Publisher will focus on ‘franchising successful IPs and refreshing existing IPs’ to ensure a strong exclusive lineup

Sony Interactive Entertainment hosted its investor relations meeting today in Japan, at which the PlayStation CEO John Kodera touched on the state of the PlayStation business. According to Wall Street Journal’s tech reporter Takashi Mochizuki, who was livetweeting Kodera’s comments, the Sony boss told investors that the PS4 “is entering final phase of its life cycle.”

Kodera went on to say that subscriptions to PlayStation Plus would likely mitigate the loss in sales associated with ageing hardware. According to Mochizuki the PlayStation CEO stated that “the period until March 2021 would be when PlayStation [has] to ‘crouch down once’ to grow further in the future.” Hmmmmmm indeed.

Other interesting tidbits from the presentation include discussion of PlayStation’s first party exclusives. Specifically, that we can expect more of them in the future. Which should really go without saying, to be honest, but Kodera also mentions that that doesn’t necessarily mean new IPs. “Beefing up first-party titles wouldn't just mean more new IPs,” Mochizuki reports. “Strategy includes franchising successful IPs and refreshing existing IPs.”

The idea of “franchising” IPs is an interesting one that could see developers uncoupled from game worlds. It opens the door for, for example, Naughty Dog to play in Horizon’s universe with a spin-off, or for Guerrilla Games to create an entry into the Uncharted series. Or for indie devs to be invited to develop titles in PlayStation’s franchises. Whether this is what is meant by “franchising” is unclear and it could simply mean that successful new IPs will be given sequels. But a boy can dream.

Meanwhile, PSVR is performing worse than expected, which is actually what many people did expect based on the performance of the VR market in general. That doesn’t mean the end of the device, however, with Sony aiming for “further growth with a realistic outlook”. Many are expecting a PSVR 2 to be shown on PlayStation’s E3 stage this year, so who knows what could happen. Who knows. 

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