Sony’s focus on live service games has raised concerns among insiders about the company’s future vision. With 60% of their spending going into live service games and the development of niche hardware like PSVR 2 and PlayStation Portal, some insiders question the shift away from Sony’s strength in acclaimed single-player games. Many of Sony’s big-budget studios, including Naughty Dog, Insomniac, and Guerrilla, are currently working on multiplayer live service games. However, there is skepticism about their ability to successfully transition from single-player to live service games, with examples like BioWare’s failed attempt with Anthem and Crystal Dynamics’ disappointment with Marvel’s Avengers. The dominance of long-standing multiplayer games like Call of Duty and Fortnite, as well as the lackluster performance of failed titles, raises doubts about the sustainability of the live service model. Overall, there is uncertainty about the success of Sony’s live service plans.
The concern surrounding Sony’s shift towards live service games stems from doubts about the studios’ ability to transition from creating successful single-player games to compelling live service offerings. Past examples show that when studios deviate from their strengths to focus on live service games, it often results in failure. Studios like BioWare, Crystal Dynamics, and Gearbox all attempted to pivot to live service games with Anthem, Marvel’s Avengers, and Battleborn, respectively, only to return to their original successful franchises. Even if Sony’s upcoming live service games remain within the worlds of their existing single-player games, there is no guarantee of quality or positive reception. The most popular multiplayer games have a longstanding history in the genre or have emerged unexpectedly, making it risky for single-player studios to jump into live service games.
Sony’s investment in live service games seems to divert resources from what could potentially be successful single-player projects. This shift raises concerns that the live service trend may be a bubble about to burst or has already burst based on the failure of previous titles. The outlook for Sony’s live service plans does not appear promising, and there is a shared skepticism among industry insiders. While Sony’s strength lies in their acclaimed single-player games, the move towards live service games may not yield the same level of success.