Sony Boss: Our Studios are Devoted to Story Driven Games, Never Games as a Service

In the opening segments for this year’s PlayStation Experience, SIEA President and CEO Shawn Layden shot down the notion that Sony would pursue games as a service, in light of the ongoing micro-transaction and lootbox debacle.

Layden said that Sony’s internal game studios have a lot of “devotion and love” for storytelling and the like, what most people associate with “single player games.” He noted that Sony tends to put out that kind of game, as its “the thing they do well.”

When further pressed on the matter, Layden said that he would never go to one of his teams and say “I read in a magazine there is something called Games as a Service, make me one of those.”

Guerrilla Games Managing Director Hermen Hulst was on the panel as well, noting that Horizon Zero Dawn is their most selling game, and it’s the first single-player only game they’ve made in a long time (Editor’s Note: They made Killzone games for awhile, which always have multiplayer).

In related news, Sony’s next big single-player game, God of War, is roughly 25-30 hours long. It’s launching sometime early next year.

Brandon Orselli

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Big Papa Overlord at Niche Gamer. Italian. Dad. Outlaw fighting for a better game industry. I also write about music, food, & beer. Also an IT guy.

  • Gigaknight

    Never “games as a service”, is that right?

    So Playstation Plus’s forcing paid online multiplayer doesn’t count?

  • Justin Williams

    They will do whatever their execs think will bring in the most $$ regardless of ethics. If they are publicly recommitting to story driven experiences that is because fans are irate about some studios indifference to story driven games and Sony fears a backlash.

  • No_Good_Names_Ever

    Sounds great but no one should ever trust Sonys word. Probably were about to do it themselves like with the always online debacle.

  • Mr0303

    Call me a cynic, but I think quite a few publishers are just trying to capitalise on the current backlash against EA, including Bethesda and Sony. They are essentially throwing EA under the bus to gain PR points. Given that The Last of Us and Uncharted had multiplayer components that were monetised it remains to be seen how hard is Sony’s stance on MTs. At least they are not lying when saying that the first party focus is mainly on single player games.

  • BFG

    There is a reason why japanese games are the sole things that make the current Playstation systems truly their worth

  • Forky

    Or Playstation Now’s subscription for a semblance of backwards compatibility?

  • Gigaknight

    What a contemptible travesty. I’d mentally written off Sony’s online “service” offerings so thoroughly, I completely forgot about that.

  • iswear12

    >they still find a way to shill for Horizon Zero Down-Syndrome

  • RichardGristle

    This is exactly what all the other major companies are doing, even though they’re ALL guilty of doing the same kind of things as EA. They’re full of shit.

  • Mr0303

    That is not a strategy applied by all other major publishers. Some like Activision and Take Two actually defend these practices.

  • Neojames82

    Sadly though the Japanese are already thinking of doing this as well. I mean look at their mobile games for one and two, Square Enix is already talking about making their games into a “service”. If it makes money and gamers are stupid enough to buy into it, other companies will follow, simple as that.

  • G. H.

    How about games that are driven by Play since they are, you know, games not movies.

  • Heresy Hammer

    Yet they allow games like that on their platform. lmao

  • Dr. Roswell. W

    Sony is like a bunch of wizards.

    No sense of right and wrong and all too quick to go, “THAT’S NOT ME.” https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c49d54e12d06809ee8e933aa070968288c50a608f7a445213c667af071301254.jpg

  • Audie Bakerson

    Devoted to story driven games, just not gameplay.

    RIP Ape Escape.

  • 2501

    Sony: Games are not a service… but you gotta pay for that online dawg.

  • Feniks

    I think we’ll see a decline in big budget single player games. But you can still make good games with a smaller budget. P5 and Nier Automata prove that.

  • Feniks

    They defend it because gamers WANT GaaS.

    Videogames is a business. People can bitch all they want but take ONE look at the games that make the money. Hint: its not Ys 8 ;)

  • “Our Studios are Devoted to Social Justice Driven Games, Never Games for Gamers.”

    Fixed it for Sony.

  • BFG

    Well that’s a different issue, which I cant deny however. DLCs, season passes, microtransactions (on freenium games). Japanese PSN also started to push this whole “deluxe edition” on digital PS4 games lately (the huge releases like EDF5, Ryu/Hokuten ga Gotoku, Nioh for instance).

    What I originally meant is that japanese games still provide gameplay, even if the concept can be interesting but the execution might eventually be flawed. The western side of the industry seemingly to be more fixated into making video games an “art form” (which nothing more than marxist propaganda) and completely forget games are about, well, games & fun.

  • Zack Attack

    Spider man looks like fun and there is Death Stranding. Otherwise I agree.

  • Mr0303

    Only Naughty Dog and arguably Guerilla have fallen into the SJW hole. The other 13 studios seem to be doing fine.

  • Madbrainbox

    Bethesda has no right to point fingers.They are the shitheads behind the horse armor DLC after all.And let’s not forget their desperate attempts to get money from mods.

  • SantiN90

    None of those affect how games are developed. So no, they have no correlation with GAAS.

  • grgspunk

    Playstation Now aside, it’s nice to see a company actually trying to market their games as a product for once.

  • RandomDev

    Video games should be gameplay focused and not services or story driven, gameplay is king.

  • mewnani

    And by gamers you mean normies?

  • reblinds

    meh, still better than pc gaming

  • Chocolate ISISCream

    God bless Sony.

  • Casey

    I love the idiots in the comments using sony’s multiplayer as a comeback to this. I mean it’s not like microsoft charges for multiplayer and nintendo plans to in the near future.
    OH WAIT.

  • [Your Unoriginal Name Here]™

    I’m starting to see a pattern here; Bethesda and now Sony as well as a few studios and publishers are piggy back riding on this whole EA backlash and lootbox and microtransaction debacle just to look like good guys. Let’s not forget, TLoU and Uncharted both had microtransactions and then a dev who once worked at ND defended that shit. But hey, at least they mainly focus on Single Player experiences so that’s not a lie. Still, they’re all just as guilty for doing the same as EA just not to the extreme as EA.

    Heh “Games as a service”, yeah ok but tell me more about PS Plus.

  • Lea Pastillaroja

    they shit on the “games as a service” meme but then ride the bandwagon of “movie like games”…
    what will it take so companies will throw that meme under the bus to?

  • Mr0303

    I don’t mind the movie like games. I can simply ignore those. The issue with MTs and loot boxes is that they are affecting all games regardless of the genre.

  • Lea Pastillaroja

    muh story driven thought provoking relatable characters…
    i can’t wait for hollywood to die and the movie industry to burn so bad nobody will want to be asociated with it. maybe then devs will start making games again instead of skinner boc visual novels with just enough generic gameplay to justify the game label

  • Lea Pastillaroja

    i wouldn’t mind them either if they weren the aids that is spreading across the whole industry much like the online FPS genere used to be a few years back

  • Mr0303

    They may be the current trend, which will eventually die out. I remember the FPS craze and I simply didn’t buy any games in that genre (not a big fan of MP FPS). This will pass too.

    Not so much if games are allowed to have these cancerous business practices. Just look how much DLC has evolved since horse armour.

  • Lea Pastillaroja

    the FPS craze ruined the 7th gen with the westernization of nip games who wanted in on activision’s shekkel milking CoD cash cow
    when you look back on past gens to remeber the clasics there is so much virety that you can just think of one specific genere over saturating everything, but when i look back on the 7th gen the first thing that comes to mind is the blurr of thousands of space marines and shitty busines practices… Thank god nip games had a renaissance this year, otherwise we would have been stuck for another gen with the progressive fad wich is the new western made cancer unleashe in the industry
    sadly the “visual novel with QTEs” meme has yet to fully die out

  • Mr0303

    I’m not willing to place the blame on Activision or FPS games in general here. The Japanese publishers made their decision to westernise their games themselves. This is the creative freedom they have and this includes the freedom to fuck up.

    While there are diverse and interesting Japanese games they have their own problems with market saturation with cheaply built moe RPGs and visual novels (without QTEs).

  • Gigaknight

    Quoth Wikipedia:

    “In video gaming, games as a service (abbreviated GaaS) represents providing video games or game content on a continuing revenue model, similar to software as a service.”

    It may be Wikipedia, but I’m willing to consider that definition as solid. A “good” is a physical item, something you can acquire with one payment and be done with it. A “service” is often intangible, and frequently requires recurring payments as long as the service is to be rendered.

    Multiplayer game content (versus or co-op, e.g. Nioh) is locked behind a paywall via the PS+ scheme. Any “free” games you acquire via PS+ become inaccessible the moment your subscription stops. That’s what we’re talking about, and they’re very much “games as a service”, especially according to the definition above.

    Regarding “free” PS+ games, they can be considered entertainment provided to you as long as you pay the recurring cost, as opposed to, say, a physical copy you pay once for.

    Regarding how paid multiplayer “service” affects game development, games can and are built around monetizing multiplayer. Overwatch (and games like it) is one good example of this. Simply put, there is no single-player Overwatch. Destiny has single-player content from what I hear, but I also hear it’s not worth playing–thus, paid online multiplayer “service” is incentivized. Maybe a given game can be played solo…it just won’t be fun. There are plenty of games that have been built around the weak single-player/strong multiplayer scheme–and I have no doubt that monetized multiplayer was part of the planning.

    Simply put, playing with others is fun (raging children notwithstanding). Normals/sheep let opportunistic and exploitative companies get away with exploiting their desire to do that (in order to have fun) above all else. Designing games to continue that exploitation is only a reasonable result, at least.

  • Z3DH

    Sony isn’t as bad as others, but that doesn’t mean they are good.

  • SantiN90

    What I meant is that games offered through PS+ are readily available through other means which don’t require a subscription of sorts. The games were (mostly) developed as goods and now are being offered through an alternate venue, which is clearly not the main one. That’s why I said PS+ as a service was not shaping games development in such a way as to be considered detrimental. I hope my point was clear enough.

  • Gigaknight

    Yes, it’s clearer now, in one regard: PSNow “free games” don’t shape game development.

    PS+ forced multiplayer, on the other hand, is a different story. But your “none of those” was referring to those games, wasn’t it? I think I initially misread.

  • SantiN90

    Yeah, of course having to pay to play online sucks and doesn’t really make any sense. That’s why they had to come up with that “free games” bs. At least Microsoft lets you keep the games even after you unsubscribe.

  • Gigaknight

    The sheer irony of that is mindboggling.

    One of the first things that come to mind when I think of M$ is their absurdly greedy handling of Mechwarrior 4 several years ago. If even fanmade expansion packs bothered them enough to threaten litigation, I can’t imagine them one-upping Sony here.

    That aside, it works. People do cite “free games” as justification for their subscriptions. I get the feeling the companies don’t need such a tactic, though; a lot of these folks seem to think nothing of the cost–even people of the era before consoles went online are indifferent toward being so fleeced.

  • SantiN90

    It *is* kinda sad really.