Sony outlines the thinking behind Final Fantasy, Tchia exclusivity deals

By Kes Eylers-Stephenson,

Sony has spoken briefly about third-party exclusive deals for PS5 games, giving us insight into its Final Fantasy 16 and Tchia rights.

Sony has been making deals that bring third-party exclusives to PS5, and now we know a little more about how and why. In case you didn't know, a PlayStation third-party exclusive refers to a game that was not designed by one of Sony's studios, but whose developers have struck a deal with Sony to keep that game exclusive to PlayStation consoles. Sometimes these exclusives even end up on our best PS5 games list!

PS5's third-party exclusives have ramped up, including Tchia and Final FantasyPS5's third-party exclusives have ramped up, including Tchia and Final Fantasy

Sony uses third-party "exclusives where it makes sense"

With so many people anticipating massive AAA games and expecting to spend time collecting Final Fantasy XVI trophies or thinking about grabbing the
Tchia trophies when the indie hits PS Plus this March, it turns out there's a reason why we see Sony putting greater emphasis on its third-party line-up as of late. Shawne Benson, the head of third-party portfolio and acquisitions at Sony Interactive Entertainment, has spoken to about the Japanese company's strategy.

Explaining the initial stages of making a content strategy for PS5, Benson says: "We were really focused in trying to drive a lot of excitement around the launch of PS5 and making PS5 be the best place to play. A lot of the content we would focus on evolved based off of that.

"In the past we would look at things that were closer to release because they were known quantities and so forth," she says. "The way I lead my team now is a lot more future-thinking and thinking about 'What does the next three to five years look like, from a gaming perspective?'

final fantasy xviPS5 exclsuive Final Fantasy XVI

"There's room for exclusives where it makes sense, obviously, but really the focus — especially with a digital distribution model that is more prevalent than in generations past — is that there are different types of gameplay out there. For example, a free-to-play game's business model is most successful when it's on as many platforms as possible and brings the biggest audience possible.

"So, that's thinking about it less around exclusivity than what kind of technologies could they adopt that really make PS5 sing," she said. "What kind of innovation can they apply with the haptics in the DualSense or the adaptive triggers? What could they do with 3D audio in the sound design of a game, etc? So there's a lot of things we could do and then create marketing stories around, and that's where some of these partnerships for multiplatform games really focus."

Final Fantasy 16Final Fantasy 16

This certainly gives us much more insight into Sony's modern process of business planning than we usually get. Thinking strictly from a business perspective, it makes sense that Sony, looking to offer genres or experiences to PS5 players it feels like its own PlayStation Studios can't offer, use third parties to fill out its catalogue with JRPGs like Final Fantasy 16 or colourful indie adventures like Tchia. This is definitely the case for 2023 when the exclusive slate is looking thin in the mid-year — precisely when both Tchia and Final Fantasy 16 are set to launch. This block of the year is also where we've seen limited-time third-party PS5 exclusives like Deathloop and GhostWire Tokyo launch in previous years, too.

Anyway, let us know what you think of what Benson had to say here. Does it make sense? Does it lighten up the weight on every third-party deal Sony makes? Or does it weigh them down with ethical guilt? Let us know in the comments — and check out our list of the best indie games on PlayStation!
Kes Eylers-Stephenson
Written by Kes Eylers-Stephenson
Editor Kes is our resident expert in PlayStation and other gaming news. He writes about exclusives like The Last of Us and God of War, PS Plus news, and his favourite games — The Witcher, Assassin’s Creed, and explosive racers — before an evening swim.
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