Sony Dismisses Indies, Considers PS5 To Be A "Niche" Product For Hardcore Gamers

By Sam Quirke, 2 months ago
After a noticeable absence at E3 2019 and only Death Stranding making a significant release announcement, plus a lack of concrete news on the PlayStation 5, Sony have only exacerbated their communications issues with the latest remarks made to the Wall Street Journal, as further reported by GamesIndustry.biz.

The next one is for specific players only.The next one is for specific players only.

According to the WSJ's two anonymous Sony officials, Chief Executive Kenichiro Yoshida called the next Sony console a "niche product" aimed at "serious players". The focus is on delivering 8K resolution and high fidelity graphics, as the company still believes that graphical quality is the key factor in purchasing decisions.

During the same company briefing, officials confirmed that the console's strategy would be focused around delivering more AAA titles and courting those publishers, moving focus away from indies or smaller titles because "resources are limited". Despite the snub towards indie developers one Sony official claims that most promising indies will launch on PlayStation with or without the company's help, just because of the sheer size of the install base — a harsh but fair assessment of PlayStation's dominant market share. This is likely why Sony didn't bother to turn up with any smaller projects E3, and will apparently skip their usual indie showcase at the Tokyo Game Show.

It's worth remembering that these are whispers from anonymous officials, likely interpreted from another language — so we shouldn't set too much by the tone and exact phrasing. However, it does feel like PlayStation's strategy is depressingly (if smartly) focused on retaining that tech-hungry core audience — one that will buy a hefty piece of kit and play every major third-party release on it, from the next FIFA to another Call of Duty. As many have argued in the past, Microsoft's keen and willing support of both the larger community and indie developers may be a symptom of being the current underdog, rather than representative of core company values.

It's also pretty telling that Sony clearly lack either the means or the incentive to follow other tech giants down the path of streaming and mobile gaming. This makes sense — Sony have never invested heavily in software architecture or the cloud, sticking to their roots as a premium hardware manufacturer. Until alternative methods of gaming are a substantial threat, there isn't much point in Sony making a drastic pivot into uncertain territory when their major competitors, Microsoft and Google, are already miles ahead with the technology. Ultimately then, PlayStation 5 (or whatever it's called) and Project Scarlett (or whatever it's called) are in a simple arms race to be the best place to play the most resource-intensive games, and rumours have it that Sony are already ahead.

What do you think of this news? Are you excited for PlayStation's future, or does is just seem like more of the same? Let us know in the comments!

Thanks to WSJ and GI.biz.
Sam Quirke
Written by Sam Quirke
Sam has been gaming long enough to know the pain of a failed DOS install on the fifth floppy disc. When not hopelessly lost in the latest open-world epic, Sam is busy devouring books of all genres or trading Pokémon with his wife.