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PlayStation is betting big on new franchises and live service games

PlayStation is betting big on new franchises and live service games


It has 12 live service games in production.

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An illustration of the PlaySation “PS” logo overlayed on swooping blue and teal colors
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Right now, Sony may be widely renowned for its ambitious single-player PlayStation games from franchises you’ve come to know and love — series like God of War, Horizon, and Spider-Man come to mind for me. But in just a few years, you might instead be playing a lot of new PlayStation franchises — and a lot of live service titles.

As part of a business presentation on Tuesday, Sony shared some updates about how it plans to invest in its its portfolio. In the 2025 fiscal year, for example, it estimates that 50 percent of its PlayStation Studios investments will be in new IP, which is a major jump from years past: according to a slide, in its 2019 fiscal year, only 20 percent of its investments were in new franchises. And if you look at the slide, that 50 percent of investments in FY23 appears to be as large — if not larger — than its entire spending in FY19.

A slide from Sony’s Business Segment Meeting 2023 titled “Expanding Our IP — Increasing New IP Investment.”
Image: Sony

The changes could be even more notable for how Sony invests in what it calls “traditional” games and live service ones. In FY19, the split was 88 percent traditional games to 12 percent live service games, but in FY25, Sony expects that ratio to flip to 40 / 60. (During the presentation, PlayStation Studios head Hermen Hulst said that Sony currently has 12 live service games in production — a number that Sony has shared in the past.)

A slide from Sony’s Business Segment Meeting 2023 titled “Live Services — Invest to Capture Category Growth.”
Image: Sony

If you’ve been following PlayStation’s moves over the past few years, these shifts shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. Sony has made some major acquisitions in studios working on big live service titles, including Bungie, Jade Raymond’s Haven Studios, and Firewalk Studios, and Horizon franchise developer Guerrilla Games has already said that it’s working on a multiplayer Horizon game. Sony has clearly seen how studios like Epic Games (which it has invested hundreds of millions into) and Bungie (which it now owns) can encourage players to invest heaps of time and money into Fortnite and Destiny 2-level hits, and it appears Sony sees a significant opportunity in making live service games of its own.

It seems likely we’ll get a look at some of those new franchises or live service games at Sony’s PlayStation Showcase on Wednesday, especially since the company has already promised that the event will feature “a glimpse at several new creations from PlayStation Studios.”

Sony shared a few other notable updates during Tuesday’s business presentation. The company is seeing a lot of success with its PC releases, and it expects PC revenues to nearly double from $250 million in FY22 to an estimated $450 million in FY23. PlayStation boss Jim Ryan also teased something notable with cloud gaming is in the works that will “unfold over the course of the coming months” — perhaps that rumored cloud gaming handheld?