August 2021 have been revealed. The three games are turn-based RPG Yakuza: Like A Dragon on PS4/5, skating game Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 on PS4/5, and side-scrolling horror game Little Nightmares on PS4. These games will be available to download from the 2nd of August. PlayStation also announced that all the Yakuza games will be coming to PS Plus Extra by the end of the year, starting with Yakuza 0, Kiwami, and Kiwami 2 this month.
- PS5 got a system software beta last week. Beta features are only available to a limited number of players, and based on tester feedback, will make their way into the final update. These features include 1440p video output, game lists that can be made in your game library, and a small number of UI and social feature tweaks. Sadly, these game lists will only show in your game library and not on the home screen, meaning they don't exactly act like the folders that were available on PS4.
- PlayStation remote play has long been available on mobile and other devices. PushSquare reports that now we finally have an official PlayStation licensed mobile grip/controller. Called the Backbone One, it features a white finish similar to the PS5 DualSense controller, but weirdly features offset sticks similar to Xbox and Nintendo. While this is still a far cry from a new PlayStation handheld, it does show Sony is willing to - even in this small and insignificant capacity - turns its head towards cool and unique accessories for gamers to enjoy.
And that is all for this week's edition of Last Week In PlayStation. Thank you all for reading, and I'll see you next Monday. Bye!