PlayStation’s future looks bleak if Sony doesn’t change its game plan

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OPINION: PlayStation has been the undisputed rex of games console in contempo years, as long as we’re counting success solely by hardware sales.

Website VGChartz claims the PS4 has sold 115,787,816 units worldwide as of Baronial 2022, while the Xbox One failed to fifty-fifty transport half of that tally, with a effigy of 50,189,746.

The same website claims the PS5 has the border over the Xbox Series X / Series S consoles in terms of sales too, with the former shipping 15,276,712 worldwide and so far, and the latter reaching 9,838,177. Of course, the ongoing GPU shortage will no dubiousness murky the water for these figures, but it’s nonetheless clear to run into that the PlayStation brand is as strong as ever.

Success has been largely credited to PlayStation’s popularity in Japan, every bit well as the stiff line-up of exclusives in the concluding decade or and then, with the likes of The Last of The states, God of State of war and Marvel’s Spider-Human being seeing universal praise.

But questions are starting to sally whether PlayStation can keep this successful record going, especially with Microsoft starting to flex its financial muscle. Past acquiring both ZeniMax Media and Activision Blizzard (reportedly costing $seven.5 billion and $70 billion respectively) Microsoft has immediately addressed the Xbox brand’due south nigh glaring flaw: the lack of exclusives.

Just a couple of years ago, the only major Xbox IPs included Halo, Gears, Forza, Minecraft and Fable. At present, depending on whether the Activision Blizzard conquering is completed, Xbox Game Studios volition be able to add the likes of Phone call of Duty, World of Warcraft, The Elderberry Scrolls, Fallout, Crash Bandicoot, Diablo, Overwatch and plenty more to its roster – it’s been able to turn its greatest flaw into its biggest strength in just a couple of years.

That’s not to say PlayStation’southward own portfolio isn’t strong. The likes of Naughty Domestic dog and Insomniac boast an astonishingly proficient record in recent years, while Santa Monica Studio and Guerrilla Games have too seen major success stories. Simply as impressive as these studios have been in recent years, it would exist unfair to await them to compete with the wealth of franchises that Microsoft could soon own.

Call of Duty Vanguard

The Call of Duty series solitary is an absolute juggernaut. According to VentureBeat, Telephone call of Duty: Vanguard was the highest selling game of 2022 on PlayStation consoles in the United states of america. Fifty-fifty more surprisingly, Phone call of Duty: Black Ops: Common cold State of war took up the third spot despite launching the year before. Information technology’s also worth pointing out that Call of Duty: Modernistic Warfare (2019) managed to squeeze into the rankings with a modest 16th place in the sales.

How did Sony’s exclusives fare in comparing? Marvel’s Spider-Human being: Miles Morales impressed by securing the 4th spot, simply the likes of Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart and Ghost of Tsushima were simply able to secure the 11th and 8th positions respectively. PlayStation’s first-party games are certainly pop, but nowhere to the same extent as Call of Duty.

In that location’s no question near it, Call of Duty would be a massive loss for PlayStation if Microsoft did decide to make the franchise an Xbox exclusive. Bloomberg has even suggested that PlayStation took a $20 billion hit to its value following the news of Microsoft’southward Activision Blizzard acquisition.

PlayStation’s console sales may all the same exist very good for you right now, but I’m sure at that place will exist a big swing in Microsoft’south favour one time the likes of The Elder Scrolls, Call of Duty, Doom, Overwatch and more than starting time turning up on Xbox consoles every bit exclusives. PlayStation’southward time at the top could well exist coming to an end.

The next move for PlayStation?

And then what can PlayStation exercise in response? I’ve seen many people suggest that Sony should hit dorsum with its ain acquisitions, but information technology simply doesn’t have the same financial forcefulness as Microsoft to make an conquering on the same scale as Activision Blizzard.

I could personally see Sony acquiring a studio such as FromSoftware, especially given they’ve previously worked together for games such as Demon’south Souls and Bloodborne, but the Souls series is still relatively niche when compared to the likes of Call of Duty.

There’south too talk that Sony could soon better PS Now in gild for it to compete with Xbox Game Pass, but I reckon it’s besides piddling, too late. Sony invests and so much money into its beginning-party games that I really doubt it will brand the likes of Horizon Forbidden West and God of War Ragnarok available through the service on the kickoff day of launch, sacrificing all of those sales in favour of more subscribers.


Plus, I don’t meet why many people would e’er subscribe to PS At present over Game Pass when the latter now boasts so many loftier-profile franchises. Sony tin can no longer rely on having a greater output of get-go-party games than Microsoft, so it needs to wait for a new forcefulness.

Rather ironically, Sony is probably best looking at Nintendo for inspiration – the same company that had to deal with similar circumstances when PlayStation muscled its manner onto the games console industry back in 1994.

Nintendo hasn’t been able to compete financially with PlayStation and Xbox in the last two decades, which has meant its hardware has ofttimes lagged behind in terms of specs. And nonetheless, Nintendo has notwithstanding been able to remain competitive by building upon their most pop game franchises (such equally Mario, Zelda and Pokémon), while too thinking exterior the box by launching innovative hardware such as the Nintendo DS, Nintendo Wii and Nintendo Switch.

Nintendo Switch

For all of the fiscal might of Microsoft, the Xbox 360 is its but gaming console that has been able to crack the tiptop ten listing of the all-time all-time selling consoles (according to IGN). In comparing, Nintendo has iv video game consoles that brand the top ten, which is an incredible achievement. More than coin doesn’t necessarily make yous a stronger brand.

So right now, yes, PlayStation’south future looks pretty dour if it continues with the same strategy to take on Xbox. But it’s far from over for Sony, equally it can still use innovation to make upwardly for Microsoft’due south fiscal advantage. The DualSense controller is a peachy example of innovative design, while the upcoming PSVR 2 headset also looks to accept a lot of promise. Sony needs to continue in this vein if it hopes to stay relevant in the gaming sphere for the long-term future, otherwise information technology could end up following the same path as Sega instead of Nintendo.

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