During the Electronics Investor Relations Day 2015, Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Andrew House talked about first party and third party games on PS4.
First of all, House mentioned that Sony is working “very hard” to strongly support third party publishers and developers, and he explained that this is particularly important because the first party game line-up is “a little sparse” this year. According to House “this places even greater emphasis on getting good third party support,” and Sony has an advantage in that because of the market share and momentum of the PS4.
House mentioned that exclusives are a key differentiator for the platform and critical to the fiscal year 2015 strategy, and mentioned as an example the “very highly anticipated release of Uncharted 4.” This is very interesting, as Uncharted 4 has been announced for a Spring 2016 release, but if Sony considers it part of the fiscal year 2015 strategy, it means it could be released before March 31st, 2016 (which marks the end of the current fiscal year).
Additionally, House was asked how confident he feels about third parties producing exclusive content for PlayStation 4.
While he mentioned that he was obviously going to be “constrained” in his answer, because of competitive issues and since he can’t say much about other companies’ publishing strategies, he mentioned that the strategy in this area is three-fold.
First of all, rather than seeking complete exclusives Sony has encouraged third parties to maximise the feature set of the PS4 versus the competition, like share, share play and so forth.
Then he mentioned that Sony is “not without” partnerships in the area of third party titles which are not necessarily around full excusivity, bringing Destiny as an example, for which PS4 is the best place to play the game and in some cases the first place to play some of its content.
Thirdly, the third part of the strategy are full exclusives, even if House admitted that, in the current publishing landscape, those are “few and far between.” He brought Street Fighter V as an example (obviously meaning among consoles, since the game will be released on PC as well). That said, House clarified that “given publishing dynamics and development costs, those are increasingly difficult to secure.”
Interestingly, House also mentioned that 2015 is the “beginning of a harvest period for the PlayStation 4 platform” (financially), but Sony is investing for the future, and 2015 “will also be a year of investment.”