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New Herman Hulst interview from GI: namedrops FROM and Kojima. Crunch. Japan Studio. PC ports. Etc.

BennyBlanco

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THE FUTURE OF JAPAN STUDIO​

Japan Studio, responsible for gems like Gravity Rush, The Last Guardian, and Ape Escape, went through a restructuring just this past April that re-centered the studio around Team Asobi, developer of Astro’s Playroom. As Head of PlayStation Studios, Hermen Hulst says that Japanese games are core to Sony’s identity, despite rumors of the contrary.“I will say that we are in some ways very much a Japanese company still,” says Hulst. “That’s our heritage. That’s still part of who we are. We love our Japanese games.”

When asked what the restructuring of Japan Studio means for the future, Hulst was enthusiastic about continuing to move forward in the Japanese development scene. “We’re building out Team Asobi under Nicolas Doucet, so we’re actually investing in that team. People forget sometimes that we have Polyphony Digital, which is a team in two locations. We are investing in our external development group out of Tokyo as well, and that’s a team that has obviously worked with the likes of From Software and Kojima Productions. So we are very invested in Japanese development and Japanese development is something that we love ... I think it’s such a core part of the PlayStation identity that I can’t ever see us shy away from Japanese or even Asian development.”

Hulst says that while PlayStation games have had great success on PC, the console versions still are the priority and games will hit there first. “Typically, there have been about two years between the release on our platform and the PC platform,” he says. “But you can rely on us to continue to create platform-defining exclusive content for PlayStation – that's part of the reason why we exist. It’s really important for us to squeeze the maximum out of the platform, to build showcases for the platform, and really let the audience see what these great features are contributing to the overall experience.”

CRUNCH AND COMPANY CULTURE​

As head of PlayStation Studios, Hermen Hulst’s job has him constantly interacting with developers, searching for new talent, and finding new ways to innovate in the game space. However, Hulst also takes his job of ensuring the members of PlayStation Studios are happy and healthy just as seriously.

When asked about crunch specifically, Hulst didn’t hold back, saying there’s so much more to the issue that needs to be done. “I read quite a bit of coverage on the topic of crunch and crunch culture,” says Hulst. “And to me, I always think that’s such a simplification of everything you need to do. I could easily say, ‘We don’t do crunch,’ and ‘I don’t like crunch one bit.’ But that’s not enough.”

Hulst speaks to a slew of issues facing developers and the different layers to them. “It can be just as stressful for a developer to be underutilized as it is to be working too many hours, or to work on something that is not clear. Or for a developer to join a studio and feel unseen, like [they’re] at home and nobody knows what [they’re] doing. There’s so many problems and so many issues that impact the well-being of our staff.”

Team Asobi experienced firsthand Hulst’s care for members’ well-being. “Hermen was there for us in the early days of Team Asobi as a careful mentor, making sure we struck a good balance between work and personal time,” says studio and creative director Nicolas Doucet. “I think he takes great consideration towards the well-being of his people.”
 

Hobbygaming

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"But you can rely on us to continue to create platform-defining exclusive content for PlayStation – that's part of the reason why we exist."

He totally gets it

Denzel Washington GIF
 

SSfox

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He is just saying what people want to hear, but facts are another story. Don't be blinded by the words.

They closed Japan Studio, and kept only small part of it which is Osobi team, while didn't acquire any Japanese studio, and still didn't announce any deal with Japanese studio, instead they announced some gaas deal with Jade .and ex bungies people.

Saying that games will come on PS5 first, well for now, he already has a plan for releasing games simultaneously on PS5 and PC but he just won't say straight, just like he acted back then that Horizon will be the only PS game that will come PC as the liar that he is.
 

bitbydeath

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He is just saying what people want to hear, but facts are another story. Don't be blinded by the words.

They closed Japan Studio, and kept only small part of it which is Osobi team, while didn't acquire any Japanese studio, and still didn't announce any deal with Japanese studio, instead they announced some gaas deal with Jade .and ex bungies people.

Saying that games will come on PS5 first, well for now, he already has a plan for releasing games simultaneously on PS5 and PC but he just won't say straight, just like he acted back then that Horizon will be the only PS game that will come PC as the liar that he is.
Japan was a bloated studio, the best parts still exist in, Asobi, Bokeh and xDev.
 

Unknown?

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He is just saying what people want to hear, but facts are another story. Don't be blinded by the words.

They closed Japan Studio, and kept only small part of it which is Osobi team, while didn't acquire any Japanese studio, and still didn't announce any deal with Japanese studio, instead they announced some gaas deal with Jade .and ex bungies people.

Saying that games will come on PS5 first, well for now, he already has a plan for releasing games simultaneously on PS5 and PC but he just won't say straight, just like he acted back then that Horizon will be the only PS game that will come PC as the liar that he is.
Eh if I'm not to believe him why should I believe some rando's opinion on the internet? You aren't even convincing.
 

yurinka

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So the new info I get from this interview is that he confirms again that will continue acquiring more studios and that XDEV will have an office in Tokyo so won't handle 2nd party games made in Japan and other Asian countries from Europe but instead will have there people who were in Japan Studio instead, people who worked with Kojipro or From Soft. Nice.

He is just saying what people want to hear, but facts are another story. Don't be blinded by the words.
He's just saying what they always said and made. Tell me, where is he lying?

Anticipation Popcorn GIF


They closed Japan Studio, and kept only small part of it which is Osobi team, while didn't acquire any Japanese studio, and still didn't announce any deal with Japanese studio, instead they announced some gaas deal with Jade .and ex bungies people.
Bullshit, they restructured and downsized Japan Studio into Team Asobi for internal evelopment and split its Japanese 2nd party publishing part into a separate XDEV office from Japan (before this interview we understood XDEV was going to handle from Europe their games developed in Japan and other Asian countries, but he says it's the team who worked with Kojipro and From Soft, so it's Japan Studio staff). After the restructuring both teams are hiring, we saw the related job offers.

In the recent months they also announced a company deal with Kadowaka which should result in multiple games and Death Stranding Director's Cut, released Japanese 3rd party exclusives like Guilty Gear Strive, FFVIIR Intergrade and announced new ones like FFXVI or Relayer (Kadokawa) to name a few, and have exclusives comng from Square Enix, Platinum Games, CyGames and more.

Saying that games will come on PS5 first, well for now, he already has a plan for releasing games simultaneously on PS5 and PC but he just won't say straight, just like he acted back then that Horizon will be the only PS game that will come PC as the liar that he is.
This is the 3rd or 4th time they mentioned they will port some old games (a couple of times they mentioned PS4, not PS5, even if I think that in the long run they will also release PS5 games after the PS4 ones) to PC. At first they said they were going to test the waters, and after being successful with Horizon and Days Gone mentioned they will release more (which also doesn't mean they will release all their games), being Uncharted 4 the next one.

They never said they plan to release their games simultaneously on PS5 and PC, in fact they bought a support studio who makes ports and mentioned they will make PC ports. Which highlights they plan to release old games because if a game is going to release on both platforms the main gamedev studio would handle both versions.
 
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SSfox

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So the new info I get from this interview is that he confirms again that will continue acquiring more studios and that XDEV will have an office in Tokyo so won't handle 2nd party games made in Japan and other Asian countries from Europe but instead will have there people who were in Japan Studio instead, people who worked with Kojipro or From Soft. Nice.


He's just saying what they always said and made. Tell me, where is he lying?

Anticipation Popcorn GIF


Not sure if serious but:



"Don't worry, Horizon coming to PC doesn't mean that other titles will too"


A month later

"Dayz Gone is coming to PC, and more games will come to PC"


A month later:


"PC players are important to us and we're looking at the right to release other Playstation games on PC"


So yeah sure, this guy never lied
 
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Elios83

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Hermen certainly has lots of respect for From Software and Kojima right?:messenger_sun:

Also:

Hulst also teased some new projects. “There’s a lot more that we've got in store that’s still unannounced,” he notes. “We have discussed a new partnership with Jade Raymond’s new Haven studio. I met with her and some of her team and I’m really excited about what they are working on now.”

As Hulst looks into the future, he still sees Sony’s exclusives as a big part of it, so don’t expect core franchises to jump ship to Xbox Series X/S. However, there is a chance for some titles to appear on PC sometime later, like we saw with Horizon Zero Dawn and Days Gone. “The one exception to the rule, that was MLB The Show; I think what people have to realize is that it’s actually [MLB Advanced Media] that’s the publisher on Xbox, so it’s not us,” he explains. “I honestly can’t see us doing that with one of the platform-defining experiences that we're making at PlayStation Studios.”
 
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Abandoned and Velvet Veil rumors seem legit.
You know a con scam is working when it makes you believe until the bitter end.

He is just saying what people want to hear, but facts are another story. Don't be blinded by the words.

They closed Japan Studio, and kept only small part of it which is Osobi team, while didn't acquire any Japanese studio, and still didn't announce any deal with Japanese studio, instead they announced some gaas deal with Jade .and ex bungies people.

Saying that games will come on PS5 first, well for now, he already has a plan for releasing games simultaneously on PS5 and PC but he just won't say straight, just like he acted back then that Horizon will be the only PS game that will come PC as the liar that he is.

TBF the business decisions aren't Hulst's, they're Ryan's. Hulst manages the internal studios to make sure production and quality targets are being met, shared resources are being distributed as needed, etc.
 

BennyBlanco

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Not sure if serious but:



"Don't worry, Horizon coming to PC doesn't mean that other titles will too"


A month later

"Dayz Gone is coming to PC, and more games will come to PC"


A month later:


"PC players are important to us and we're looking at the right to to release other Playstation games"


So yeah sure, this guy never lied



he has to appease these kind of sony fans who threaten his life every day for bringing games to PC. really tho it should be obvious more and more pc ports will come with nixxes purchase.
 
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YukiOnna

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We'll see. Still just talk and no action on the Japan side and I'm not convinced by swapping 3rd party timed exclusives as an example of them caring. Work with FROM and Kojima Studios was when Andrew House and Shuhei were still around/in your existing position, Hulst.
 
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Hobbygaming

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He is just saying what people want to hear, but facts are another story. Don't be blinded by the words.

They closed Japan Studio, and kept only small part of it which is Osobi team, while didn't acquire any Japanese studio, and still didn't announce any deal with Japanese studio, instead they announced some gaas deal with Jade .and ex bungies people.

Saying that games will come on PS5 first, well for now, he already has a plan for releasing games simultaneously on PS5 and PC but he just won't say straight, just like he acted back then that Horizon will be the only PS game that will come PC as the liar that he is.
I'll take more platformers over anything Sony Japan developed tbh, besides them helping with Bloodborne and Shadow of the Colossus
 
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BennyBlanco

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PSB: [How does] PC fit into the worldview of PlayStation Studios moving forward?

Hermen: We’re still early on in our planning for PC. And Horizon Zero Dawn has been very successful. I think it shows there’s an appetite from gamers outside the PlayStation ecosystem to experience the amazing portfolio of games that PlayStation fans have enjoyed for years.

But I want to emphasize that PlayStation will remain the best place to play our PlayStation Studios titles at launch. But we do value PC gamers, and we’ll continue to look at the right times to launch each game. Bend Studio just released the PC version of Days Gone on May 18. So that’s about two years after the PS4 release.

Sounds like 2 years is gonna be the sweet spot for single player games. He said the same thing back in Jan. Fully expect day and date for multiplayer games.
 

Optimus Lime

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It fills me with a sense of pride and accomplishment to know that due to my platform agnostic lifestyle, whether stuff releases on PC or PS5 day 1 is irrelevant since I'm adult with a job.
 
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yurinka

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"Don't worry, Horizon coming to PC doesn't mean that other titles will too"


A month later

"Dayz Gone is coming to PC, and more games will come to PC"


A month later:


"PC players are important to us and we're looking at the right to to release other Playstation games"
Before announcing Horizon they said a few times they were going to test the PC waters with a few ports of old PS4 games. I don't remember the exact words but I'm sure it wasn't '"Don't worry, Horizon coming to PC doesn't mean that other titles will too", in fact as I remember they didn't even mention Horizon. Do you have a source link?

After Horizon and Days Gone they said they were happy with the results of porting old games to PC and will do it with more games, and announced Uncharted 4 is coming too, in theory for the current fiscal year.

They also mentioned that won't do it with all their games and that their priority will continue focusing on making their next games for only PlayStation, so this old games ported to PC is something secondary for them (but obviously important, since they saw here a great and cheap source of profits). In fact they bought a team to make the ports and don't worry their main gamedev studios with ports, meaning that their main gamedev teams won't have to worry about making their games multiplatform.

So it's perfectly compatible to focus their main teams on making PS exclusive games with having a porting studio releasing some old games on PC to make some extra bucks.

So no plans for day 1 PC release for exclusives and focusing on delivering gameplay experiences that can only be on PlayStation.
Yes, it's what they always said until now. Their plan is to port some old games to PC but their main focus to make PlayStation only games.

In previous interviews Jimbo mentioned 'PS4'games' would be ported, notice he said 'PS4' and not 'PS5' games. But I assume that after some years porting some old PS4 games they obviously will start porting old PS5 games. And who knows, maybe eventually some F2P GaaS multiplayer game may be released day one on PC too or at least faster than 2 years, but seems that for now it isn't their plan.

Kills all those Bloodborne remaster rumours.
More old PS4 games are coming to PC. Maybe one of them is Bloodborne, which is the most played game on PS Now PC. It would require some tweaks that are also compatible with stuff added for a PS5 remaster, or at least a PS5 native version, Director's Cut or whatever they want to call it.

We'll see. Still just talk and no action on the Japan side and I'm not convinced by swapping 3rd party timed exclusives as an example of them caring. Work with FROM and Kojima Studios was when Andrew House and Shuhei were still around/in your existing position, Hulst.
Under Hermen position they released Astro's Playroom and signed the next Kojima Project, Death Stranding Director's Cut, which will be released soon. They also signed a deal with Kadokawa, From Software's parent company, where Sony would help Kadokawa's games reach a global audience and in exchange of that Kadokawa gave Sony 2% of the company.

Seems that now instead of being a department of Japan Studio now this XDEV Japanese branch team has their own office there in Tokyo. And we saw that like Team Asobi they are hiring after restructuring.

To move from full 3rd party exclusives to 3rd party console excluives or even 3rd party timed console exclusives is something common not only in Sony, but also in Microsoft and Nintendo. Game budgets increase, so devs need more revenue from their games. It also benefits the 1st party because the 3rd party exclusives get cheaper for them but still keep their PR and marketing impact.

he has to appease these kind of sony fans who threaten his life every day for bringing games to PC. really tho it should be obvious more and more pc ports will come with nixxes purchase.
They confirmed that more PC ports of old games are coming, being Uncharted 4 the next one. They also confirmed that the main task of Nixxes will be to make PC ports.
 
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bitbydeath

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More old PS4 games are coming to PC. Maybe one of them is Bloodborne, which is the most played game on PS Now PC. It would require some tweaks that are also compatible with stuff added for a PS5 remaster, or at least a PS5 native version, Director's Cut or whatever they want to call it.
Maybe, but it’ll be 2 years after PS5 got it.
The rumours had day and date w/PC.
 

kruis

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Hulst has killed two studios in his short career as vice president of Sony Worldwide Studios:

- Japan Studio (most devs have been fired, remaining talent now work at Asobi)
- Sony Manchester (unanounced VR game canceled, company shut down )

Now there's news that Wild has been canceled. Sony was bankrolling that game so it's likely that with the cancellation of that game the company specifically setup to develop that game is gone too. So that's number three for Hulst.
 
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Fake

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Not sure if serious but:

"Don't worry, Horizon coming to PC doesn't mean that other titles will too"

A month later

"Dayz Gone is coming to PC, and more games will come to PC"

A month later:

"PC players are important to us and we're looking at the right to to release other Playstation games"

Not to mention Japan Studio. Everytime Herman and Jin talks, backfire in a wonderful way.
People have short memory, but anw let people believe in whatever they want from this guy.
 
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Yoboman

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Hulst has killed two studios in his short career as vice president of Sony Worldwide Studios:

- Japan Studio (most devs have been fired, remaining talent now work at Asobi)
- Sony Manchester (unanounced VR game canceled, company shut down )

Now there's news that Wild has been canceled. Sony was bankrolling that game so it's likely that with the cancellation of that game the company specifically setup to develop that game is gone too. So that's number three for Hulst.
Yes that's his job
 

Jigsaah

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I never could see day and date with PC. That just like the snake eating it's own tail. It's different for Xbox cuz Microsoft owns Windows obviously and has services invested in PC.

Sony could have their own launcher I guess on PC...but they still value console sales as a major indicator of their success. So even a launcher on PC would undermine that if games were day and date.

That being said, 2 years still feels too long for a port.
 

YukiOnna

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Under Hermen position they released Astro's Playroom and signed the next Kojima Project, Death Stranding Director's Cut, which will be released soon. They also signed a deal with Kadokawa, From Software's parent company, where Sony would help Kadokawa's games reach a global audience and in exchange of that Kadokawa gave Sony 2% of the company.

Seems that now instead of being a department of Japan Studio now this XDEV Japanese branch team has their own office there in Tokyo. And we saw that like Team Asobi they are hiring after restructuring.

To move from full 3rd party exclusives to 3rd party console excluives or even 3rd party timed console exclusives is something common not only in Sony, but also in Microsoft and Nintendo. Game budgets increase, so devs need more revenue from their games. It also benefits the 1st party because the 3rd party exclusives get cheaper for them but still keep their PR and marketing impact.
I'm hoping they follow the same model they did a few years ago. It's not Japan Studio anymore, but XDEV working with other 3rd party studios to release AA/AAA partnership titles. Maybe Asobi's restructuring will yield different types of titles than just ones like Astro, but I just need to see some announcements before I can judge their direction.
 

yurinka

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Not to mention Japan Studio. Everytime Herman and Jin talks, backfire in a wonderful way.
People have short memory, but anw let people believe in whatever they want from this guy.
I'm hoping they follow the same model they did a few years ago. It's not Japan Studio anymore, but XDEV working with other 3rd party studios to release AA/AAA partnership titles. Maybe Asobi's restructuring will yield different types of titles than just ones like Astro, but I just need to see some announcements before I can judge their direction.
Unlike their other teams, Japan Studio wasn't able to develop a big seller games in decades.

It was a money sink, and Hermen did what had to be done many years before: to restructure Japan Studio downsizing it, refunding its development part to focus it on their most successful team and to move its 2nd party publishing part to their most successful 2nd party publishing team (XDEV) to have their own office in Japan with people who previously worked with Kojipro or From Soft. Firing/letting go those who were really unproductive and promoting their most successful guys, and after all that restructuring to hire people to grow the teams.

Now Team Asobi has their own office and more team members that have been added from other Japan Studio teams plus new hirings, and won't have to worry about the other unsuccessful teams or 2nd part publishing.

Their Japanese 2nd publishing team now will have a better team with new hirings, their own office and management and will work more closely with Sony's most successful 2nd party publishing team, XDEV.
 
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Fake

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Unlike their other teams, Japan Studio wasn't able to develop a big seller games in decades. It was a money sink, and he did what had to be done many years before: to restructure the studio downsizing it, refunding its development part focused on their most successful team and to move its 2nd party publishing part to their most successful 2nd party publishing team to have their own office in Japan.

Imagine Nintendo closing studios because they don't make money. You know, sometimes is not about the money. Is about reputation and legacy.

Or maybe Sony could follow Activision/EA path, release games in all plataforms around the world, mix of bad/good ports, microtransactions, half ass DLC just for... money.

As much Japan Studio not make any 'OMG money' games, they have legacy. They co-op with Bloodborne, one of the bests games last gen have and this is something.

But they don't care anymore about this. They just want more and more money. PS5 don't even play PS1 games and they almost close PS3 store because of... money.
 
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YukiOnna

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Unlike their other teams, Japan Studio wasn't able to develop a big seller games in decades.

It was a money sink, and Hermen did what had to be done many years before: to restructure Japan Studio downsizing it, refunding its development part focused on their most successful team and to move its 2nd party publishing part to their most successful 2nd party publishing team (XDEV) to have their own office in Japan with people who previously worked with Kojipro or From Soft. Firing/letting go those who were really unproductive and promoting their most successful guys, and after all that restructuring to hire people to grow the teams.
That would also be the fault of Playstation themselves, not just Japan Studio. They had plenty of talent and different ways to utilize it and approaches but I'd say they took the worst one by pulling the plug and remodeling around Asobi. Most ended up leaving before the announcement despite them denying it prior. Some of those IP's we will never see again just because they weren't a million+ seller that feels like the requirement is my biggest issue with the changes.
 
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ACESHIGH

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He is just saying what people want to hear. If you love Japan Studios games so much patch them to take advantage of the PS5 and release them on PC to expose them to new audiences. Playstation can't just rely on Ubisoftian AAA releases and GT.

Have an intern get you a PS1 and PS2 to remind you what Prime Playstation was all about.
 
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Concern

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He's just pandering to the mob. Just saying what people want to hear like "believing in generations". Its like some people like to set themselves up to get let down.

How about we get word on an actual Playstation event or whats the plan for the rest of the year? I've never felt better for not rushing out to get a Ps5 knowing my Ps4 will still get exclusives.
 

yurinka

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Imagine Nintendo closing studios because they don't make money.
It's what all companies do. They downsize and restructure unproductive teams, fire people unproductive people and shut down unproductive studios. Including Nintendo.

You know, sometimes is not about the money. Is about reputation and legacy.
Or maybe Sony could follow Activision/EA path, release games in all plataforms around the world, mix of bad/good ports, microtransactions, half ass DLC just for... money.
As much Japan Studio not make any 'OMG money' games, they have legacy. They co-op with Bloodborne, one of the bests games last gen have and this is something.

But they don't care anymore about this. They just want more and more money. PS5 don't even play PS1 games and they almost close PS3 store because of... money.
Even if you try it hard you make a very awful job at trying to spread fud.

Yes, Sony will port some old games to PC, but obviously has zero reasons to release their games on all platforms because they are the most successful console platform holder ever generating more revenue than any other console platform holder, selling more games for their consoles than for any other console in gaming history, dominating with their exclusives the GOTY awards during the last decade or having their console selling faster than any other console in gaming history.

And yes, like Nintendo they will make some ports, like Nintendo they will make some mobile games and like some Nintendo games like Smash Ultimate or the next Halo and Forza will release some GaaS with plenty of character DLCs or even more DLCs embedded in toys and in cards. But at least Sony doesn't reach the point of porting NES games to alarm clocks or 3 roms and an emulator at a full game price.

They don't put more PS1 games on the new console for the same reason they don't put more PS2 games or for the same reason XBO and Series have only a few OG Xbox games: because 99.999% of their console userbase doesn't give a shit about very old games and don't buy them, so they won't invest on something that doesn't provide them enough revenue to compensate the required invvestment. This is why Sony prefers to remake select old games instead, or Nintendo ports/remasters select old games instead and they charge for them as if they were made of gold. MS did it with Halo MCC and Gears 1, and doesn't do it for more games because they may have noticed not enough people would pay for them. They know their userbase doesn't have enough with ports or emulated decades old games, they prefer intead brand new big ass AAA games and quite frequently new IPs.

Ask Nintendo why they don't release an F-Zero or why don't they release another home console. Ask Nintendo why they keep milking again and again the same IPs after many decades instead investing more in new IPs. It's for the same reason Sony restructured Japan Studio or closed a year and a half ago Manchester Studio: because companies care about money because they are a business and not a charity. They avoid investing on unprofitable things and invest on profitable stuff that generates enough revenue, what it gives them more money.

Ask Nintendo too why they sell at full price emulated roms with a menu instead of making a full, ambitious remake of these games or a brand new sequel: it's for the same reason, they fans will game that emulated roms anyways and it's way more profitable for them to put a rom with an emulator than to make a proper sequel or a full remake. It gives them more money.

P.S.: As said in the interview Sony will continue publishing Japanese 2nd party games and keep there the team who did work with From Soft (even if they may have fired some of these guys). And not mentioned in the interview, but From Software's parent company gave Sony 2% of its company in exchange of asking Sony to help them give their game to a more global audience.
 
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Clear

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The most important bit of the interview in my opinion is this:

Hulst speaks to a slew of issues facing developers and the different layers to them. “It can be just as stressful for a developer to be underutilized as it is to be working too many hours, or to work on something that is not clear. Or for a developer to join a studio and feel unseen, like [they’re] at home and nobody knows what [they’re] doing. There’s so many problems and so many issues that impact the well-being of our staff.”

These are issues relating specifically to bad studio management, and its unusual to see this referenced even obliquely. Very positive sign that he's more about fixing issues than handing out PR pabulum.
 
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