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Don't Worry, Your PlayStation Won't Disappear When Sony's Games Hit PC

Historically, Sony hasn’t been particularly keen on the PC as a gaming platform. Like Nintendo’s first-party games, Sony’s exclusive titles haven’t leapt to Steam or any other video game marketplace en masse. Sure, PlayStation Now exists on PC, but that service lacks many, big PlayStation exclusives and requires a monthly subscription.

However, it appears that the Japanese tech giant has had a change of heart. First, Death Stranding, a PlayStation 4 game published by Sony Computer Entertainment and built using the Decima engine crafted by the Sony-owned Guerilla Games, received a 2020 PC release. A few weeks later, Death Stranding was joined on PC by Horizon Zero Dawn, a PS4 action-RPG that’s powered by the same engine. Those titles opened a potential floodgate of PlayStation games coming to PC—and it’s about damned time. It’s a move that benefits everyone.

Sony Interactive Entertainment recently revealed that Days Gone is headed to PC this spring. If that wasn’t surprising enough, Jim Ryan, Sony’s president and chief executive officer, told GQGQ that many other PlayStation games would make the leap, too. He acknowledged that Horizon Zero Dawn’s PC release was successful, and didn’t cause too much backlash within the PlayStation community.

“We find ourselves now in early 2021 with our development studios and the games that they make in better shape than they’ve ever been before,” said Ryan. “Particularly from the latter half of the PS4 cycle our studios made some wonderful, great games. There’s an opportunity to expose those great games to a wider audience and recognise the economics of game development, which are not always straightforward. The cost of making games goes up with each cycle, as the calibre of the IP has improved. Also, our ease of making it available to non-console owners has grown. So it’s a fairly straightforward decision for us to make.”

It’s a starting point for Sony Interactive Entertainment, a chance for the company to sail new waters. These are the three reasons why you, as a consumer, should be excited for this move.

Days Gone gets that PC upgrade

More People Will Play Great Games

Ryan mentioned that games “from the latter half of the PS4 cycle” are prime candidates for PC ports. The latest and greatest PlayStation 5 games, such as Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, and Horizon Forbidden West, probably won’t receive PC ports anytime soon. It seems that Sony prefers to release a game to PC after its been on PlayStation for a significant amount of time. Horizon Zero Dawn hit PS4 in 2017, with a PC release slated for 2020; Days Gone debuted in 2019, and it’s set to arrive on PC in 2021.

In recent years, Microsoft brought Forza Horizon 4, Gears Tactics, and Halo: The Master Chief Collection to Steam and the Xbox app. Plus, it let Xbox Game Pass for PC subscribers play all first-party games on the same day that they drop on console. Don’t expect Sony to go that route. Sony isn’t duplicating Microsoft’s PC gaming vision, as its console business is still the company’s golden goose.

However, Sony appears more liberal than ever before in porting select titles to PC. Popular, high-profile games, such as Ghost of Tsushima, God of War, Marvel’s Spider-Man, and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End are good candidates for the transition. Media Molecule’s Dreams is another title that would do well on PC, perhaps more so than the aforementioned games. Dreams is a game-creation system designed to tap your imagination, and it’s hampered by being a PlayStation 4 exclusive. I cannot begin to imagine what the Dreams community could do on PC once they gain access to mods. 

You’ll Get New Games

The real reason behind the strategy shift lies in the latter part of Ryan’s statement. Game development costs are increasingly expensive, especially as consoles become more powerful and the assets require increased fidelity. Bringing PlayStation games to PC is a way to wring more money out of those titles. The porting process isn’t a cost-free endeavor, but it’s significantly cheaper than making a new game. 

Steam has 120 million monthly active players, and a good number of them may not own a PS4 or PS5. For Sony, it’s a relatively untapped market, one that’s thirsty to play the company’s games. Sony hasn’t released PC sales numbers, but analyst firm SuperData estimates that Horizon Zero Dawn sold 716,000 units in its first month of PC availability.

“In terms of the straightforward success of the activity of publishing the game on PC, people liked it and they bought it,” Ryan said in regards to Horizon Zero Dawn’s PC release. And that cash flows back into Sony’s studios, an infusion that helps developers make PlayStation 5 games. That’s right, PlayStation fans! PC gamers playing with your hand-me-downs could result in more (and potentially better) games. 

Horizon Zero Dawn looks fantastic on PC, outstripping its PS4 Pro counterpart

You’ll Play Uncompromised Games

The PlayStation 4 has beautiful games, but those titles would truly shine on PC. With the power available to upper-end—and admittedly very expensive—gaming PCs, many Sony titles could perform without compromise. High frame rates. Native 4K resolution. HDR. And if your gaming rig can’t handle that high-end play, you can can tweak the experience beyond the binary Performance and Fidelity modes that you find in some PlayStation console titles.

If you were wowed by Ghost of Tsushima’s performance bump by its move to PS5, just imagine what it would be like to experience it, Days Gone, God of War, Marvel’s Spider-Man, and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End in their best possible fidelities.

Sony is finally embracing the PC as a gaming platform. That’s a good thing, even if its games appear years after their console releases. More sales lead to more games, an expanded audience, and developers given the opportunity to create bigger and better game worlds. It’s an all-around win, and I’m glad to see Sony’s iron wall crumble, if even just a little.

That said, where’s Bloodborne on PC, Sony?

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