THE WASHINGTON POST – One of the PlayStation 4′s marquee exclusive titles, Horizon: Zero Dawn, is exclusive no more. The game is Sony’s biggest to be announced for the PC platform, even though it’s already three years old. But don’t expect a torrent of PlayStation exclusives to flood the Steam and Epic stores, said Sony PlayStation’s new Head of Worldwide Studios and founder and former director of Horizon developer Guerrilla Games Hermen Hulst.
“I think it’s important that we stay open to new ideas of how to introduce more people to PlayStation, and show people maybe what they’ve been missing out on,” Hulst said on the PlayStation blog. “And to maybe put a few minds at ease, releasing one first-party AAA title to PC doesn’t necessarily mean that every game now will come to PC.”
Those “few minds” are Sony’s enthusiastic fanbase who are angry about Sony exclusive titles releasing elsewhere, even though they heavily invested into the PlayStation platform for years. Comments like the below aren’t universal, but they exist and they can get loud.
Hulst reiterates that Sony is “100 per cent committed to dedicated hardware,” however this is the second major title from Sony to be announced for the PC platform. Hideo Kojima’s strange but award-winning 2019 game Death Stranding is also expected to hit PC later this year. Death Stranding used the same engine technology Guerrilla Games created for Horizon, a demonstration of the Decima engine’s scalability to other platforms.
So what’s up with this so-called commitment despite a PC release? After all, the PlayStation 4 was the best-selling console through most of the last decade (108.9 million sold by end of 2019). However the PC games market is large and untapped by Sony. And it’s been a popular adage since the Nintendo Switch’s release: The ideal gaming setup is to have a good PC paired with a Nintendo Switch to enjoy Nintendo’s exclusive titles.
Now Sony wants to make the argument that its exclusives are also worth the PC player’s attention. And part of that argument includes letting Horizon: Zero Dawn to play in PC pastures. The open-world, post-apocalyptic game sold well, with 10 million copies gone by 2019, which is quite good for a new story with no brand recognition.
Sony’s argument holds weight. While no one can reasonably hit the brand recognition and depth of Nintendo’s offerings, Sony is still the console market leader for a reason. Horizon teases just what kind of storytelling and experiences are available on the PlayStation, without giving away its most treasured intellectual properties. Owning a PlayStation still means having a key to the house of the Uncharted series, The Last of Us, God of War, Bloodborne, Spider-Man and the upcoming Final Fantasy 7 Remake, one of the year’s most anticipated titles.
This is a vastly different approach than what Microsoft has displayed with its next Xbox. Microsoft’s first-party games all release simultaneously on PC. The Xbox Series X and Windows PC platforms will often share features and games together, and Microsoft is betting big on that pairing.
Sony, meanwhile, may be doubling down on the library that helped it win with PlayStation 4. But its biggest rival in that space is Nintendo’s Switch, which sometimes outsells Sony’s console and sold at a faster rate throughout 2019.
Sony still has a big year ahead of it. The Last of Us Part II, Ghost of Tsushima and Final Fantasy all wait in the wings, as does the PlayStation 5 by the end of the year. It also recently announced its partnership with HBO for a TV series on The Last of Us, not to mention the Uncharted film starring Tom Holland.
Sony has been mum on PlayStation 5 details. On the other hand, no one can seem to stop Microsoft from talking about its next Xbox. But whatever PlayStation has planned for its future, it’s comforting that Sony hasn’t forgotten about the games that brought them to where they are today.