Sorry, Sony: No PC Owner Is Buying A PS5 for Your Games

    A vision that needs to be revisited.

    PlayStation’s presence on PC has steadily grown over the last few years. Ever since the initial release of Horizon Zero Dawn for PC, Sony has announced titles like Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered, The Last of Us Part I, and even God of War Ragnarok for the platform. Last week, the newly appointed CEO of SIE’s Studio Business Group, Hermen Hulst, spoke to investors about the future of PlayStation Studios titles and PC. After reflecting on Hulst’s statement on the company’s vision for the PC platform, I can’t help but feel they are very out of touch with reality.

    To investors, Hulst said the following, “Indeed, we are bringing our titles to the PC platform, and we have a dual approach here. On the live service side, we are releasing our titles simultaneously – so day and date on PlayStation 5 and PC. But with our ‘tentpole titles,’ our single-player and narrative-driven titles, that are, as you saw in the presentation, the backbone of what PlayStation Studios has delivered in recent years and in our history, we take a more strategic approach. We introduce our great franchises to new audiences, and we’re finding new audiences that are potentially very interested in playing, for example, sequels on the PlayStation platform. We have high hopes that we’re actually able to bring new [PC] players into PlayStation at large, and PlayStation platforms specifically.”

    While this statement mostly reflects the company’s past and present vision for the PC platform, Hulst’s mention of driving PC users to purchase PS5 consoles is extremely puzzling. It feels like this strategy would be one of a company that just began releasing titles on PC, not of a company that has released titles on the platform since 2020. This approach is flawed for a number of reasons, and it comes down to knowing the PC audience and how they operate.

    More $ for Less Power

    Hermen Hulst
    Hideo Kojima and Hermen Hulst at Kojima Productions HQ

    From a cost perspective, purchasing a PlayStation 5 as a PC owner makes little sense. I personally don’t know a single core PC player who’d purchase a PlayStation 5. Why would one purchase a $500 console that runs titles worse than their PC? It’s these kind of questions that make this strategy questionable. 

    $500 is a serious investment, and those contemplating a PS5 purchase would probably feel better about it if there were games other than exclusives that provided benefits on PS5. However, that’s not likely the case. Somewhere around 80% of major titles that come to PlayStation 5 also come to PC, and the games will play better on PC hardware most of the time. Of course, there’s also the cost of games to consider. Generally, games are far cheaper on PC, with discounts plentiful on Steam and other key providers like Green Man Gaming and Humble Bundle. Even PlayStation offers its ‘premium’ $70 titles for $59.99 on PC. 

    Why would a PC player opt to play games at lower frame rates and with fewer setting options? Too many times, we see releases on PS5 that suffer from resolution issues and graphical compromises. You don’t see this on PC for the most part, as games are scalable for millions of different component combinations. It’s a question I continue to ask myself when reflecting on this strategy. And this leads us to what Sony underestimates the most: the patience of the PC community.

    Patience Is Key

    Ghost of Tsushima: Director's Cut Coming to PC on May 16

    Hermen Hulst and Sony are severely underestimating both the patience and willpower of core PC players. I saw hundreds, if not thousands, of PC users patiently ask for Ghost of Tsushima for years, and it ultimately paid off when Sony released the game on Steam last month. The game reached over 77,000 concurrent players, making it the biggest SIE PC release so far. Patient fans were rewarded with a quality port from Nixxes that features ultrawide support, high frame rates, and plenty more. This has been a constant with each PC port from PlayStation, as each title offers many settings and options for PC users to customize their experience with. 

    Even on my own, I’ve had plenty of experiences myself with holding off on purchasing titles on the PC platform. For one, I mostly refuse to purchase titles on the Epic Games Store. Millions of players operate under the same mindset, as Steam acts as an accessible platform with the most features and users. When Kingdom Hearts was announced for PC, many, including me, were overjoyed as the series had never before been available on the platform. Mods and all sorts of new features were sure to be used like never before.  I was ecstatic watching through the trailer. That is until the end card revealed that the games were coming exclusively to the Epic Games Store. I, alongside many other players, simply skipped the titles for years. 

    The Kingdom Hearts series is finally coming to PC (Steam) on June 13, and the reveal tweet got double the amount of likes for the EGS announcement in a matter of hours. The series will likely sell at least triple the copies it did on Epic Games with Steam. PC users are willing and more than happy to wait to purchase games on the platforms and storefronts of their choice. The same logic can be applied to PS5 titles, as PC players are not afraid to wait years at a time to experience games on their platform and storefront of choice. If that doesn’t show you the patience and dedication of PC users, I don’t know what does. 

    Sony Needs to Reassess

    With development costs for titles like Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 reaching absolutely ridiculous amounts of over $300 million, any additional revenue is key for PlayStation as a company going forward. These single-player exclusives simply aren’t going to be PlayStation 5-only for much longer. It’s not sustainable with the current model, and Sony is going to have to realize the company is missing out on bigger audiences with a dual-marketing push for PS5 and PC day & date. PC players will not compromise on their will and desire to play games on PC. If Sony wants more people to play its games, the answer is to give them to more people sooner.

    This vision from Hermen Hulst feels out of touch, almost like the company hasn’t paid any attention to the trends of the PC market. It makes no sense for the PC community to move to a console that has numerous limitations that are not present on PC hardware. Time will tell, but I’m afraid Sony’s goal of converting PC users to PlayStation 5 users won’t pan out well in the end. As titles like Spider-Man 2 and The Last of Us Part II Remastered assuredly make their way to PC sometime within the next year or so, PC users will once again be rewarded for their unwavering patience – and that’s something Sony will fail to break.

    Noah Hunter
    Noah Hunter
    Noah is Final Weapon’s Editor-in-Chief. He co-founded the website in June 2019 and has been writing for it ever since. In total, he has over five years of writing experience across many publications, including IGN Entertainment. His favorite series include Xeno and Final Fantasy.

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