The head of Sony Interactive Entertainment spoke with Gamesindustry.biz about the upcoming launch of PlayStation 5. In a conversation with the authors of the publication, Ryan spoke about letters from fans who did not have time to purchase a new Sony console, about the experience of past generations and possible studio acquisitions.
We have selected the most interesting moments from the conversation.
PS5 pre-order hype
As you know, the start of pre-orders for the PlayStation 5 was rather chaotic and eventually the consoles were quickly sold out almost everywhere. Now Jim Ryan receives letters from users who did not have time to buy the console, asking for help with this matter:
From the moment the pre-orders started, I open my mail every day and see a lot of very touching messages from people. Some of them were born in the mid 50s, PlayStation fans since 1995. They are asking for help in getting the PS5.
I am shocked by the number of letters from people of this age. This shows that our audience is expanding in terms of demographics. There are also letters from young people who are often more literate than those from 53-year-olds. They are as loyal to the brand as older people.
On PS5 sales and legacy dimensions of console success
Ryan also discussed with reporters how the PS5 can surpass PS4 in sales and why this way of measuring system success is long out of date:
There are more nuances. Look, we sold a lot of PS2s, but most of that sales came from the $ 99 model, which was heavily pirated. Nowadays success is measured in audience engagement: the number of users on your platform and how long they play on your platform.
We are optimistic about the number of users who will play on PS5. Firstly, we are no longer starting from scratch like we did with the PS4, because the PS3 was a rather disappointing console with low audience connectivity. We now have 100 million players who we expect to make the transition to PS5 very quickly.
About PS4 audience and revision of plans due to the pandemic
The head of SIE could not ignore the company’s plans for PS4. It is already known that some PS5 titles will be released on the current Sony console, however, many plans have changed precisely because of the COVID-19 pandemic:
Obviously, we have expanded our plans for the PS4 precisely thanks to observations over the past six months. This is important because even in 2021, 2022, the PS4 audience will remain the largest in the PlayStation ecosystem. It is imperative not to forget about these players and to do whatever it takes to ensure that they stay with the brand.
The last six months have shown that we are capable of this – before the pandemic, our plans were completely different.
About new studio acquisitions and competitors
When asked if Sony plans to acquire new studios and how it is going to build up its power against Microsoft and Nintendo, Ryan replied that acquisitions are possible, but the current studios are quite capable of fighting:
Obviously, people do not fully understand and evaluate how we pumped our existing internal studios. Of course, we recently bought Insomniac and this is a wonderful addition to the family. Just take a look at the PS4, PS3 and PS5 starter lineup. There simply cannot be any comparisons.
All this is not a raft of mass spending, but of systematic and stable growth. The best example is probably Naughty Dog, but they’ve always made great games. Let’s take a look at Ghost of Tsushima. The game has been well received by critics, and its sales have reached a level that we never knew existed. This shows how much Sucker Punch has grown.
We are lucky to have five or six studios of this class. But this is not just luck – these are years of fruitful work. We did it our own way. Of course, this can be achieved with insane spending.
Finally, Ryan said that he took part in all the launches of the PlayStation, but the start of the PS5 is the most outstanding for him.
The PlayStation 5 is slated to launch on November 12 and 19, depending on the region. Pre-orders are already open.