Jim Ryan, PlayStation's Boss, has confirmed that first-party exclusive games will not make their way onto Sony's new PlayStation Plus overhaul. In one foul swoop, this takes the potential of PlayStation Plus and buries it deep below the services available on Microsoft's Xbox Game Pass. It seems like a pretty bizarre move, so let's take a look at what he said.
So, let's take it back a moment. Sony revealed the company's brand new PlayStation Plus variation earlier this week, showing off three different subscription tiers that will be available at launch. In their official statement, Sony even explained that they were basically just pulling PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now together.
This sounds a lot like Xbox Game Pass, doesn't it? Well, yes, except for one big draw-back: you won't be playing God of War: Ragnarok on PlayStation Plus at launch. Well, you won't be seeing first-party exclusive games on the platform at launch. The new tiers, Essential, Extra, and Premium may all offer different benefits, but not this particular one, that's for sure!
PS Plus Won't Have First-Party Exclusives at Launch
Whilst doing an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Jim Ryan made it clear that first-party exclusives would not be a sustainable thing to include with PlayStation Plus. We might have been surprised, but to be honest, it was more with his candour than with the substance of his announcement.
[When] putting our own games into this service, or any of our services, upon their release... this is not a road that we've gone down in the past. And it's not a road that we're going to go down with this new service. We feel if we were to do that with the games that we make at PlayStation Studios, that virtuous cycle will be broken. The level of investment that we need to make in our studios would not be possible, and we think the knock-on effect on the quality of the games that we make would not be something that gamers want.
Let's be real, PlayStation is full of fantastic first-party games that require an enormous amount of money and investment to make. Xbox Game Pass operates at a loss, but seeing as the games that Xbox does not rely on those big first-party games, it can make sense for them whilst not making sense for other companies like PlayStation.
With PlayStation looking to make more than ten live-service games in the next half-decade, we can imagine that these will form the centre-stone for this new PlayStation Plus era. You see, a Netflix-style subscription model is great for games - this announcement will deliver something similar - and yes, it's not as value-for-money as Xbox Game Pass, but does it have to be?
Look, you'll have to listen to The EarlyGame Podcast to find out my opinion on that question, but I'll give you a little spoiler: not really, it doesn't really have to be. Does this announcement take home the bacon? Well maybe, maybe not. It's still pretty fresh, to be honest, so let's give it some time before we make that kind of a judgement. Anyway, cheerio.