During today’s Q2 2023 conference call with investors, Sony Vice President, COO, and CFO Hiroki Totoki (who’s currently the interim CEO of SIE and looking for a permanent replacement for Jim Ryan) revealed that half of the twelve live service PlayStation games planned to launch by March 2026 have been delayed.
Here’s the relevant excerpt as transcribed by VideoGamesChronicle:
We are reviewing this… we are trying as much as possible to ensure these games are enjoyed and liked by gamers for a long time. Of the 12 titles, six titles will be released by FY25 – that’s our current plan. As for the remaining six titles, we are still working on that.
That’s the total number of live service and multiplayer titles. Mid-to-long-term we want to push this kind of service, and that’s the unchanged policy of the company. It’s not like we stick to certain titles, but game quality should be the most important thing.
Over the years, first-party PlayStation games became synonymous with quality cinematic single player experiences. However, in the past couple of years, there was a pivot towards live service games, the industry’s hottest trend. While Sony vowed to keep making those acclaimed single player games, Head of PlayStation Studios Hermen Hulst didn’t hide the push toward multiplayer experiences:
You’ve spotted correctly that we have invested in live service games because that’s incredibly exciting for us. We have quite a few now in development or conceptualization, so yes, we are setting up capabilities internally.
Sony invested a lot to make that happen, chiefly acquiring Bungie for $3.6 billion specifically for its live service expertise. It also brought Haven Studios and Firewalk Studios into the PlayStation family; both developers are working on live service games that have since been announced: Haven’s competitive heist shooter Fairgame$ and Firewalk’s Concord, also a PvP multiplayer shooter.
However, there have been a number of setbacks for Sony, who had also invested in Deviation Games. The studio had its upcoming live service game canceled earlier this year after almost all the staff had been laid off, and there’s evidence that the project’s budget exceeded $50 million.
Even more worryingly, the long-awaited The Last of Us standalone multiplayer game has risked cancellation, although game director Vinit Agarwal just said he’s still working on the project. This could be one of the delayed games as Naughty Dog goes back to the proverbial drawing board.
Beyond Concord and Fairgame$, one of the titles due to be released before March 2026 is Bungie’s extraction shooter Marathon. This project was also recently delayed as part of Bungie’s layoffs and restructuring, but it’s still scheduled to launch in 2025.
With the notable exception of Helldivers 2 by Arrowhead, due on February 8, 2024, most of the remaining live service games are shrouded in mystery. We know Guerrilla is making a Horizon co-op game, and London Studio confirmed a year ago to be developing a cooperative online combat game set in modern fantasy London.
In other PlayStation news, PS5 sales reached 46.9 million units, while Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 sold 5 million copies as of October 30.