Few PC owners will argue against the notion that Sony’s project to bring its first-party games to PC is one of the best things to happen to the platform in recent years. Something we once thought impossible at the height of the console wars is slowly becoming standard practice, with both gamers and Sony reaping the rewards of blockbusters like God of War, Marvel’s Spiderman and Horizon: Zero Dawn coming to PC. .
But after the unanimous success of those games, as well as the likes of Days Gone and Death Stranding coming to PC, it seems that Sony’s momentum has started to slow. In recent weeks, Sackboy: Big Adventure and, more surprisingly, Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection failed to land on Steam with the seismic impact of previous Sony outings. In fact, they were both very slow. Steamcharts shows that Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection measured less than half the Steam play count that Days Gone, ranked just above it in player counts, had at the same time after its release, while Sackboy saw average player counts in the low middle. -100s.
So why has everyone suddenly gone cold on Sony?
With Sackboy at least, the reasons are pretty apparent, and that’s it, well, nobody cares about Sackboy. Sorry to Sackboy fan Ariana Grande and all the people angrily waving their furry Sackboy plushies in the air while insisting that Sackboy could be Sony’s answer to Mario if only he had the chance, but it’s true. I said a few weeks ago that within the Sackboy IP, it’s the beautiful creative engine that is LittleBigPlanet that would have the best chance to thrive on PC, rather than the anodyne platformer. Five, six years ago it might have been a different story, but today the PC is very well regarded when it comes to platform games. With so many great 2D platformers on the indie scene at reasonable prices, the thought of shelling out $60 / £50 for the two-year-old Sackboy is a bit mind-boggling.
Uncharted, inevitably, did much better than Sackboy, but still far from the less established Days Gone, let alone God of War, Spidey or Horizon. That’s a little more surprising, given the brand recognition of the series and the fact that Uncharted 4 was the second best-selling game on PS4, sandwiched right between God of War and Marvel’s Spider-Man. But there are a few things that differentiate Uncharted from its PC-ported peers that could work against it.
First, there’s the self-evident point that Uncharted 4 is the fourth game in a strongly narrative series, while all the other PS-to-PC games are the first in their respective series, and therefore a more welcoming gateway for new players. . Having the Uncharted: Lost Legacy spin-off will definitely help in this regard, because as spin-offs tend to do, it expects players to be at least somewhat familiar with the series. Both of those Uncharted games are great, make no mistake, but they never seemed to draw as much intrigue and passionate discussions as they did. another Naughty Dog series, The Last of Us. I’m sure that when The Last of Us Part 1 (and eventually, Part 2) comes to PC, it will do much better than the old Nathan Drake, because it just keeps more cultural capital outside of the Sony realm.
Some would also point to the fact that, coming out in 2016, Uncharted 4 is the oldest game to date that Sony has ported to PC, making it something of a distant memory in gaming. That may also be a factor, but it wouldn’t be a problem if Uncharted had some sort of foothold on PC. After all, Bloodborne came out in 2014, but it’s hard to see it not being an absolute hit ever coming to PC – part of the reason is that the Soulsborne series already has a large and long-standing following on the platform.
With Sackboy, the reasons are quite apparent: nobody cares about Sackboy.
To some extent, the wave of Playstation games coming to PC has benefited from a phenomenon I like to call ‘eventual game buying.’ It goes like this: when a game that has been associated or exclusive to one platform for a long time moves to another platform, people will buy that game not just because they like the game itself (although that helps), but to show their support for the company with the hope that it will encourage said company to bring better games – the games that we really want – to that platform.
It’s impossible to estimate how much of this phenomenon translates into actual sales, but you see it in user reviews for games all the time. Writing about the incredible Project Zero PS2 trilogy recently, I pointed out the various Steam reviews begging people to buy the ‘uh so-so’ Maiden of Black Water PC port to show Koei Tecmo that we want them to keep going carry the series. to PC, so that eventually they will get to publish the beloved original trilogy. It’s pretty bad consumer logic in my opinion but hey, far be it from me to tell people how to spend their money.
To a lesser extent, this is what happened with Playstation games on PC. Three of the four top-ranked “Most Helpful” (ie most “Liked” by other users) reviews of Days Gone on Steam make requests for other games like Bloodborne, Ghost of Tsushima, and (yes) LittleBigPlanet. It’s a similar story with Horizon: Zero Dawn (see image below). People may love these games, but there’s definitely a sense that a large number of reviews are doubling as wishlists, and that players are buying these games in part to propel Sony’s project and for future rewards.
Truth be told, most of the games that Sony brought to PC were great – blockbusters that are right at home on the platform. Perhaps that early success made Sony a little too comfortable, leading them to believe that PC gamers would buy the rather casual Sackboy: Big Adventure, or the fourth game in a story-driven series without playing the first three (still great) games. Alternatively, maybe these ports aren’t too heavy for Sony to beat, and it’s more about filling out Sony’s roster so that when they bring some form of Playstation subscription service to PC to rival Game Pass (as I believe they will ), they’ll have a large amount of first-party games ready to go along with it.
Sony’s PC project undoubtedly has many great successes and good times ahead. This isn’t even necessarily a bump in the road, but it is a sign that maybe the honeymoon period is over. Playstation games have been on PC for a few years now, and without the novelty factor and eventual purchase, the games they bring will have to hold up on their own merits.
PC gamers have shown that they won’t just lap anything that Sony delivers to them, but that’s not necessarily a problem when Sony has many great titles whose success on PC is as good as written in the stars. Now, I just need to finish this before I turn this feature into yet another wish list for Sony…
… but how about that Bloodborne, Sony?
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