Sony expects an even better year for PlayStation 5 first-party games

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Sony announced its annual financial results this morning, and the company’s games division is doing well. PlayStation 5 hardware sales are at a record pace. The company’s digital services and sales, meanwhile, generate huge profits. But if what you’re interested in is gaming, Sony Interactive Entertainment has provided reason to be even more excited about the future of first-party versions of the PlayStation 5.

As part of its outlook for fiscal year 2021, Sony has highlighted a number of positive and negative indicators for its operating profits. For example, he expects the profitability of PS5 hardware to improve over the next year. Along with this, the company also noted that it expects to see an “increase in proprietary securities revenue” from fiscal 2020.

This is notable as Sony had a strong 2020 with the launch of massive games on a PS4 with a huge install base. If Sony’s 2021 fiscal year (which runs through March 2022) is going to generate even more revenue for first-party games, that must mean Sony has some big releases in the works.

Let’s look at the games of 2020 for comparison:

  • Ghost of Tsushima
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales
  • Predator: hunting grounds
  • Sackboy: A Big Adventure
  • The Last of Us Part II
  • Patapon 2: remastered
  • Marvel’s Iron Man VR
  • Tilting brush
  • Demon’s Souls
  • All-Star Destruction

It is a stacked list. Ghost of Tsushima sold 6.5 million copies in March. And The Last of Us Part II and Miles Morales both sold even better than Ghost (at least in the US). These are massive blockbusters. Matching just these three games would prove difficult for Sony’s 2021 lineup, and that’s before counting games like Demon’s Souls and Sackboy.

And 2021 then? Well, here’s what Sony has talked about or posted so far:

  • MLB The Show 21
  • Return
  • Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
  • Horizon: West forbidden
  • god of war 2

Does Sony have any more surprise PlayStation 5 releases this year?

If Sony wants to increase revenue from its first-party games over 2020, it will need to release a handful of blockbusters. And it could do it. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, Horizon: Forbidden West, and the new God of War could match 2020’s trifecta. But that’s assuming God of War 2 launches before March 2022.

But even if God of War releases this exercise, will it be enough to increase revenue? It’s possible, especially since Sony didn’t launch an MLB The Show in its last fiscal year. MLB The Show 2020 debuted in March 2020 at the end of the previous fiscal year. And MLB 2021 launched in April, pushing it out of fiscal 2020. On top of that, MLB The Show is now also on Xbox.

Sony also plans to release more of its first-party games on PC. Games like Days Gone on Steam will help generate more revenue for first-party Sony games.

Still, it seems likely that Sony Interactive Entertainment has more first-party games in the works for this year. During a call with investors, Sony CFO Hiroki Totoki revealed that the company is investing more in first-party games this year, according to a VGC transcript.

“We intend to increase development personnel and other internal costs by about 20 billion yen [$183 million] compared to last year,” Totoki said. “This comes as we further strengthen our internal software.”

But Sony cannot rely solely on in-house studios.

“To improve our software offering, we will continue to invest in partnerships with external studios in addition to investing aggressively in our internal studios,” Totoki said. “We aim to strengthen the PlayStation platform through deals like the recently announced partnership with Haven Entertainment.”

These first-party publishing deals could result in new releases by March 2022. And if they do, we should hear about it soon.

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Joseph K. Bennett