Horizon: Zero Dawn will be the first major first-party PS4 exclusive to release on PC, sources tell Kotaku.
While Sony has yet to announce anything concrete, sources familiar with the company's plans say select marquee PlayStation 4 titles will be released as purchasable dedicated games on PC. The first game will be Horizon: Zero Dawn in 2020, and there's rumblings that Dreams is crossing over too. A selection of PS4 games are currently playable on PC via an active PlayStation Now subscription, but this new endeavor will see console exclusives cross over to PC storefronts, possibly even Steam or the Epic Games Store.
It's also possible Sony launches its own proprietary storefront similar to uPlay, Origin, Bethesda.net, or the new Rockstar Games Launcher so it can keep 100% of all revenues from its games. Even with its own storefront, we should still expect its PC ports to arrive on Steam and the Epic Games Store.
This isn't the first time we've heard about a Sony-developed exclusive coming to other systems. A bit ago Sony and MLB confirmed MLB The Show games will arrive on multiple platforms in 2021.
I fully expect Sony to drop more exclusives on PC with a staggered cadence. Think of it as timed exclusivity. We probably won't see Sony release PS4 or even PS5 exclusives simultaneously on consoles and PC similar to Microsoft. Sony still wants to sell PlayStation hardware, and first-party games are huge movers for console sales. Horizon: Zero Dawn released 3 years ago and is only coming to PC this year.
This is basically like the re-release structure that publishers and devs love to use on different platforms. The Switch, for example, is a fully-fledged re-release machine. Sony will likely use PC is an extension of the PlayStation ecosystem by re-releasing games on the platform.
We likewise shouldn't expect to see all first-party Sony games arrive on PC. That being said, Sony exclusives are very expensive to make and it opening up the audience base for more sales is a good idea.
This paradigm shift is immensely important for Sony's overall evolution.
The company apparently wants to be more flexible and grow outside of its more traditional console-oriented ecosystem, which saw the PlayStation 4 as the nexus for a vast webwork of services and games. That plan worked well for console and game sales, but key services like PS Vue and PS Music faltered (even PS Now, despite being the most popular game streaming service, isn't nearly as big as the PS4's 106 million install base).
The idea now is to deliver games to platforms that users already own,sell more games, and increase the PlayStation service ecosystem by proxy (these games will be hardwired with PS Network hooks).
In a very real sense, Sony wants to be more like Microsoft. Engagement, services, and access are the tentpoles of gaming's big future, something we've highlighted at TweakTown, and I expect cross-play as well as ambitious embracing of the full spectrum of platforms to be the most potent drivers of growth.
Sony has been taking pages from Microsoft's cross-platform playbook for a while now.
First it embraced cross-play, then it allowed downloads on PlayStation Now in an attempt to mimic Xbox Game Pass. Now it's making the most dramatic shift possible: Breaking PlayStation console exclusivity and bringing some of its biggest games to PC.
We'll probably hear more about Sony's ambitious PC plans during the PlayStation 5 reveal event sometime in February, or maybe at a special E3 2020-timed event this Summer.
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