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Sony CFO insists AAA game quality ‘will deteriorate’ if it adopts Game Pass-style strategy

IbizaPocholo

NeoGAFs Kent Brockman

Speaking as part of the Q&A session following Sony’s financial results this week, CFO Totoki inferred that were Sony to follow Microsoft’s Game Pass model, it could result in fewer resources allocated to first-party titles, and thus a decline in quality.

“AAA titles on PlayStation 5, if we distribute them on the subscription service we may need to shrink the investment needed for that. That will deteriorate the first-party title quality and that is our concern,” Totoki said (transcribed by VGC).

“So we want to make sure we spend the appropriate development costs to have solid products and titles to be introduced in the right manner.”
 
I'm kind of looking forward to that a bit on the MS side, honestly. Tango Gameworks said they're looking into making smaller titles that are more experimental since they're not bound by the traditional retail model anymore. Decreasing AAA graphics bloat and making more AA content is honestly going to be more appealing to me. Seems Obsidian is trying something similar with the rumored "one game a year" plan. I'm hoping Call of Duty studios get to slow down and maybe even try smaller, more experimental titles if that deal goes through.

Sony can keep doing what they're doing and that's fine with me. No one else is really putting out these cinematic AAAA games but them. I like it when all 3 consoles have some differences as it keeps things more interesting.
 
That is pretty obvious. No point in taking risks or making big investments if you won't be seeing the money back.

Let's say Sony spends tons of money on Spider-man 2, then you just go and play it over the cloud for $15 on release? With cloud gaming you wouldn't even have to buy their hardware. Sounds terrible to their business.

Sony can't release one of these every month, what you get is a few of them each year and since they are single player games it's really easy to abuse the system to play them for just $15 or $30.

That's not even factoring that they already have close to 50m subs just on the back of paid online, all they really need to do from their perspective is the bare minimum to convince you to pay $15 or $17 instead of $10.
 
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Chukhopops

Member
I'm kind of looking forward to that a bit on the MS side, honestly. Tango Gameworks said they're looking into making smaller titles that are more experimental since they're not bound by the traditional retail model anymore. Decreasing AAA graphics bloat and making more AA content is honestly going to be more appealing to me. Seems Obsidian is trying something similar with the rumored "one game a year" plan. I'm hoping Call of Duty studios get to slow down and maybe even try smaller, more experimental titles if that deal goes through.

Sony can keep doing what they're doing and that's fine with me. No one else is really putting out these cinematic AAAA games but them. I like it when all 3 consoles have some differences as it keeps things more interesting.
Yeah this idea that quality = budget is just dumb unless you only care about graphics and game size (which some people do of course).

I’m ok with waiting a year or so for their 1st party to join PS+ and sub once in a while to play it. It will still save me some money and, in some cases, disappointment.
 

Helghan

Member
Lol, such bs. Let's not pretend you aren't doing it because the quality will go lower, you're not doing it because you believe you can get more money out of consumers when you sell it day one. The Playstation division is making a profit, you could allocate that profit towards putting your games on a subscription service.
 

MasterCornholio

Gold Member
Yeah this idea that quality = budget is just dumb unless you only care about graphics and game size (which some people do of course).

I’m ok with waiting a year or so for their 1st party to join PS+ and sub once in a while to play it. It will still save me some money and, in some cases, disappointment.

I think quality depends on the devs themselves. While budget can give them the resources to make the game big. It still is possible to make smaller high quality titles with a low budget.
 

SLB1904

Member
Lol, such bs. Let's not pretend you aren't doing it because the quality will go lower, you're not doing it because you believe you can get more money out of consumers when you sell it day one. The Playstation division is making a profit, you could allocate that profit towards putting your games on a subscription service.
They make profit because they sold a lot of games. Or do you think the profit came out of thin air?
 

Airbus Jr

Litigate my emotions, daddy!
Video Games Reaction GIF by PlayStation
Aidy Bryant Snl GIF by Saturday Night Live
 
I don't think the quality will necessarily deteriorate because I think MS will have already planned out staged price increases once their internal studios starting putting out AAA games regularly.

At the moment they're still in the loss leader phase.
It wasn't even possible for the quality or volume of AAA produced by MS to deteriorate when they came up with Gamepass because they had pretty much nothing. Come on, their output of games last gen was putrid and then a new gen release and they had pretty much nothing for more than a year.

Sony is on a completely different position, every AAA studio they have seems to have sustained success, with very few exception. Their studios all seemed to be in a good place before they started with any acquisitions. MS pretty much had to completely rebuild their gaming division over the past years.

Why won't Sony keep selling games at full price with so many of them selling 20m+ or 10m+? Do people expect Nintendo to copy MS as well? When they are making more money than Xbox and PlayStation combined using the traditional pricing model?

Nintendo showed up extremely late with an online sub that is pretty much offensive when it comes to value. Yet it succeeded already because of how strong their position is.
 
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MasterCornholio

Gold Member
Next time read before going on a rampage. They specifically said they don't know and don't want to talk about ms strategy. They are specifically tslk about their own business

Yes they certainly wouldn't be looking at the competitions financials to determine what they can do with their own company. People need to keep in mind that this isn't about Microsoft rather Sony and their business models plus capabilities.
 

Helghan

Member
They make profit because they sold a lot of games. Or do you think the profit came out of thin air?
And subscriptions won't generate any cash? Even if subscriptions don't generate as much money as selling a game directly, you could still allocate that cost towards development. You might not make a profit, we don't know since Microsoft doesn't share this information. Otherwise do you think Microsoft's long term strategy is to make a loss?
 
Lol, such bs. Let's not pretend you aren't doing it because the quality will go lower, you're not doing it because you believe you can get more money out of consumers when you sell it day one. The Playstation division is making a profit, you could allocate that profit towards putting your games on a subscription service.
Is MS a charity or something? You think MS thinks they would be making more money without Gampeass?
 

Chukhopops

Member
I think quality depends on the devs themselves. While budget can give them the resources to make the game big. It still is possible to make smaller high quality titles with a low budget.
Yes that’s what I think too. You need of course a minimum level of budget based on the game’s scope but the quality won’t scale with budget past a point.
I Dont Believe You Will Ferrell GIF


Simple math says it's likely not true. I wonder what the real reason is.
The real reason is that they make more profit that way and that they are confident demos and older games will be enough to attract people to their higher sub tiers. And based on the reaction to the announcement it seems they are right.
 

SLB1904

Member
Yes they certainly wouldn't be looking at the competitions financials to determine what they can do with their own company. People need to keep in mind that this isn't about Microsoft rather Sony and their business models plus capabilities.
What baffles me in these threads, you have people claiming in some that Sony is broke can't afford this and that but at same time get mad because Sony is trying to do business that makes sense for them.
The subscription plans you have to pay for a bunch of 3rd parties plus the development costs from their own internal studios, and for some reason some people think that is remotely sustainable, it might be sustainable for a trillion dollar company but that doesn't apply to Sony for obvious reasons.
And subscriptions won't generate any cash? Even if subscriptions don't generate as much money as selling a game directly, you could still allocate that cost towards development. You might not make a profit, we don't know since Microsoft doesn't share this information. Otherwise do you think Microsoft's long term strategy is to make a loss?
Microsoft can afford having xbox making no money at all for as long as they want, xbox is only 9% of their revenue. Cash flow at lost still lost. The best you can hope is being on black but investors don't like that because you have to show potential growth. Is like Netflix struggle doesn't teach people anything, even with their budget stuff they are crying because is not enough and how many subscribers they have? also TV shows doesn't take 5 years or more to make.
Also how hbo backtrack with their day and date movies release?
I mean there is like a ton of evidence but let's ignore that
 

yazenov

Member
To be fair, mindhunter, queens gambit and better call saul are some of the best series i have ever seen.

Yes of course you would have a handful of hidden gems occasionally but the majority are trash.

Sony has a proven track record of quality 1st party games, and their current business model is clearly working for them. That could change if it was a subcription model where quantity over quality is more sustainable to keep those subscribers occupied.
 
What makes a game "Quality" is the real question? Is it this...

Seems the loud majority have decided that 3rd person single player adventure games are the bar for which "quality" is judged. Beyond this one genre of games I don't see where Sony's "quality" is any better than any other developer.
Up to player preference at the end of the day. One thing that can't be disputed is that this style of Sony game costs hundreds of millions of dollars to make. The use of the word "quality" in the OP is going to be up to player interpretation like you said. What he could have said instead is "budget," and that would be objective. These games are expensive.
 
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sircaw

Banned
What makes a game "Quality" is the real question? Is it this...

Seems the loud majority have decided that 3rd person single player adventure games are the bar for which "quality" is judged. Beyond this one genre of games I don't see where Sony's "quality" is any better than any other developer.
Outside of those games, sonys list is still gigantic in terms of quality.

Rachet and clank x2
Spiderman
Bloodborne
Ghost of Tshuima
final fan 7
Gran T
Returnal


Off the top of my head, I mean, that is a lot of quality don't you think?
 
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SLB1904

Member
What makes a game "Quality" is the real question? Is it this...

Seems the loud majority have decided that 3rd person single player adventure games are the bar for which "quality" is judged. Beyond this one genre of games I don't see where Sony's "quality" is any better than any other developer.
Does matter if 3rd person adventure games. Their talking about budget.
1000s of people make these games. Millions of dollars are invested and they want see returns.
 

NahaNago

Member
I'm kind of looking forward to that a bit on the MS side, honestly. Tango Gameworks said they're looking into making smaller titles that are more experimental since they're not bound by the traditional retail model anymore. Decreasing AAA graphics bloat and making more AA content is honestly going to be more appealing to me. Seems Obsidian is trying something similar with the rumored "one game a year" plan. I'm hoping Call of Duty studios get to slow down and maybe even try smaller, more experimental titles if that deal goes through.

Sony can keep doing what they're doing and that's fine with me. No one else is really putting out these cinematic AAAA games but them. I like it when all 3 consoles have some differences as it keeps things more interesting.
I actually would like Sony to do more AA and smaller or artsy games. They don't need to only do these AAA big budget cinematic games. They could easily just have media molecule just expand to have a couple of teams to make a bunch of artsy games.

Making a bunch of smaller more experimental games makes a ton of sense for gamepass. You just need to make sure you also have a couple of AAA games a year on their as well.
 
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Papacheeks

Banned
I actually would like Sony to do more AA and smaller or artsy games. They don't need to only do these AAA big budget cinematic games.

Making a bunch of smaller more experimental games makes a ton of sense for gamepass. You just need to make sure you also have a couple of AAA games a year on their as well.

Thats why they hunt around for games like Sifu, LIttle devil inside, stray and Kena. Quality smaller AA style games from indie studios.
 
I'm kind of looking forward to that a bit on the MS side, honestly. Tango Gameworks said they're looking into making smaller titles that are more experimental since they're not bound by the traditional retail model anymore. Decreasing AAA graphics bloat and making more AA content is honestly going to be more appealing to me. Seems Obsidian is trying something similar with the rumored "one game a year" plan. I'm hoping Call of Duty studios get to slow down and maybe even try smaller, more experimental titles if that deal goes through.

Sony can keep doing what they're doing and that's fine with me. No one else is really putting out these cinematic AAAA games but them. I like it when all 3 consoles have some differences as it keeps things more interesting.
It's like i can see where this is going...basically release games like Life is Strange. In chapters...like we get TV shows on streaming platforms or something. Yeah...no. I'd rather get the full game experience and pay for it full price.

What makes a game "Quality" is the real question? Is it this...

Seems the loud majority have decided that 3rd person single player adventure games are the bar for which "quality" is judged. Beyond this one genre of games I don't see where Sony's "quality" is any better than any other developer.
Where's Sackboy? Ratchet? Killzone? Gran Turismo? Dreams? Spider-Man? Concrete Genie? Returnal? That probably wouldn't fit the narrative, right?

Funny thing is that picture was created to mock people that criticize PlayStation games...and it's now being used like a serious thing by that same crowd, lmao.

Let me grab the Nintendo template. I'm sure they also have trees in more than 2 games...or MS.
 

NahaNago

Member
Thats why they hunt around for games like Sifu, LIttle devil inside, stray and Kena. Quality smaller AA style games from indie studios.
If you're just talking about publishing indies, then they need to do a lot more. If they just used the amount of money they put into any one of these first party AAA game they could publish a dozen or more indie games that they could spread out over a couple of years alongside the AAA first party games. I also would barely consider any of those AA games outside of possibly Kena. I know I'm being picky but I keep on thinking if Ratchet and Horizon are AAA then what would should a game that is one less A look like and most of those games don't seem to be it.

I still would like Sony to have their own personal AA and indie/ artsy studio. Or even have their AAA studio crank out a small artsy game a year and a half while working on their larger titles
 

C2brixx

Member
It's like i can see where this is going...basically release games like Life is Strange. In chapters...like we get TV shows on streaming platforms or something. Yeah...no. I'd rather get the full game experience and pay for it full price.


Where's Sackboy? Ratchet? Killzone? Gran Turismo? Dreams? Spider-Man? Concrete Genie? Returnal? That probably wouldn't fit the narrative, right?

Funny thing is that picture was created to mock people that criticize PlayStation games...and it's now being used like a serious thing by that same crowd, lmao.

Let me grab the Nintendo template. I'm sure they also have trees in more than 2 games...or MS.
Would Sackboy, Dreams, Ratchet, Killzone, fit into the big budget games that Sony is saying would suffer if were put in a subscription?
 

kingfey

Banned
What makes a game "Quality" is the real question? Is it this...

Seems the loud majority have decided that 3rd person single player adventure games are the bar for which "quality" is judged. Beyond this one genre of games I don't see where Sony's "quality" is any better than any other developer.
One things Sony can't do very well is the RPG games. While horizon and God of War have some element RPG, it's not really a true RPG games.
 
Am I a moron? Why everyone keeps focusing on day one releases on a service? Obviously, that move is dumb-dumb.

The smarter thing should be just like the movies:

1. To have a 'theatrical' release window = you can only buy a game (for a period of time).

2. Then, the game comes to your own service. (Which can even be a service tier for this access).

3.After another period of time, your game comes to other platforms (PC for example).

In this fashion, your game could have a cycle between 18 to 24 months to reach each platform.
 

Papacheeks

Banned
Corporate talks, which users will eat it happily.
At this point, Sony will look like clowns, once they do day1 on their subscription service.
Its better for them to shut up, and let their sales do the talk, like it always does.

They do let their sales do the talking for them?

Less than 2 years and 470 Million pieces of software sold?

Their games chart everytime they have stock?

I think the results show they have the right plan....for them.
 
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