The future of video games could be based entirely on live service games. And while that future is far ahead, we are seeing big publisher preparing for it. Ubisoft, Blizzard, Activision, EA, and others have introduced live service games or added live service elements to their existing IPs. Sony, on the other hand, is one of the publishers who is known for creating great single player experiences.
However, that may not be the case for long as Sony is looking to develop live service games. Once there is a structure and plan in place the company will create live service games alongside story-driven, narrative-heavy titles. Speaking in a recent interview, Sony exec Shawn Layden stated that working on live service games isn’t a cop out move. This is true, especially, in the case of Sony who is known to develop highly successful single player games The Last of Us, Spiderman PS4, God of War, and Horizon Zero Dawn just to name a few.
When asked if there is a need to create Worldwide Studio for single player games, Layden said:
I think we have to do both. That’s not a cop-out. I think we have set the high-water mark for being the best in long-form narrative gaming. We have some of the best storytellers in the business working on Worldwide Studios projects, whether that’s Sucker Punch or the team at Bend working on Days Gone, and of course Naughty Dog and Santa Monica Studios. I think that’s a super strength of ours. I was very happy to see that three of the five of the game of the year nominees are Worldwide Studios games.
EA recently blamed single player games for its stocks going down but in reality, completely opposite is true. Too much focus on live services and microtransactions is what ruined. Something similar happened two years ago when EA released Star Wars Battlefront 2 with aggressive and shady microtransactions.
Single player games, if done right, can prove to be commercially successful for a publisher. Sony is one of the few companies that understand the single player business. But market demand compels publishers to diversify their games development. However, hopefully, this won’t mean less focus on quality narrative-driven games from Sony.