This was going to happen sooner or later, of course, but it’s nice to finally be able to comment on it as a fact rather than a possibility: Sony has officially entered the PC games publishing business. What makes the move official is not the already two released PlayStation ports of Horizon Zero Dawn and Days Gone or the announced PlayStation ports of God of War and Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection. It’s the fact that Sony now has a full corporate entity, PlayStation PC LLC, under its wing as the proper publisher of these and other future titles. It does not get any more official than that.
Although an admittedly important step, it was never formally announced by the Japanese company but rather spotted by observant users on Steam, where Horizon’s publishing label changed to “PlayStation PC LLC” from the previously used “PlayStation Mobile” one. Further digging around revealed that this PlayStation PC LLC subsidiary was actually registered as a corporate entity some way back, on April 13th, in California. Yeap, that was one month before Days Gone was released for PC. It all fits.
What followed was, well, the expected mix of excited speculation and angry commenting. Many PC gamers are understandably eager to get their hands on some of the best PlayStation titles out there — among the ones not already announced, that is — regardless of when they were released or on which one of Sony’s systems (as long as those titles are properly optimized of course). Some PlayStation gamers were, once again, frustrated at the prospect of their precious franchises not remaining exclusive to their entertainment systems of choice, as if the fun others may be having with the same games somehow takes something away from their fun with those.
It’s not a pretty picture, that contrast of reactions. Fanboyism was and still is one of the most incomprehensible problems of our times, be it about football clubs, tech products, entertainment platforms or anything really. There’s not much that hasn’t already been said and written about all of this but, in all honesty, it’s still amazing that anyone has to explain to people in 2021 why “taking sides” when it comes to personal preference is not really a thing. It’s a hindrance. It’s an illogical reaction that has nothing to do with “passion”, as many put it, and everything to do with insecurity, with the need for self-assurance and superiority, with the thirst to belong in groups opposing other groups. It’s, in a word, pathetic.
In any case, it seems that Sony has settled on a plan that, incidentally, favors the fanboys. The funny thing is… it did not make that choice for them. Not really. The Japanese company knows that launching a AAA title like God of War: Ragnarok on PlayStation as well as on PC at the same time will result in a lot of lost sales because of the piracy problem still present on the latter platform. What this might mean in hard numbers is anyone’s guess but… why risk it? So Sony will probably not offer a tentpole PlayStation title to PC gamers on the same day anytime soon — unless it found a way to securely validate PC copies of its titles — giving to those PlayStation gamers annoyed by the notion of sharing entertainment products with others the validation they crave in the process.
What will be interesting to see, though, is whether the tables will be turned at some point in the future. If Sony’s PC ports of PlayStation games sell well or really well — and there’s no reason why not if they are properly optimized — it’s not far-fetched at all to imagine a scenario where PC gamers will start being the ones complaining. Why would they like being treated as consumers of lesser importance, after all? Why shouldn’t they demand to have access to Sony’s newest and greatest games at launch, instead of years later? Aren’t their dollars just as valuable? Ah, the fun we’re going to have then. No, not just with Sony’s games per se, but also with PlayStation fanboys trying to explain to PC gamers why they deserve first dibs on those games to begin with. So much fun.