Forget about live service, PlayStation already has a brilliant solution to its single-player games dilemma

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Broader industry trends, especially when it comes to the types of games each publisher wants to have in their catalog (before realizing that investing too much in one basket might not be such a good idea) Must follow. It’s good to know that Sony is just getting started with live service games. The company’s efforts are still in its early stages, with the first of his 12 planned games just released. Long before we could play one of his songs, Sony delayed half of them. Whether anyone is interested in the games themselves or not, it’s easy to understand PlayStation’s desire to diversify its first-party offerings. Sony is acutely aware that developing increasingly expensive single-player games is not sustainable for long. It’s already sustainable.

One way to achieve this goal is to bring PlayStation games to other platforms, and Sony is already on that bridge.Once-historical stance on publishing first-party games on everything but PlayStation hardware has already been turned upside down. We now live in an era where his PS5/PS4 exclusive titles are coming to his PC, almost predictably, two years after his debut on PS consoles.

But that’s clearly not enough, especially if Sony keeps pretending to be Xbox and Nintendo platforms don’t bring in significant sales increases. Now, back to the topic, other We will promote our strategy of live service games.

But the desire to understand live services is non-existent, and many of the company’s studios are finding new ways to force players to stick with games designed to be played once for longer than a single playthrough. Let’s imagine for a moment that we had to come up with something. – and potentially open to the idea of ​​other forms of monetization in single-player games.

In fact, they may already be doing so.


Kratos fights several creatures in God of War Ragnarok Valhalla.
For Valhalla! | Image credits: VG247/Sony Santa Monica.

One of the biggest surprises at The Game Awards in December was the reveal of God of War Ragnarok’s Valhalla DLC. This is free and unusual additional content that expands on the main game, not just adding new story chapters, but introducing something that’s meant to: It will be played repeatedly for a while. Valhalla is a successful rogue-lite mode in many ways, so it’s worth watching and worth learning from for other teams at Sony.

It builds on the story of Ragnarok and gives those who normally play these games for the story a reason to care. It relies on elements that build on the ending of the story and elements of Kratos’ past that were largely unexplored in the rebooted series. It’s old, new, and wonderful.

Valhalla’s gameplay, on the other hand, can be enjoyed comfortably alongside the main game. If you feel empowered by the game’s weapon variety, Valhalla unlocks all three of his weapons right away. Instead of spending 20 hours building a character, crafting whatever equipment you want, and unlocking bigger and better moves, Valhalla locks all of those elements in a hat, making it more like any other rogue-lite. , randomly pick some of them and let the user choose. . This is the reverse of the item discovery process that rogue-lite/like games go through, as you’ve likely used most of these skills during your main playthrough.

If you think combat is exciting, Valhalla is essentially nothing. but There are combat encounters, interspersed with parts where bonus stories can exist organically. It’s the same action as before, but made more exciting by the fact that you never know what’s going to happen or what skills or upgrades you’ll choose.


Joel from The Last of Us Part 2 Remastered.
Joyeux Joel? | Image credits: VG247/Naughty Dog

Elsewhere in Sony’s catalog is the roguelite survival mode that comes with The Last of Us Part 2 Remastered, which appears to be purely combat-based (although the game’s message about cycles of violence You could argue that it’s the exact opposite), and is clearly cut from the same cloth as Valhalla.

Even before either became a reality, Ghost of Tsushima was quietly stepping into the same territory with its Legends mode. It was more explicitly targeted at co-op play, but it definitely required reinstalling the game.

Additionally, all three modes rely largely on assets that already exist, leveraging systems and mechanics that players are already familiar with, and can also be enjoyed on their own. This could be a smart way to extend your PlayStation playtime, not to mention organically. Are first-party games consumed in our collective consciousness? I think each could easily make a convincing argument.

My only concern is that I believe that perhaps Sony will find it more palatable to players to see paid microtransactions in these modes. Adding them to key parts of the game is going to face more severe backlash, and Sony knows it. We’re clearly not there yet, but this kind of mode continues to exist as another potential means to extend the life of the game, potentially helping to offset rising costs in the process. It is clear that there is a possibility to make a little money.

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