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Bloomberg - "Sony’s Obsession With Blockbusters Is Stirring Unrest"


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1 hour ago, Vemsie said:

It's why Returnal is an interesting one. It's a new IP - the first AAA roguelite to my knowledge - it has an unconventional protagonist, is very mechanics driven and it has a non-linear narrative that doesn't interrupt gameplay. It's third-person, sure, but it's different and it even has those P.T. style first-person house sequences. I know more about the narrative and it's deliciously weird.

 

Of course Sony's pricing strategy could bite Housemarque in the ass, but I'm glad they funded it at least.

In what way is Returnal AAA? I'm not saying you are wrong - I don't know - but Housemarque would most-likely be classed as mid-tier at best (and most would just call them "indie"), no?

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1 minute ago, Unofficial Who said:

What I don't get if the rumour is true....why remake The Last of Us? The PS4 remaster is perfectly fine. Much better to do a remake of Ico, the only one of the three Japan Studios games of that series not playable on modern hardware.

Well, I'd say the article frames it as a pitch that came from the team within VASG, rather than a top-down one. It doesn't go into too much detail, though, so I'm not sure if they were targeting one of Sony's biggest IPs just to try and make a name for themselves or if they felt something 'smaller' would be shot down.

 

I definitely don't think a remake is needed but I can kind of see the business case you could make for one, especially as work's already been done. We're unlikely to see a third game in the series for a very long time, they have a bunch of tech and assets that could be reused, a lot of people familiar with creating said assets, plus the upcoming HBO series could potentially bring in a new audience. If it sees the light of day I'm sure the remake will make money, and it's a pretty 'safe' project for more junior staff members to take on new responsibilities.

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2 hours ago, Ferine said:

I think this is a poor article. The headline doesn't match the actual events detailed within and the entire thing feels like it was ghost written by Michael Mumbauer as an airing of grievances.

Schreier's articles usually feel like one-sided airing of grievances without a broader perspective. He's a level above most gaming "journalism" simply because he has sources that can provide some insight, rather than PR puff pieces or simplistic opinion pieces, but I'd still give it some healthy scepticism rather than taking it at face value.

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It seems Sony is trying too hard to build their own MCU with their franchises, as well as trying to become the HBO of videogames but that quality level is hard to keep up over time. Not every  game they make from now on should have to become a movie or TV series.
 

I personally don’t think this focus is the right one and the recent talent exodus and developments at Japan Studio isn’t a reassuring sign of things to come.

 

What they achieved the last decade is amazing but the question is how much of that was down to luck and how much it is easily repeatable this generation. They might get complacent. 
 

I believe 2020 - 2030 is going to be extremely disruptive for the entire gaming industry and some giants might fall.

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I’m not sure it’s as homogeneous as some suggest, but there has definitely been a narrowing of Sony’s focus, and that’s disappointing when Xbox’s range is broadening.
 

I also think it’s a bit of a gamble; I can’t see there being a dramatic, immediate shift but if Game Pass continues to offer high profile third party stuff on or soon after release and Microsoft eventually gets 10 games per year out of what is now a pretty enviable list of Xbox studios (in addition to funding third party stuff), Sony might come to regret not giving people as many reasons to stick with PlayStation as they have done in the past.

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24 minutes ago, Halo said:

Schreier's articles usually feel like one-sided airing of grievances without a broader perspective. He's a level above most gaming "journalism" simply because he has sources that can provide some insight, rather than PR puff pieces or simplistic opinion pieces, but I'd still give it some healthy scepticism rather than taking it at face value.

I don't know that's fair, although I haven't read much of his Bloomberg work.

 

Perhaps part of it is that I think one-sided reports from workers on labour conditions feels a lot more worthy, as whilst higher ups might have a different perspective it doesn't negate the experiences of their employees. At worst that raises the topic for discussion and interrogation, both within the affected studio and more broadly.

 

In this case, however, there doesn't appear to be any allegations of abuse, some workers are just annoyed/disheartened that their projects got cancelled or haven't turned out how they envisioned. I imagine many here who don't work in games can empathise with the frustration, but it's also just part of not being your own boss. Whether you agree with them or not, making such decisions is literally someone's job. (Personally I think the world would be better with fewer managers, but that's another topic.)

 

I suppose I just don't really see what service this article provides, which does make it easier to view in a more cynical, clickbait light. Even if it wasn't the intent to rile notoriously tilt-happy gamers, it feels like that was the effect.

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5 minutes ago, Ferine said:

I suppose I just don't really see what service this article provides, which does make it easier to view in a more cynical, clickbait light. Even if it wasn't the intent to rile notoriously tilt-happy gamers, it feels like that was the effect.

You just have to observe Sony’s actions, this article just provides some more information examples from what’s going on. It’s not about this one project. It’s about the obsessive focus that every studio/game has to produce AAA blockbusters targeted at western audiences. 

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1 hour ago, MNFRMTMRRW said:

You just have to observe Sony’s actions, this article just provides some more information examples from what’s going on. It’s not about this one project. It’s about the obsessive focus that every studio/game has to produce AAA blockbusters targeted at western audiences. 

That's the thing, I am observing Sony's actions.

 

Here are the last ten games published by SIE:

  • MLB: The Show '20
  • Predator: Hunting Grounds
  • The Last of Us Part II
  • Marvel's Iron Man VR
  • Ghost of Tsushima
  • Demon's Souls
  • Sackboy: A Big Adventure
  • Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales
  • Destruction AllStars
  • The Nioh Collection

(I skipped Astro's Playroom as it's a pack-in, plus I can already hear someone saying "demo" or whatever.)

 

People fixate on things like God of War or TLoU, but Sony fund and publish a bunch of games of varying scopes. I don't see how you can look at things like Death Stranding, Dreams, Concrete Genie, and Erica and come away with the conclusion that they're only interested in the biggest of the big budget. It simply isn't borne out by the evidence.

 

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57 minutes ago, teddymeow said:

At the end of the day, do Sony care if they are raking in the big £¥€$?

No, no large corporation does. If what they do makes money they'll keep doing it. They like to look cuddly sometimes, so you get a Phil Spencer type character wheeled out but they don't care about gamers only about their wallets. Obviously they want to keep you spending on their product (I won't use the phrase they want to keep you happy because again they don't care) so they might do some consumer-friendly stuff but it isn't about caring about the customer.

 

If a company has a diverse portfolio then they have decided that diversity will bring them more bucks or bucks from a wider circle (and they have the resoruces to produce that). If they have a narrow focus then they have decided that focus will make them the most money given the talent and resources they have available. if a company decides to hike games to $70 it's because they think it will make them more money overall - if they stick to $60 it is not because they are consumer-friendly it is because they think they might sell more units and appear consumer-friendly. Same goes for "micro-transactions".

 

At the very top end of big budget corporations like SOny, MS, Nintendo,EA,Activision etc. if you aren't making them money you will be cut loose go and ask Bizarre Creations, LionHead, PSygnosis, Japan Studio, Sony Online Entertainment,Evolution Studios and more.

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7 hours ago, Uncle Mike said:

 

Since the launch of PS5, we've had Sony exclusives in the shape of Miles Morales (which you would presumably include in the cinematic blockbuster group) and then Demon's Souls, Sackboy and Astrobot. The next big ones are Returnal and Ratchet & Clank. Obvs Returnal is more 3rd person than previous Housemarque games, but I'm not sure that's the same equation.


The quality and variety of these launch titles, the inclusion of Astrobot, the innovation of the DualSense and the announcement of PSVR2 gives me plenty faith in PlayStation. I think blockbusters are a massive part of their strategy but only one part of it.

 

I’m more than happy with PS4 BC, the upgrades to God of War, Ghost of Tsushima, Days Gone and Ratchet & Clank show me that Sony do care about this. It just so happens that MS are knocking it out of the park in this area but then again they really needed to.

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1 hour ago, teddymeow said:

At the end of the day, do Sony care if they are raking in the big £¥€$?

And making great games at the same time, don’t forget. 

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So people are upset with Sony producing games like TLOU, Spiderman, God of War, Astrobot, The Last Guardian and Horizon? Despite practically every other game you’d want to play being multi platform?


Who are these people, and where can I get hold of whatever they’re smoking?

 

 

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2 minutes ago, womblingfree said:

So people are upset with Sony producing games like TLOU, Spiderman, God of War, Astrobot, The Last Guardian and Horizon?

 

 

 

I don't think anyone is upset.

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It's worth remembering that stuff like Ghost , Days Gone , Astro etc were greenlit years ago under the old management. Since Shawn Layden went Japan studio has folded, the senior management at Bend left because they didn't want to become a support studio, Kojipro is apparently being courted by MS as Sony don't appear to be interested in funding his next project (though you could understand that somewhat with how divisive Death Stranding turned out). I think Sony have been on top form the last 5 years and it was great to see smaller titles that weren't destined to be million sellers still bring supported. With a money man like Jim in control I'll bet he won't be greenlighting Returnal 2 unless it does big business, which we all know it won't. 

 

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The reason I bought a Ps5 is for the handful of big cinematic blockbusters it will see in its lifespan. 

 

They will come again because its worked in the past. 

 

My console is never used anymore because I own a SX with gamepass but I know it will be worth it in the end. 

 

Right now though.... Its my least favourite day one console I have ever owned. But only because I'm lucky enough to have the two big ones. If they don't up the ante and announce dates for big hitters like GoW and Horizon then I might just consider letting someone else have some fun out of it. 

 

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24 minutes ago, Down by Law said:

With a money man like Jim in control I'll bet he won't be greenlighting Returnal 2 unless it does big business, which we all know it won't

And that ties into a huge advantage of Game Pass that I didn't foresee beforehand - in fact, I was very sceptical of the mere idea of such a service for games. But if Returnal was a Game Pass title and turned out to be critical success, it would get a sequel. Doing "big business" doesn't factor into it nearly as much - when a game has a fan base and critical praise, that's the kind of title Microsoft wants alongside any blockbusters to bolster the service and keep sub numbers up. (Hence them buying up very specific studios: Double Fine, Obsidian, inXile Ninja Theory - and the likes of Arkane and MachineGames came along with Bethesda). With current Sony PlayStation under Ryan and its newfound USA-centric approach, it's far less certain and the onus would be on sales numbers first and foremost.

 

Jim Ryan comes across as a total asshat, to me he's the Don Mattrick of PlayStation. The BC comments were dumb beyond belief and sadly also very much in line with the kind of attitude that leads to the worries expressed in Schreier piece. 

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6 hours ago, Gabe said:

In what way is Returnal AAA? I'm not saying you are wrong - I don't know - but Housemarque would most-likely be classed as mid-tier at best (and most would just call them "indie"), no?

 

Their old games, sure. But this is fully 3D, with detailed cinematics, P T. style first-person sequences, the composer of Midsommar, etc. It's not The Last of Us 2, but not Resogun or Hades either. Actually, it has quite a bit in common with Hades, like the way it weaves a roguelite concept into its narrative, but with a much bigger budget.

 

https://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2018-12-20-housemarque-goes-aaa

 

They're already recruiting for a new game btw. Not sure if it's funded by Sony again, but I wouldn't be surprised if it is.

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8 hours ago, Down by Law said:

It's worth remembering that stuff like Ghost , Days Gone , Astro etc were greenlit years ago under the old management. Since Shawn Layden went Japan studio has folded, the senior management at Bend left because they didn't want to become a support studio, Kojipro is apparently being courted by MS as Sony don't appear to be interested in funding his next project (though you could understand that somewhat with how divisive Death Stranding turned out). I think Sony have been on top form the last 5 years and it was great to see smaller titles that weren't destined to be million sellers still bring supported. With a money man like Jim in control I'll bet he won't be greenlighting Returnal 2 unless it does big business, which we all know it won't. 

 

 

And I think this is a mistake. I think it's going to work well for the audience who will buy maybe a dozen games across the cycle of a console in terms of ROI but they're going to lose a whole other segment to MS and Nintendo. Reading your post suddenly explains to me why Hades isn't on the PS4.

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12 hours ago, Ferine said:

That's the thing, I am observing Sony's actions.

 

Here are the last ten games published by SIE:

  • MLB: The Show '20
  • Predator: Hunting Grounds
  • The Last of Us Part II
  • Marvel's Iron Man VR
  • Ghost of Tsushima
  • Demon's Souls
  • Sackboy: A Big Adventure
  • Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales
  • Destruction AllStars
  • The Nioh Collection

(I skipped Astro's Playroom as it's a pack-in, plus I can already hear someone saying "demo" or whatever.)

 

People fixate on things like God of War or TLoU, but Sony fund and publish a bunch of games of varying scopes. I don't see how you can look at things like Death Stranding, Dreams, Concrete Genie, and Erica and come away with the conclusion that they're only interested in the biggest of the big budget. It simply isn't borne out by the evidence.

 


I don’t think any of these games were green lit since Jim Ryan took control of Playstation, or Shu Yoshida got sidelined and replaced with Hulst, which I think is why people are concerned by the rumblings of Sony being only interested in blockbusters, and the closure of Japan Studio.
 

If you look at Sony’s announced exclusives on PS5, all of the smaller stuff is third party. 
 

I think people have also pointed to Returnal, saying it’s not a blockbuster. I don’t think it is either, but I think by virtue of it being £70, it’s certainly being pitched as such. I don’t think Ratchet and Clank is really a blockbuster, either, but Sony seems to be cultivating the idea that all of its first party output going forward is blockbuster, worth £70, stuff. 
 

It’ll be interesting to see what Pixelopus (Concrete Genie) do next. 

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4 minutes ago, HarryBizzle said:

I think people have also pointed to Returnal, saying it’s not a blockbuster. I don’t think it is either, but I think by virtue of it being £70, it’s certainly being pitched as such. I don’t think Ratchet and Clank is really a blockbuster, either, but Sony seems to be cultivating the idea that all of its first party output going forward is blockbuster, worth £70, stuff. 

Well put. 

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1 hour ago, HarryBizzle said:


I don’t think any of these games were green lit since Jim Ryan took control of Playstation, or Shu Yoshida got sidelined and replaced with Hulst, which I think is why people are concerned by the rumblings of Sony being only interested in blockbusters, and the closure of Japan Studio.
 

If you look at Sony’s announced exclusives on PS5, all of the smaller stuff is third party. 
 

I think people have also pointed to Returnal, saying it’s not a blockbuster. I don’t think it is either, but I think by virtue of it being £70, it’s certainly being pitched as such. I don’t think Ratchet and Clank is really a blockbuster, either, but Sony seems to be cultivating the idea that all of its first party output going forward is blockbuster, worth £70, stuff. 

 

Yeah, this thread and the news that FF7 Remake is most likely coming to the XBox prompted my partner and I to talk about which console to get next.

 

Given that the point of difference between the last X-Box and the PS4 was more interesting indie titles on the PS4 and given that I'm paying for GamePass anyway (even just for PC it's amazing value) we've now switched our decision to buying the Series X. It's clear that the PS5 won't be hosting the next Soundshapes, Hohokum or The Last Guardian. My partner's favourite games on the PS4 over the past three years have been Diablo 3, Dragon Age Inquisition and FF7 Remake.

 

I'm sure Sony will do OK without us. And I'm sure we'll be just as happy with the amount of games on gamepass to the point of not feeling left out in regards to Horizon or Spiderman.

 

 

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7 minutes ago, Unofficial Who said:

 

Yeah, this thread and the news that FF7 Remake is most likely coming to the XBox prompted my partner and I to talk about which console to get next.

 

Given that the point of difference between the last X-Box and the PS4 was more interesting indie titles on the PS4 and given that I'm paying for GamePass anyway (even just for PC it's amazing value) we've now switched our decision to buying the Series X. It's clear that the PS5 won't be hosting the next Soundshapes, Hohokum or The Last Guardian. My partner's favourite games on the PS4 over the past three years have been Diablo 3, Dragon Age Inquisition and FF7 Remake.

 

I'm sure Sony will do OK without us. And I'm sure we'll be just as happy with the amount of games on gamepass to the point of not feeling left out in regards to Horizon or Spiderman.

 

 

 

I don't think you're gonna see anything like Soundshapes, Hohokum or The Last Guardian on the Xbox either. MS are equally conservative.

 

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13 minutes ago, joemul said:

Wouldn’t you say the main difference between the two last gen was Sony’s tremendous AAA or AA exclusives?

 

There was a broad array of titles across the AAA and indie space, it seems the more small scale arty games are being squeezed out.

 

8 minutes ago, El Spatula said:

 

I don't think you're gonna see anything like Soundshapes, Hohokum or The Last Guardian on the Xbox either. MS are equally conservative.

 

 

There's a pretty broad range of indie titles currently on gamepass. I tried Genesis Noir last week that was too leftfield even for me but I've had a great time playing indies on gamepass over the past six months, Children of Morta being a highlight.

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MS are cultivating a platform where these left-field indie games are easily accessible at a cheap price via Gamepass. Sony aren't. Microsoft may not be publishing them but they are actively pushing them and giving them much more visibility.

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I'm unfortunately not one of the GamePass is amazing crew. I have it and subscribe to it but can count on no fingers how many games I've played to completion. It feels like playing games in the Spectrum days. 

 

I can't help but feel it's gonna Netflix games were everything becomes incredibly average. If nobody is going to play your games to completion and just give it a go and move on then why bother putting effort in.

 

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7 minutes ago, El Spatula said:

I can't help but feel it's gonna Netflix games were everything becomes incredibly average. If nobody is going to play your games to completion and just give it a go and move on then why bother putting effort in.

 


This really is quite the take. 

 

The vast majority of people don’t finish games, anyway.

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15 hours ago, Ferine said:

That's the thing, I am observing Sony's actions.

 

Here are the last ten games published by SIE:

  • MLB: The Show '20
  • Predator: Hunting Grounds
  • The Last of Us Part II
  • Marvel's Iron Man VR
  • Ghost of Tsushima
  • Demon's Souls
  • Sackboy: A Big Adventure
  • Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales
  • Destruction AllStars
  • The Nioh Collection

(I skipped Astro's Playroom as it's a pack-in, plus I can already hear someone saying "demo" or whatever.)

 

People fixate on things like God of War or TLoU, but Sony fund and publish a bunch of games of varying scopes. I don't see how you can look at things like Death Stranding, Dreams, Concrete Genie, and Erica and come away with the conclusion that they're only interested in the biggest of the big budget. It simply isn't borne out by the evidence.

 

In fairness to the article at the start of the thread it does focus on Sony developed stuff and if you cut that list down to what they developed internally then it's:

 

-MLB

-TLOU 2

-Ghosts

-Miles Morales

 

That list fits in more with the whole idea of them focusing on blockbusters internally. There's quotes out there from Shawn Layden a few years back saying Sony should focus more on fewer and bigger games so this isn't an entirely Jim Ryan led development. 

 

It is a strategy that does make a certain amount of sense as Sony are arguably the best in the business at making those big showy blockbuster games. Focusing their internal resources on getting even better at doing that while filling out the gaps in their lineup by funding external studios to make stuff like Sackboy and getting the likes of Bugsnax exclusively probably isn't going to make things worse for their customers. It just means that people who might have wanted to work for Sony so they could make the next Sound Shapes will probably try to work somewhere else. 

 

 

It feels a bit like the article is getting more of a backlash in some places, not on here, because it's quietly shot down the idea that Sony were building up another mega team internally to counter MS opening up The Initiative. Fanboys don't like getting their bubbles popped. 

 

 

 

 

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