If Sony’s Vice President for Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe, Warwick Light, is to be believed, then PlayStation gamers are demanding single player games.
In an interview published in the latest issue of MCVUK magazine, Light took the opportunity to praise 2018 as a great year for the PlayStation brand, asserting that their exclusive single player content drove the momentum for Sony’s year in gaming. Light even asserted that there is still a huge audience for single player games with stunning gameplay and the best when it comes to narrative in contrast to the buzzwords being thrown around.
While 2018 was indisputably a big year for Fortnite, it was also a year which saw us really act like a publisher and focus on our exclusive titles whether it was God of War, Spider-Man, Detroit or VR titles such as Astro Bot.
Buzzwords are one thing, what our players are demanding is another. There’s still a huge audience for games that offer the best in single player narrative with stunning gameplay, as witnessed by the enormous popularity of both Spider-Man and God of War in this year’s charts. I was just at the Golden Joysticks – God of War won five!
The numbers do reflect this somewhat. Every year since 2016 has seen a minimum of two primarily single-player games hold spots in the top 10. Uncharted 4 and Final Fantasy XV held it down in 2016 – but, you could also argue the #1 selling game of 2016, Pokémon Sun and Moon is also a single player title. 2017 saw Super Mario Odyssey, Breath of the Wild, Horizon Zero Dawn and Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy hold four spots – again, with Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon being in there as well. 2018 is looking to end with two PlayStation exclusives in Spider-Man and God of War holding two spots, along with Red Dead Redemption, Far Cry 5, Super Mario Odyssey and Breath of the Wild holding down some spots as well.
However, looking back at the number of titles that held top 10 spots in those last three years, 4 are Nintendo 3DS and Switch titles, 4 are PlayStation exclusives and the rest are multiplatform games that sold more PS4 copies by principle. This isn’t to rain on Sony’s parade, they’re absolutely right…when it comes to the audience being there for single player exclusives. Demanding them is another story.
Let’s call a spade a spade.
Multiplayer titles have and are still dominated the market, and even without exact digital PC sales being accounted for, Fortnite and PUBG are still the most dominant games, while FIFA still sells like hot cakes, and has never dropped lower than 6th in global sales since 2012. Call of Duty has always charted high, while Grand Theft Auto V carved up the charts for a solid 3 years (2013-2016, narrowly missing the top 10 global charts for 2017.)
Taking the United States solely into account, the first time that more than one high-profile PlayStation exclusive single-player game took the top 10 charts would be 2018, with God of War and Spider-Man, the latter being a third-party title. Nintendo firmly took 2017 with Super Mario Odyssey, Breath of the Wild and Pokemon Ultra Sun/Moon, whereas the rest of the lifetime of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One’s lifespan saw third-party or multiplayer games dominate the US market. In Japan, PlayStation games barely chart top 10, Monster Hunter World for PS4 being the first non-Nintendo #1 seller in Japan since 2008’s Monster Hunter Freedom Unite. Japan really loves their Monster Hunter.
Again, demanding is a very strong word, especially if you take a look at the numbers. Yes, the audience is there, but are they really demanding single player games? One thing is for certain, Sony’s had a very strong 2018, and that is in no part to great games such as Spider-Man and God of War.