Another launcher on PC? You’re mental. That’s usually the kind of response I get when I say that I want a PlayStation launcher on PC, that or I get called a fanboy and or idiot. To be fair we already have Steam, the Epic Games Store and GOG, all of which are great. From a business perspective however, it doesn’t make sense for Sony to release their games on another platform, especially since they are looking to build a bigger presence on PC.
Sony Interactive Entertainment has been testing the waters on PC for some time now, yet they don’t really have much of a presence on it. PlayStation is one of the biggest brands in the world and the PlayStation Store is one of the biggest digital storefronts in the world and yet PlayStation’s presence on PC is mediocre at best.
Things have been improving, Sony has confirmed that it plans to release more PlayStation games on PC and they even bought a studio that specialises in PC ports. Both of these are great moves but it still feels like Sony are half-assing it. Sony’s presence on PC, a market which is growing rapidly is rather disappointing.
Beyond: Two Souls, Days Gone, Death Stranding, Detroit: Become Human, Heavy Rain and Horizon Zero Dawn have all recently been released on Steam and the Epic Games Store. Of these releases, only Days Gone and Horizon Zero Dawn was published by Sony despite all rights to the IP belonging to SIE.
It’s the same situation with Sony San Diego’s MLB The Show, which is published by the MLB on Xbox and missing on both PC and Switch. There are a few possibilities for this; Sony is either terrible at negotiating (which does not seem likely), they didn’t want to have their name associated with other platforms, they were testing the waters or they simply did not care enough.
We know that Sony plan on bringing more PlayStation games from the PlayStation 4 generation over to PC, we know that both Days Gone and Horizon Zero Dawn was successful on PC and we know that PC players want more games from PlayStation Studios on their preferred platform. With games like Gravity Rush, Uncharted, The Last of Us, Ghost of Tsushima and most importantly, Bloodborne, Sony have a library of games that would be able to entice almost any PC gamer to download a PlayStation launcher.
The big question is what does Sony stand to gain from a PlayStation launcher on PC? The simple answer is money, and a lot of it. Getting a PlayStation launcher certainly won’t come cheap and there is already strong competition but a PlayStation launcher doesn’t need to mean that PlayStation games can’t also come to Steam and the EGS.
One of the best features about the PS3 and Vita era was cross-buy, buy a game on PS3 and you get the Vita version for free and vice versa. Not every game supported this, in-fact it was mostly Indies and a handful of first-party titles. This was mostly because whilst it’s a great feature publishers would rather have you buy the game twice.
A lot has changed since the launch of cross-buy however, we now have “upgrade paths”. Upgrade paths give you a way to upgrade to a next-gen version of a game, usually for around $10. Whilst this feature is somewhat scummy for consoles, especially for first-party titles, it would make more sense for PC.
I own almost every single first-party title on PlayStation 4 and if I want to play them on PC I either have to stream it via the Remote Play app or wait for the PC port and pay $49.99 to do so. Giving Multiplatform gamers the option to access their PlayStation library on PC for a fraction of the cost could break Sony’s barrier to PC gaming, especially if the cross-save support is implemented from day 1.
Sony is one of the biggest entertainment companies in the world and it produces some of the best content in the world, it also has some of the best content ever produced in its vault. When it comes to content preservation there’s no better place than PC. From a purely video game standpoint there are too many great games that are bound to be forgotten because it’s not on modern platforms.
Games from the PS1 era like Vagrant Story and The Legend of Dragoon or games from the PS2 era like Xenosaga and Syphon Filter are being lost to time. The only hope for these games is to wait for a remaster, most of which won’t get one, or play them through emulation, which most publishers frown upon or take legal action against.
A PlayStation Launcher for PC could ensure that these classics are always accessible and accessible in a way that benefits all parties. This could also provide a large revenue stream for Sony Interactive Entertainment, adding resolution and framerate improvements wouldn’t require much effort and we know that there is a market for these classic games.
PC could also lead to second chances for franchises that didn’t find an audience on console or were successful enough on a single platform. Soul Sacrifice, Freedom Wars, Tokyo Jungle, Gravity Rush and so many other first-party titles from Sony Interactive Entertainment are deserving of life and increasing accessibility of these smaller games could allow them to live again.
At the moment Sony has been increasing investment in both anime and gaming, with the acquisition of several video game studios and the acquisition of Crunchyroll they now have some of the best content in both industries in their arsenal. Anime and gaming are not only thriving on PC but the markets are growing. A PlayStation launcher can combine two of Sony’s biggest departments seamlessly.
Sony Interactive Entertainment have already introduced something similar with the PlayStation 5, the storefront now has a dedicated subscriptions page that displays PlayStation Plus, PlayStation Now and EA Play subscription items. It doesn’t include content from the Funimation or Crunchyroll platforms and it probably never will given that the console storefront is rather more limiting than what can be achieved on a PC one.
With a PC launcher, Sony can make the PlayStation Store more than just games, the PlayStation Store can be the showroom for the very best of Sony. Anime, games, movies, music and TV, all under one roof. Sony has been trying to get their various divisions working closer together and a PlayStation launcher on PC could facilitate it.
PC, mobile and cloud gaming is the future of gaming. Consoles and handhelds certainly aren’t going anywhere but their market share is only going to go down from here on out. With the quality of PlayStation Studios, a rich library of exclusives, the brand power of PlayStation and the existing userbase of the PlayStation Network it makes this seem like a no-brainer. Sony is missing out by not giving PC gaming the attention it deserves and the longer they wait to do so the harder it’ll be for them to build their own platform on it. At the end of the day, it’s simply easier to release games on Steam and the Epic Games Store but in the long run, there’s absolutely no question that releasing a PlayStation Launcher for PC