Sony’s latest financial forecasts, tucked into a Wednesday presentation to investors, saw the company disclose plenty about its varied tech and entertainment platforms. Still, the presentation had a ton to say about its gaming space. Deservedly so: Sony’s “game and network services segment” drove a whopping $25.1 billion in global sales of hardware, software, and other products during the company’s “fiscal year ’21” ending in March 2022. (Microsoft won’t have its forecast available until its fiscal year closes in June; its gaming division reported $15.37 billion in sales for the 2020 fiscal year in June 2021.)
While perusing the company’s presentation, which combined present-day numbers with forward-looking estimates, one page stood out: “exponential growth” coming to its slate of games for PCs. The result is arguably Sony’s most bullish admission of how many Sony games, including previous PlayStation exclusives, could land on PCs in the next nine months.
$300 million, spread over how many games?
There’s no way for Sony to reach its sales estimate for FY22 without more new games—and lots of them. Its past two fiscal years of PC game sales total roughly $115 in revenue, driven by three ports of previous PlayStation 4 exclusives onto Windows: Horizon Zero Dawn, Days Gone, and God of War (2018).
Yet Sony insists that its next fiscal year will end with $300 million in PC game sales—a 375 percent jump year-over-year and nearly triple the past two years of combined PC game sales. That bold estimate only gets more audacious when we clear up an obvious question: No, Sony is not including sales of Destiny 2, which was developed by Sony’s recently acquired studio Bungie, as part of this estimate.
Instead, Sony Interactive Entertainment president Jim Ryan indicated that this drive would be fueled in part by the previously announced PC port of Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection (including both Uncharted 4 and its semi-sequel The Lost Legacy), along with two “unannounced” games. Ryan did not clarify whether the two games in question are merely unannounced ports of existing PlayStation console games or whether they may be entirely new games or franchises slated to simultaneously launch on PC and PlayStation.
Either way, in the short term, SIE has yet to release a PC game in its modern push that has exceeded $40 million in revenue in a single calendar year. Its three most recent PC ports have arguably entered a downward trajectory of reduced revenue. If we want to be particularly optimistic about per-game revenues, SIE would need no less than five new PC game launches, all selling at gangbuster levels, to get near its bullish estimate.
Nvidia’s 2021 dollop of tea leaves, newly examined
Bizarrely, the best resource we can turn to about potential Sony PC ports comes from the infamous “Nvidia leak,” which included stub entries posted on Nvidia’s GeForce NOW servers in September 2021 (and more in November). The leak had some truth to it, confirming wholly unannounced fare like the Grand Theft Auto Definitive Trilogy and Ruined King: A League of Legends Story. It also included two of Sony’s eventually announced PC ports.
The remaining games from that September 2021 list, in alphabetical order:
- Demon’s Souls
- Ghost of Tsushima
- Gran Turismo 7
- Helldivers 2
- Horizon Forbidden West
- “Ratchet and Clank” (no subtitle clarifying which sequel)
- Sackboy: A Big Adventure
Notice that the list skips PlayStation-exclusive franchises, like Marvel’s Spider-Man and The Last Of Us, in favor of unexpected titles like a From Software PlayStation VR exclusive and an unannounced sequel to a 2015 twin-stick shooter. In other words, it isn’t a catch-all list of top-selling console exclusives. Yet it’s still unclear exactly which of these had been formally submitted to Nvidia by Sony as planned PC ports and which, if any, were given Nvidia stub pages out of mere speculation.
Two games from that list, Returnal and Ghost of Tsushima, also appeared in a November Github leak of potential PC game launches sourced from Nvidia servers—though, at the time, those two games had PC port dates that have since come and gone. While Sony and Nvidia can claim plausible deniability about these lists, it’s tempting to re-read them as a path toward accruing $300 million in single-year revenue—even if its inclusion of recent PS5 exclusives raises our eyebrows. (On the other hand, Sony’s obnoxious decision to link Gran Turismo 7 to an always-online server structure would at the least pave its high-speed track toward PCs.)
However Sony’s PC porting plans shake out over the next year, it planted seeds for its bullish growth when it acquired the PC game-porting powerhouse Nixxes nearly one year ago. More interesting in the frame of this week’s PC revenue estimates, it’s worth noting that we still haven’t seen the fruits of that acquisition, as Nixxes didn’t contribute to the development of the God of War (2018) port that launched earlier this year.
The rest of the presentation teases further growth in PC game sales in the years to come, along with an equally bullish push for new games on smartphone platforms. By 2025, SIE estimates that half of its game-launch output will be on PlayStation 5, with the other half split roughly 60/40 between PC and mobile platforms, respectively. It also sees the publisher, which has primarily focused on one-off triple-A games during the PlayStation 4 era, announce its intent to release far more “live service” games, with two unannounced games coming by the end of FY22 and roughly 12 being operated by Sony by the end of FY25.