• Hey, guest user. Hope you're enjoying NeoGAF! Have you considered registering for an account? Come join us and add your take to the daily discourse.
  • Hey Guest. Check out the NeoGAF 2.2 Update Thread for details on our new Giphy integration and other new features.

The hell is going on with Sony game studios?

Omnistalgic

Member
Mar 20, 2012
10,662
0
0
Jersey
They release too many games that don't sell well enough, its unsustainable for a company in Sonys financial position.

The thing is though there is no reason to expect only a weaker Sony to come out of this. There is a very good chance they will be leaner and meaner.
That's what we're all hoping for...

Truthfully IMO Sony has enough franchises already. They touch almost every genre, just need an rpg. Stuff like drive club IMO makes no sense...the team should just go and implement there ideas into the next gran turismo so it can get 9/10 across the board and sell 10 million units. Same thing with infamous, why cant Sony have an open world game where you can walk into buildings, swim, ride bikes, etc...assassins creed and upcoming watchdogs prove the gta outline is not dead, people love open world. Improve those 5-7 franchises up to the highest quality and max them out before trying new ip
 

R_Deckard

Member
Nov 14, 2013
1,530
0
0
The game is said to have been restarted 3 times so that adds up.
This is just crazy, I mean 3 times! If this is true then no wonder he went and I am surprised the FD did not follow him out!?

I am sure it is just a typical changing of the guard type scenario and in good news fashion it is the new thing to report on, like when you see dog attacks in the paper and then all of a sudden it's like the dogs had a meeting and decided to attack people all over the country, if it's not in the news it does not mean it doesn't happen!
 

daman824

Member
Sep 5, 2013
3,128
0
0
They release too many games that don't sell well enough, its unsustainable for a company in Sonys financial position.

The thing is though there is no reason to expect only a weaker Sony to come out of this. There is a very good chance they will be leaner and meaner.
Yep. They released too many B tier games that they just couldn't afford to market (twisted metal, psasbr, sly, ect.).Quality over quantity. Instead of making more games that they wont market or make much of a profit off of, spend that money marketing and developing the heavy hitters.
 

Calabi

Member
Nov 2, 2013
2,971
0
0
Well Bad management is another major problem with these studios. They really need to figure how to nurture those good managers and eliminate the bad ones, or at least reduce the impacts either way so they dont have all the power to fuck everything up. I dont see how its a good idea to have a single person within the studio that has the ultimate authority to restart a project three times.
 
D

Deleted member 80556

Unconfirmed Member
Whether it was $75 or $100 million Stig's game cost, it shows everything that's wrong with modern game development.

Why was such a large project even started if they weren't 99% sure of it being a great product ?.

There was a chance that TLOU wasn't going to be great because ND had no idea how to make the game.

So, would you rather not have had the game because they weren't 99% sure it was going to be great?
 

FiggyCal

Banned
Aug 20, 2013
7,057
0
0
These changes are for the best; except for Stig. We already lost David Jaffe -- God of War will never be the same.
 

RoboPlato

I'd be in the dick
Oct 29, 2006
42,984
0
0
This is a pretty simple one.

Sony does not have any money.

Playstation doesn't make any money.

No matter how well the PS4 sells, it's not going to make any money off Hardware.

Playstation wastes so much money making "Next Gen" games that they have little to no chance of turning a profit on software.

Game Developers are expensive.

This is what happens when you convince people that it is only okay to play games that push the technical limitations of barely affordable hardware. It's not just Sony, most AAA developers are having the same problems. There is a reason Studios are shuttering left and right and Publishers will only approve Sequels.
Sony's AAA budgets are smaller than most publishers and generally turn a profit on game production.
 

Alebrije

Member
Feb 25, 2010
9,944
1,886
1,125
Keep calm , Sony's studios are just evolving as a second level Frezeer transformation.
 

Bebpo

Banned
Jun 7, 2004
30,395
7
0
39
Orange County, CA
A few months or 1 year delay does not mean development hell, dude.

A one year delay for Sony's first major flagship IP on PS4 would be pretty bad. And less than a year away from release having any sort of major creative design decisions that result in directors leaving/fired is pretty development-hell-ish since it means they're far into development and don't know what kind of game they want it to be now.
 

keisuke999

Member
Jun 5, 2013
1,037
0
0
Tokyo
i like to think there's some conspiracy where in order to make games for PS4, you have to make a blood oath with Shuhei or something.
 

FriedConsole

Banned
Jul 1, 2013
5,440
0
0
There will be less first party games from Sony because putting out lots of really good first party games didn't sell consoles and those games didn't make money. You can blame it on marketing but those games didn't have a market to sell to.

For selling consoles:

Microsoft's timed exclusive of COD map packs > All of Sony first party games
 
Jan 19, 2013
1,318
0
0
Restructuring at the start of the new generation. Its pretty common business practice. WWS was getting to EA levels of bloat. For example, Studio London hadn't shipped a major game in years and had the largest headcount of all first parties. As somebody that covers the business side of things this was badly needed. They have so much third party support that they don't really need to be making games in every genre. First party need to fill gaps that third parties don't cover and leverage their strengths. Those are single player, story driven cinematic games that really show the PS4 off. If the rumors of Stig's canceled project as a Destiny clone were true, it made complete sense to cancel it. Even though it is a multiplat, Destiny is really more of a PS4 game at this point. Its being heavily pushed and could be identified with the PS4 the way COD was with the 360. Bungie and Activision is a HUGE get for Sony as partners and anything that rocks that boat is a bad thing.

The turnover in key people is part of the game when oversized organizations shrink. For some of them, like Tretton, it was a way to go out on top after a flawless PS4 launch. For others its just par for the course that we're just noticing more because of tiwtter/GAF etc.

Sony is committed to the PS4 in a way its competitors aren't to their consoles (Xbox is a small side hobby to Microsoft as a whole). With the TV divestment Playstation is now Sony's most important brand. The PS4 managed to make them a profit even in the usually loss loaded launch window. Sony itself is a lot healthier than it was in 2009-11. I wouldn't worry at all about their backing of the PS4.
 

Nafai1123

Banned
Apr 7, 2008
12,712
0
0
There will be less first party games from Sony because putting out lots of really good first party games didn't sell consoles and those games didn't make money. You can blame it on marketing but those games didn't have a market to sell to.

For selling consoles:

Microsoft's timed exclusive of COD map packs > All of Sony first party games

Yeah, that's why 360 dominated in sales throughout the entire generation....oh wait.

The only reason the PS3 caught up to the 360 was because of Sonys first party games.
 
Mar 27, 2013
4,246
0
0
A one year delay for Sony's first major flagship IP on PS4 would be pretty bad. And less than a year away from release having any sort of major creative design decisions that result in directors leaving/fired is pretty development-hell-ish since it means they're far into development and don't know what kind of game they want it to be now.

First, we don't know whether it was delayed or will be delayed. If it doesn't come out in 2015, then we can safely say it got delayed.

As for any sort of major creative design decisions - do you know for a fact that was why the directors left or were fired?

Do you also know for a fact that UC4 is stuck in development hell, i.e. no progress is being made on the game?
 

FriedConsole

Banned
Jul 1, 2013
5,440
0
0
Yeah, that's why 360 dominated in sales throughout the entire generation....oh wait.

The only reason the PS3 caught up to the 360 was because of Sonys first party games.

Corporations aren't trying to sell the most units. They are trying to make money. Who do you think got a bigger return on their investment? Microsoft doing a couple of highly profitable exclusives with a COD map pack deal or Sony doing all those first party games that didn't sell enough to make the money back?

Sony's plan is better for gamers but Microsoft's plan was better for investors.
 

Wartari

Banned
May 10, 2013
417
0
0
Corporations aren't trying to sell the most units. They are trying to make money. Who do you think got a bigger return on their investment? Microsoft doing a couple of highly profitable exclusives with a COD map pack deal or Sony doing all those first party games that didn't sell enough to make the money back?

Sony's plan is better for gamers but Microsoft's plan was better for investors.

You do realize that Sony has exclusives that sell well look at all the Naughty Dog games, LittleBigPlanet, God of War and Gran Turismo. Xbox only has Gears and Halo, and that COD DLC isn't free. Also Halo 4 cost around $80 million to make Naughty Dog games typically cost $20-30 million.
 

Nafai1123

Banned
Apr 7, 2008
12,712
0
0
Corporations aren't trying to sell the most units. They are trying to make money. Who do you think got a bigger return on their investment? Microsoft doing a couple of highly profitable exclusives with a COD map pack deal or Sony doing all those first party games that didn't sell enough to make the money back?

Sony's plan is better for gamers but Microsoft's plan was better for investors.

Now you're changing the argument. You claimed timed map packs sells more consoles. That is completely untrue.

And how exactly does MS profit off of paying Activision for timed map packs? All it does is give the consumer the perception that the Xbox is the place to play COD. First party games give the consumer actual exclusive games, which move more hardware and thus move more first party software (which they DO actually profit off of).


And you're naive if you think many of those games didn't make a profit. Sure some of them failed, but many were profitable.
 

Omnistalgic

Member
Mar 20, 2012
10,662
0
0
Jersey
Now you're changing the argument. You claimed timed map packs sells more consoles. That is completely untrue.

And how exactly does MS profit off of paying Activision for timed map packs? All it does is give the consumer the perception that the Xbox is the place to play COD. First party games give the consumer actual exclusive games, which move more hardware and thus move more first party software (which they DO actually profit off of).


And you're naive if you think many of those games didn't make a profit. Sure some of them failed, but many were profitable.
agreed but this gen it's just time to focus on the ones that are profitable and make them better instead of trying to filter more talent into the company. Really IMO you just need one big studio for each region. Sony has waaay more than that..
 

Byakuya769

Member
Jul 31, 2007
22,322
0
0
Yep. They released too many B tier games that they just couldn't afford to market (twisted metal, psasbr, sly, ect.).Quality over quantity. Instead of making more games that they wont market or make much of a profit off of, spend that money marketing and developing the heavy hitters.
Sly!?! I guarantee that game was profitable by a comfortable margin.
 

Glorified G

Member
Jan 24, 2012
7,966
0
0
This is a pretty simple one.

Sony does not have any money.

Playstation doesn't make any money.

No matter how well the PS4 sells, it's not going to make any money off Hardware.

Playstation wastes so much money making "Next Gen" games that they have little to no chance of turning a profit on software.

Game Developers are expensive.

This is what happens when you convince people that it is only okay to play games that push the technical limitations of barely affordable hardware. It's not just Sony, most AAA developers are having the same problems. There is a reason Studios are shuttering left and right and Publishers will only approve Sequels.

Can't believe it took this long for this post. This whole time Kaz has been running a ponzi scheme
 

scytheavatar

Member
Jul 30, 2008
2,561
0
0
Whether it was $75 or $100 million Stig's game cost, it shows everything that's wrong with modern game development.

Why was such a large project even started if they weren't 99% sure of it being a great product ?.

It seems that they WERE 99% sure of it being a great product based on Stig's reputation from GOW3. Problem is the 1% happens everytime.
 

Nafai1123

Banned
Apr 7, 2008
12,712
0
0
agreed but this gen it's just time to focus on the ones that are profitable and make them better instead of trying to filter more talent into the company. Really IMO you just need one big studio for each region. Sony has waaay more than that..

I don't disagree that they should consolidate and trim where necessary, but it's a fine line between making sure all games are profitable and forcing all studios to be sequel farms. They still need to allow for new IPs which will always be inherently risky.
 

Sacrimoni

Banned
Jun 7, 2013
298
0
0
I may be in a minority on this board, but i feel that sony has a pretty poor stable ofdevelopers left. To my knowledge they have the following

Sony bend - excellent handheld studio
Sony japan - ditto. But have just released the incredibly poor knack
Guerilla - recently released a poorly rated killzone gane.
Sucker punch - recently released the lowest rated infamous game on any system (but still rated welll)
MM
A naughty dog that has bled a lot of talent
A Sony santa monica that has bled a lot of talent
Polyphony
A cut down evolution

I can't think of anyone else. They really have been eviscerated since the launch of the ps3 and subsequent financial issues
 

crooked spin

Member
Apr 11, 2013
1,869
0
0
New York City
Could be that a lot of contracts were coming up for renegotiation and considering the financial situation Sony is facing (they hired Bain to trim the fat...) maybe some of these people weren't getting the % raises they were expecting? Money talks, talent walks.
 

travisbickle

Member
Mar 26, 2006
14,932
0
0
Yep. They released too many B tier games that they just couldn't afford to market (twisted metal, psasbr, sly, ect.).Quality over quantity. Instead of making more games that they wont market or make much of a profit off of, spend that money marketing and developing the heavy hitters.

What do you mean? Spend more money on Uncharted and stop making lower tier titles?
 

vinnygambini

Why are strippers at the U.N. bad when they're great at strip clubs???
Aug 7, 2013
8,549
0
0
Though not pertaining to the subject at hand, would one know the average budgets of Nintendo software or the most expensive?

They are portrayed as the most cost-efficient software company but never have I seen an ounce of data on the matter.
 

Lingitiz

Member
Sep 19, 2010
9,349
0
0
abrasiontest.wordpress.com
I may be in a minority on this board, but i feel that sony has a pretty poor stable ofdevelopers left. To my knowledge they have the following

Sony bend - excellent handheld studio
Sony japan - ditto. But have just released the incredibly poor knack
Guerilla - recently released a poorly rated killzone gane.
Sucker punch - recently released the lowest rated infamous game on any system (but still rated welll)
MM
A naughty dog that has bled a lot of talent
A Sony santa monica that has bled a lot of talent
Polyphony
A cut down evolution

I can't think of anyone else. They really have been eviscerated since the launch of the ps3 and subsequent financial issues

Infamous was great, ratings are a poor way to judge that game relative to it's place in the rest of the series. IMO its easily the best of the three and a very nice showpiece for the PS4. SP looks like a studio that will only get better over time, and they have a lot of talent to draw from in the Seattle area.

ND and SSM are still really packed with super talented people. Talent comes and goes all the time, but if you look at the core leads for the studios (Druckman + Straley for ND, Cory Barlog for SSM) I wouldn't be too concerned. Guerrilla is apparently two teams now and they hired the lead writer from Fallout New Vegas, which is a good sign. While Killzone SF is a flawed game, the multiplayer portion still tells me that there is potential within that studio. I would wait to pass judgment on Evolution until DC is actually released or at the very least shown to the public again.

If you couple this with the indie teams and second party devs that SSM works with, they will probably end up releasing a smaller set of SCE published titles that are of a higher quality, or result in less complete failures like what happened with Lightbox, Superbot, etc. It also seems like MS isn't pursuing Japanese development as hard as last gen, so there will be a few Japanese exclusives like Deep Down and the Tales franchise just because its the only viable console in that region.
 

Wartari

Banned
May 10, 2013
417
0
0
I may be in a minority on this board, but i feel that sony has a pretty poor stable ofdevelopers left. To my knowledge they have the following

Sony bend - excellent handheld studio
Sony japan - ditto. But have just released the incredibly poor knack
Guerilla - recently released a poorly rated killzone gane.
Sucker punch - recently released the lowest rated infamous game on any system (but still rated welll)
MM
A naughty dog that has bled a lot of talent
A Sony santa monica that has bled a lot of talent
Polyphony
A cut down evolution


I can't think of anyone else. They really have been eviscerated since the launch of the ps3 and subsequent financial issues

You shouldn't have mention Knack it was a shitty side project ( And conveniently leave out games like Gravity Daze,Freedom Wars, Shadow of the Colossus, Ico etc) . And to put the words poor and Naughty Dog in the same sentence LOL. Also Santa Monica canceled Stigs Project not their other projects they have multiple teams. Second Son is the best Infamous and I won't even comment on Polyphony. You also left out Media Molecule which has been consistently creating 90+ games on Metacritic.
 

Shinta

Banned
May 14, 2012
8,478
1
0
As much as I want to chalk it up to just the normal day to day restructuring, if this was happening at Microsoft EVERYONE on here, including myself would show them zero mercy. That is a fact. So no, I will be fair and think that something is up with Sony as well.

They've lost the leads of their FOUR biggest first party games all within a month (infamous, Uncharted, Drive Club, God of War), on top of Tretton and more. That is pretty fucking substantial. Uncharted 4 alone has shed 2 directors in as many weeks.

That is officially a shitstorm, and I don't care what insiders aligned with Sony say to the contrary.
 

Cuyejo

Member
Jun 25, 2013
1,308
0
345
Corporations aren't trying to sell the most units. They are trying to make money. Who do you think got a bigger return on their investment? Microsoft doing a couple of highly profitable exclusives with a COD map pack deal or Sony doing all those first party games that didn't sell enough to make the money back?

Sony's plan is better for gamers but Microsoft's plan was better for investors.

What are you taking about? MS Xbox division has been in the red since day one, also I wouldn't put moneyhats as good investments examples...
 
Jun 26, 2011
6,108
5
680
While Mort's post is great, its hard to ignore these are lead game developers leaving projects halfway. If they laid off minor staff to restructure it would not be a bug deal. But lead game directors leaving before game being shipped is a big deal. Uncharted 4 and Drive Club both have had this happen.
Was Uncharted 3 as good as Uncharted 2?

The answer is NO. Of course this doesn't mean Richmond was not a good director (although U3 did not control as well as U2, and the feel of the shooting was not as good, whereas when you look at U2 and TLOU, the shooting felt accurate and the weapons felt great), and Amy Hennig has been great, but if the team couldn't get on the same page then as a leader you've already lost the ability to negotiate and guide the team in the direction you want, it could be worse if the direct just impose his or her will and you get a mass exodus or mutiny. No doubt someone else will step up and direct Uncharted 4, maybe this is for the better.
 

7DollarHagane

Banned
Oct 18, 2013
11,437
4
0
It's just maintaining their budgets is all.

Plus the focus for their first party has been on finding excellent indie titles and propping them up as featured titles with support and marketing. It's a lot cheaper than funding so many of your own studios to do lower priced titles and unique, niche titles.
 

PanicFreak

Member
May 10, 2013
5,561
1
0
In the embrace of a wind hug.
That's what we're all hoping for...

Truthfully IMO Sony has enough franchises already. They touch almost every genre, just need an rpg. Stuff like drive club IMO makes no sense...the team should just go and implement there ideas into the next gran turismo so it can get 9/10 across the board and sell 10 million units. Same thing with infamous, why cant Sony have an open world game where you can walk into buildings, swim, ride bikes, etc...assassins creed and upcoming watchdogs prove the gta outline is not dead, people love open world. Improve those 5-7 franchises up to the highest quality and max them out before trying new ip

Then you will see a whole lot of complaining ala "Halo/Fable/Forza/Gears"
 

conman

Member
Aug 12, 2007
4,591
0
0
From the perspective of Sony's execs, the PS4 is selling fine on its own without the help of expensive first-party projects. The old philosophy was that a console needed those first-party studios (which often operate at or near a loss) in order to sell the brand. But from their perspective, that's no longer true. I'm assuming that they're going to try to adopt MS's approach of letting third parties carry all the risk, and it will probably work for the short term.

The problem is that that is a very short-sighted perspective. What happens to their next console when they haven't had the amazing first-party content to beef up the brand in the meantime?
 

Freeman

Banned
Aug 23, 2013
6,274
1,999
840
I hope all of this ends up being nothing. Some of those really bother me.

-Almost 100m on a game we will never see, should have shown whatever they had as "concept" and see how people would react, MS did this with the game Black Tusk and it didn't hurt them at all.

-Amy Hennig leaving is huge loss for Sony, they should at least have convinced her to join another Sony studio, most of them are in sore need of someone like her.

-Sony Cambridge should not be under Guerrilla.

-SSM needs to show a game soon.

-Sony needs their first party games as much as ever, part of why the PS4 is selling so well is because of how well they supported the PS3. Sony must avoid dragging the PlayStation division down with their other struggling business, cut down on the divisions that are not profitable, their greatest asset now and key for future success is the PlayStation.
 

LukasTaves

Member
Dec 14, 2011
9,869
3
715
What ms shown, whats nintendo shown? e3 is around the corner why in the world would they show stuff before that any of them?. If you read anything on mopheus its in devlopment and ways away from shipping, heck theyve been saying games need to be built from the ground up, jeff from giantbomb said they had a ground up demo built just for it what more do you expect from a device that is ways away.

Can't speak for nintendo because I barely keep up with them nowadays, but Ms has showed a very good glimpse of their expected first year output last E3. And if they manage to meet the dates with all of them they will have a very respectable year as a publisher.

They already published 10 games on xbone (either retail or download only), and has almost that already announced that's expected this year, not counting whatever they announce as a surprise at E3, and we know they have more on the pipeline, for example, at least a launch game for Japan.
 

EmptySpace

Banned
Jul 10, 2013
5,177
0
0
From the perspective of Sony's execs, the PS4 is selling fine on its own without the help of expensive first-party projects. The old philosophy was that a console needed those studios (which often operate at or near a loss) in order to sell the brand. But from their perspective, that's no longer true.

The problem is that that is a very short-sighted perspective. What happens to their next console when they haven't had the amazing first-party content to beef up the brand in the meantime?

gee way to speak of tales from your ass. you speak as if sony isn't making any more 1st party games or sony execs aren't interested in making games. cancelling one or two projects isn't the end all be all. did you also forget that sony is partnering with 2nd parties like chinese room and tequilaworks? sony has 14 studios, some have multiple teams. mlb the show is coming out soon, infamous just came out. oh wait, mlb the show isn't a game it's a sports game, amirite?

people say this every damn generation of the playstation. just look at ps1, ps2, and ps3. oh no suddenly playstation isn't interested in games. that "ps has no games" argument is as stupid as the "nintendo is doomed" one.
 
Jun 26, 2011
6,108
5
680
From the perspective of Sony's execs, the PS4 is selling fine on its own without the help of expensive first-party projects. The old philosophy was that a console needed those studios (which often operate at or near a loss) in order to sell the brand. But from their perspective, that's no longer true. I'm assuming that they're going to try to adopt MS's approach of letting third parties carry all the risk, and it will probably work for the short term.

The problem is that that is a very short-sighted perspective. What happens to their next console when they haven't had the amazing first-party content to beef up the brand in the meantime?
Does it even make sense for Sony to throw another $50-100 mil to make Stig's project work? There's no guarantee and Stig had already shown he can't get an original idea off the ground THREE TIMES.

It doesn't mean Sony isn't committed to having the best first party studios, but you're not going to have the best first party studios by burning money knowing you won't get anything good out of it. If someone can't deliver, isn't it better to replace that person?
 

daman824

Member
Sep 5, 2013
3,128
0
0
What do you mean? Spend more money on Uncharted and stop making lower tier titles?
Yep. Spend more money on their big franchises and end their less profitable ones. Almost every single other big publisher is doing this as well. AAA gaming is getting more expensive. Gamers expectations are increasing. So team sizes and budgets have to go up in size as well. Sony is shifting to larger games, and smaller downloadable titles.