Sony Talks Shift From Hardware to Monthly Active Users; Plans to Explore Microtransactions

Sony Executives talk about the shift of the business model from hardware units to monthly active users, and the possible exploration of microtransactions.

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Ghost_of_Tsushima47d ago

“On the first-party side, compared to other companies, the proportion for Sony of in-game sales is still relatively low, but under Kodera-san’s leadership there will be “appropriate exploration and decisions taken in the future.”

I don’t know how I feel about this guy compared to Andrew House.

UltraNova47d ago

I really hope Sony treads lightly while 'exploring' MTs...cause if they pull a Microsoft or worse(see EA) on us we are all f*****.

UCForce47d ago

Yeah, I agree. Hopefully it's only work in Free to Play games.

Death47d ago

According to the article this has nothing to do with free to play revenue. It’s comparing Sony first party in game revenue to everyone else.

freshslicepizza47d ago

I told you guys this before and people argued against it of course. GT Sport going basically always online is a prime example. It pushes Playstation Plus memberships and data is collected so they can track gamers habits.

UCForce47d ago

@moldybread You are right about that. But MS do the same thing. Sooner or later, Nintendo will do the same thing.

Eonjay47d ago Show
yomfweeee47d ago


The game requires always online for everything, but it does not require PS Plus unless you do multiplayer activities.

BigWan7847d ago

While the folks here on N4G think in "Fanboyism" (myself included).. the folks at Sony think in reality, and that reality is call MONEY!
while hardware sales are important.. it doesn't matter if the gamer isnt constantly in the ecosystem at all times..

you play a nice game and then what? most probably turn the console off their playstation's until the next great game comes along. this doesnt make sony any money

sony is doing what microsoft (google, and apple too for that matter) do.. track user habits.

xbox players dont turn off their xbox... always in a party chat... always in the store, always in music, always on youtube... always on the xbox app...always on mixer...

sony sells 150k PS4/PSPro's in a month. sells 3-4million copies on an awesome AAA game.. not bad all in all.
meanwhile... just overwatch, rainbow six siege, or even halo 5 have generated WAY more money in a 2 week span.

EatCrow47d ago

What exactly has MS pulled in their games that you feel is so tragic? Im quite curious as I've not encountered it as of yet.

Why o why47d ago

Let's just hope it stays as an exploration not implementation. I see a lot of people here claiming 'you too' like it's already a thing. Let's hope the revolt and backlash from in house devs and customers is strong enough to dead this direction. Until then there's zero point anyone acting like it's already a thing. I'm also glad most people who favour the ps are against this shit too.

Eonjay47d ago


Good point I should distinguish fanboys from fans. Fair enough. Yes, the Forza fans actually managed to have a backbone against Microsoft and I admit I was shocked. I though they were all slaves. But I was wrong.

UltraNova47d ago


I wont defend paid online, but it was inevitable for us to 'accept' it because we get free games each month in exchange. You see its kinda ok when you give and get back something in return.

And dont forget thay if PS plus wasn't a thing today MS would never be forced to copy Sony (Games with Gold) and xbox gamers would simply pay just for the privilege to play online.

Now I ask you, are MTs anywhere near the same compromise as PS Plus is?

MrBeatdown47d ago (Edited 47d ago )


PlayStation owners got twelve more years of free online play than Xbox owners did.

And then PlayStation owners paid less than Xbox owners for three years.

And PlayStation owners got free games with their subscriptions, forcing Microsoft to compete.

That's how it worked out.

darthv7247d ago (Edited 47d ago )

Well... with certain changes Sony have made this gen it seems they are pulling a MS as they progress. Paid online, GaaS and now.... MT's.

@squall, just because you didn't buy GT sport doesnt mean you will not buy the next big game that you really want to play because it has MT's in it. There is always going to be something that entices the holdouts to make them cross that picket line.

Obscure_Observer47d ago


"I really hope Sony treads lightly while 'exploring' MTs...cause if they pull a Microsoft or worse(see EA) on us we are all f*****."

We already f****d! Lightly? Really? Things will only get from bad to worst very soon. It´s a new direction with new players! Gamers has to raise their voices against now!

Obscure_Observer47d ago


"The game requires always online for everything, but it does not require PS Plus unless you do multiplayer activities."

That´s exactly what Moldy said. GT Sport will push PSN subscription numbers because its focus is Multiplayer (Single Player mode may suck on purpose)! Add it to an always online game. There! You have it!

spreadlove47d ago


You are right. You did mention this.

Imalwaysright47d ago


Oh yes consumers have the power but only when they stand together. The crash and the start of this generation are proof of it but look at you already: they there, us here. With that mentality you're not going anywhere.

Also what you said is complete and utter bs.

47d ago
Bronxs1547d ago

We still have Nintendo for the one being.

Zeref47d ago

dude, Uncharted 4 and Last Of Us had Microtransactions. Stop acting like this is something new.

UnHoly_One47d ago

Not taking sides or defending anything here, but I need to chime in.

I see people making comments like "balancing their games like WB", which is a clear reference to Shadow of War and the end of the game that is supposedly balanced to push MT's.

This is FALSE. Whoever started that rumor was lying, pushing an agenda of their own for hits. I've played Shadow of War, I've finished Shadow of War, and the game is balanced to be played like a normal game. At NO POINT in the game did I ever even feel like buying a loot box would even help me. I DID NOT need them, because the game is not balanced to require them.

I'm just chiming in to try to stop the spread of this misinformation. It pisses me off because people that haven't played the game are spreading it like it's undeniable facts, and it is 100% false.

darthv7247d ago (Edited 47d ago )

@beatdown "And what we are paying for is a far better package than what $50 would get you on Xbox Live twelve years ago." some would argue against that. the quality of service is still below what MS has been able to provide in terms of throughput and load balancing and features over those twelve years.

The only ones who are really "fighting the good fight" against pay to play online are those who don't have PS+ or Gold, and yes... there are people who have xbo and ps4 like that. They may be missing out on the multiplayer aspect but I don't think it really bothers them that much. these are the ones that Sony and Ms are trying to tempt into their webs with all sorts of offers.

@indy... like that's going to stop someone from buying a game they really want to play. If it was revealed that the new God of War had MT's... that's not stopping me from playing it.

morganfell47d ago (Edited 47d ago )

"What exactly has MS pulled in their games that you feel is so tragic? Im quite curious as I've not encountered it as of yet."

Then you have not played HALO 5 Multiplayer. REQ packs are a pure form of MT and it equates to pay to win. You can still earn the points in game - just like Shadow of War - but remember how that Single Player was attacked. This is Multiplayer. Sure you can earn REQ points and get a daily log on pack, or earn from your game performance. But its still there. Players can buy the REQ packs with real money on demand and you do not know exactly what you will get. You know they may be Common, Uncommon, Legendary items, etc but that's it. And its Multiplayer. Spend your way to be a far better player than you would be otherwise. Most REQ items are one time use. As soon as you die you lose them. Its why HALO 5 Multiplayer is more like Call of Duty. The game moves faster you die faster and this leads people to buy REQ faster. HALO 5 MP is about selling REQ from the Xbox store.

Of course you didn't hear a peep from these Xbox fans here now suddenly having a hissy fit over Sony discussing, just discussing the idea. MS went and did it with their biggest franchise and all these guys said was listen to the cricket farm.

Why o why47d ago

Morgan.....yep. They're comparing and grouping an idea vs a fact. Rhetoric vs reality. Always online was going to be a fact but people on all sides stood up....made the idea less probable. Sony fans don't want this so what is the point claiming we are ok with it.... waste.

Use some of that energy on your console of choice. ...its got more pressing issues to overcome than pointing the finger at sony and its fans... we'll let them know our thoughts

GT6747d ago (Edited 47d ago )

@ Ultra Nova

No, we're not Screwed .

Here's why : Sony "Only" a business so they survive off our money . We the "Gamer" has the "Power" to control the industry with our wallets. the industry don't control us we control THEM . only way Sony able to achieve Microtransaction scheme on us is if we put up with their scam. "IF" that happen All games be half done and we gamers will Suffer paying for DLC to finish what should have been complete game. Best thing to do is to Protest by making our voice heard through Facebook , YouTube video , online petition.
when a village together theirs Power .
I reject Microtransaction gaming whose with me.

UltraNova46d ago


I'm with you brother but you, myself and a couple others dont make up a grand stand. This needs to be a collective effort. Call me pessimistic but I believe the fight against MTs was lost long before we began discussing it. There's just too much money to be made by those who dont care (EA made 800 million from FIFA 16'a online alone) for publishers to simply listen to us insignificant few.

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lelo2play47d ago


Such a ugly word...

rpvenom47d ago

osaijdsaildnasljkdn alskjdn kajsdk jdna klsjdn k F*** F*** F*** Noooooooooo whyyyyyyyyyyy YOU WERE THE CHOSEN ONE SONY!!! DAMN ITTT!!!

Cupid_Viper_347d ago (Edited 47d ago )

And this is exactly what I was talking in the article from titled "570°
Microtransactions and Loot Boxes Aren't the Devil, and They're Not Gambling".

People kept defending this practice with by saying things like: "Oh well, it doesn't affect me because I don't buy them per se". Or, some will flat out defend it because their favorite company is going all-in with GAAS because they can't sell consistently sell more than 25-30 million consoles per generation. But this is the end result...

No company is going to sit back and watch its competitors rake in BILLIONS... not millions but BILLIONS of dollars using a technique that the most gullible of us are happy to pay for. This is how we went from free online on the PS3 and PSVita to now have it behind a paywall. And one of the big reasons why is because last generation all we heard about was how much of a PRIVILEGE it was to pay for XBox Live. All the big publications like IGN and 1UP and others kept telling us of how it's ok to pay for XBox Live because it was supposedly LIGHT YEARS better than anything else. Except that it actually wasn't, PSN had more games with dedicated servers and the could support huge numbers of players like seen in Resistance 2, and MAG and such...

MS boasted about their revenues from XBox Live almost every chance they got, and their fans loved it. Even defending Netflix and the web browser being behind the XBox Live Paywall. And of course, Sony took notice and now PS Plus is mandatory for online play on the PS4. Coincidence? Just to refresh your memories check out this link here: and you'll see the extent some went to defend Xbox Live.

Gaming publications that are supposed to actually do some real journalism and put a microphone in these guys faces and hold them to task and force them to answer some tough questions.... never happened. They were/are echo chambers just repeating whatever PR nonsense came from Activision, EA, MS the vast majority of the time.

And now the same thing is going on with MTs. As stated in this article, Sony is lagging behind its competitors in terms of revenues from MTs in their games but this is about to change because once again, billions of dollars are now at stake.

From Sony's perspective it must be something like this: "So we make some of the best games in the industry and yet it's these other guys with their yearly recycled games are the ones raking in billions in MTs...?"

JBaby34347d ago

@Cupid Viper: That was so well said that you deserve a hug or something. I feel the same. This has been building step by step and people have watched as it grows little by little. It will only get worse and some people will keep cheering for it.

The_KELRaTH47d ago

I suspect it will be changed in the foreseeable future to minitransactions

mikeboccher46d ago

@cupid_viper_3 I wrote that article you are referring to. But you're mistaken. people were pissed about Netflix behind Xbox Live b/c it's paying to use something you're already paying for. Games is a different story. Paying to be able to play online isn't a bad thing. I mean, how do you expect them to be able to maintain the servers. They shouldn't have to dip into their own profits solely because you don't like it. And what hard questions are you referring to? Just because you dont' like something doesn't mean it's wrong. If something is an option than who cares? that's not a problem.

Unspoken46d ago

This is bittersweet. Microsoft was staying ahead of the curve when all of their major hitters where laden with MTs, too ahead. Enjoy it while it lasts.

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threefootwang47d ago ShowReplies(1)
Obscure_Observer47d ago

Looks like Sony is following Microsoft´s steps again (in a bad way)

spreadlove47d ago

lol. They are now talking about MAU just like MS. They are also now going into microtransactions. It's clear now why Andrew House left.

Liqu1d47d ago

They already talked about MAU. They already did microtransactiions.

spreadlove47d ago (Edited 47d ago )


it is about to get better. lmao!

In a year or two with the new head of Playstation, every one will suddenly be cheering MAU and microtransactions. Maybe even MP games.

thisismyaccount47d ago

... what is worse is that after online pay (thanks M$!), we get linear single player games from Sony chopped up into pieces? and distributed via GaaS digitally ... ; got no clue, how they´re going to implement these micro-annoyances into Ghost of Thsuami or TLOU2? or any other non-multiplayer-type game made by Sony, essentially all of them ... except GT:S.

Who do we have to blame for this? First online pay, now this ... what´s next? Who gives a damn, what M$? makes or not ... they´ve sold 50% less console this year and you are telling me that they make lots of cash with micro-annoyances .. how is that even possible?

They plan to reach 70mill. sold software titles this fiscal year. Whereas Sony hit a whopping 260mill. last year alone ... are those 260mill. sold titles NOT enough dough, so your lesbian-liberal-millennial-bor ed-to-death-daughter can go to the university and study some BS only to quit or change profession?!

Jinger47d ago (Edited 47d ago )

UC3/4 and TLoU already had MT's in them... I expect TLoU 2 to follow suit as well.

Too little is known about Ghost of Tsushima to see how it would be implemented or if it will even have a MP mode.

Zeref47d ago

I love how people act like this is something New that sony is doing when their biggest franchise, LoU and UC already had Microtransactions.

zahdab47d ago

hope they keep it an exploration and don't turn into an exploitation .....

darthv7247d ago (Edited 47d ago )

It's inevitable

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ninsigma47d ago

So are they going to stop reporting units sold or report both??

Please don't ruin the developers good work with badly implemented DLC. Especially the single player stuff!

UCForce47d ago (Edited 47d ago )

Yeah, I agree. Like my previous comments , microtransaction is only work in Free to Play game. Just don't put it in AAA games. Hopefully, Sony report both Hardware and Software.

freshslicepizza47d ago

They are already in place in their AAA games, what are you talking about? You can buy items in Uncharted like pirate hats. One of the worst offenders ever was Little Big Planet and all the items you could buy.

"So are they going to stop reporting units sold or report both??
Please don't ruin the developers good work with badly implemented DLC. Especially the single player stuff!"

Those NPD numbers stop being public because of Sony last generation. You guys think they are always transparent? We still don't have any idea how well Playstation Now is doing, how many people use that per month?


NoPeace_Walker47d ago (Edited 47d ago )

SOE, the former Free to Play developers that made games like Planetside, are sold off to another company by Sony. So what other type of games does Sony make besides games like TLOU 2 and GOW4? It is coming people, and I surely hope the people that hold their own standard on their opinion of MC in games will feel the same for Sony when that time comes . I, myself have no issue with it if it doesn't affect gameplay and are optional.

Knushwood Butt47d ago (Edited 47d ago )

You can buy pirate hats, that add nothing to the game, or you can get them simply by playing the game.

I think I have all pirate hats unlocked, and not a single one equipped.

Ittoittosai47d ago (Edited 47d ago )

Nopeace_walker- your part of the problem. MT always effect game play and more and more are not optional. You know why people love that word or phrase "optional" because it alloes them to say "oh well the free market blah blah blah" when all they really mean is "we know people are lazy and stupid and casuals will just fork over money for stuff". Look at Forza, Shadow of War hell Ac orginis. In AC Origins its an unlockable Skill, in the damn skill tree, to purchase crafting materials from venders and unlockable skill to use a vender how a vender has always been used before, then venders carry very small amounts of the crafting materials requiring you to travel across the map, which is very big, to get enough to upgrade you health, arrow ammo and other things or you can spend 20$ on a "time saver" to get enough to max out you gear. Thats BS. Your additude leads to an eventual colapse of the gaming industry or market as people will get tired of paying 60$ then getting nickled an dimed to death while paying. Its so bad now there are advertizements in the damn game menus for these game telling you "hey we have MT".

Jinger47d ago


Yeah and the majority of other MT's are optional also and only cosmetic, but that doesn't stop people from bitching about them.

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andrewsquall47d ago

Of course they didn't say that "Hardware sales are still important", I don't see anything that throws this question up.

rainslacker47d ago

I can understand why any company that has services to offer would want to look at MAU's. It's a good metric for measuring potential. However, selling more hardware will also increase MAU's, particularly for a company like Sony which doesn't have as many outlets to bolster their numbers like MS does in Windows.

As far as MT go, it's not like it's new ground for Sony. They've had them in quite a few of their games to date. The important thing is how they're implemented, and overall, I don't feel that Sony exploits MT as much as some of the other publishers do, and if they kept doing what they're already doing, I don't really see the problem.

Overall, all I care about is if Sony keeps providing me with the kind of content that I already get on the system. If they shift to more GaaS to push this shift more, then I'll be upset and say something then. It's hard to say if they're doing that now, because they only have one major game right now which I consider to be a GaaS type game, and that's GT:S.

TankCrossing47d ago

Yes yes, that's it. Follow Microsoft into the abyss. I hear it is wonderful.

Give it another ~20 years and we'll start hearing how Nintendo are beginning to track monthly active users over hardware sales as well.

UCForce47d ago

Like my previous comments, every publishers like Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo and others will follow the suit.

Death47d ago

Hardware sales are important to fans that want to feel better about their purchase. Active users generate more profit and is the metric platform holders use to better measure success since it’s a stream of constant revenue.

UCForce47d ago

@Death Hardware sales are very important, too. But I'm just concerned about Sony maybe ignores it in the future which I'm not okay with it.

TankCrossing47d ago (Edited 47d ago )

Of course hardware is important to Sony. What else will their "Active Users" be playing on? PSNow? I don't think Sony are going to throw all their eggs in that basket just yet so you've got nothing to worry about.

By the same logic, you can understand why hardware might be a less important metric to Microsoft.

Cobra95147d ago

TankCrossing, you're missing the point. If active users are the only metric they go by, then the hardware gets marginalized. If the service side of the business trumps the hardware side, then they start doing things real gamers don't want, like publishing on other platforms, including mobile, or streaming games to any number of devices, and charging you piecemeal for every little thing they can--games as a service. *Shudder* The PS4, PS5 etc won't be their main focus anymore.

TankCrossing47d ago

@Cobra they aren't gonna take down the walls around the playsration garden. Not unless the money they'd make would be greater than the money they make as a platform holder, taking their cut of everything published to the platform.

darthv7247d ago

If I may interject. Hardware sales are no longer a proper way to measure the actual number of people who game. I will explain it like this. Since the last few generations it has become rather popular to double and triple dip when it comes to the hardware. Either people want the newer design or they are replacing a unit that has issues or they just want to have a 2nd or 3rd in the house (one for them, one for the kids).

They have to look at game sales and MAU's to understand the size of the user base (and even that is not 100% accurate). I'm pretty sure everyone knows this but hardware is usually sold at a loss because the real $$ makes is from software (and now GaaS and MT's and subscriptions)

TankCrossing47d ago (Edited 47d ago )

Console hardware hasn't been sold at a loss for at least a decade, and multi-console owners/homes is nothing new really.

Active (online) users is a better indication of the more lucrative and valuable audience, and the tools to measure it are there so it it makes sense to track the metric they care about.

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PunisherRevenge47d ago (Edited 47d ago )

Yes we all know Microsoft is the only company that implemented microtransactions when other company's have been doing this for years especially on the mobile side of gaming. Microsoft is to blame for everything negative in gaming. Sony and Nintendo has never used microtransactions or online passes in their games.

ImGumbyDammit47d ago

I think people don't understand you are being sarcastic or you be getting barraged with down votes because, people actually believe that the evil of everything has it origins at Microsoft.

47d ago
RememberThe35747d ago

Is it too early to say "fuck Kodera-san"?

I already bought the god damn game I don't want to pay more to unlock the rest of it!

47d ago
Zeref47d ago (Edited 47d ago )

it's because hardware sales do not bring profit. Monthly active users say more about profitability than hardware sales.

Microsoft is a business it was just a business decision, A smart one seeing that Sony Is going to do the same now.

People on N4G think they know business better than these companies.

rainslacker47d ago

I'm sure they all track it in some way. In fact, it's a regularly published metric within their quarterly publisher reports which give out stats like software sold, number of active users, number of online user, engagement numbers, and tons of other metrics which may be used by publishers to decide to release a game on the system. It's important information for publishers.

The problem comes in when the MAU is the primary and only metric which seems to be focused on, and many of the services and games seem to be centered around increasing those numbers by making software which is directly related to increasing said numbers, as opposed to making software which just lets them grow more naturally by increasing user base by providing more for more people.

I felt MS shift to MAU's was more due to the fact they were trying to make Windows into a service over an OS. XBL helped bolster those numbers, and eventually, making XBL part of windows bolsters XBL numbers thus potential revenue.

Ultimately, it all comes down to what happens to the software as a whole.

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Edito47d ago

Let's see how this turns out, i really like the House approach he seemed like a very kind and soft guy.

BadBoyC47d ago

House is the type of guy you don't really care for when he's there but miss once he's gone and someone worse takes his place.

Cobra95147d ago

Yes. And if this story isn't just a one-off fluke, that's exactly what I fear may have happened.

goken47d ago