The PlayStation 4 has dominated the single player market during its tenure but, after Business Insider interviewed Sony Interactive Entertainment chairman Shawn Layden, it seems like they have plans to shift their focus towards multiplayer in the next generation.
What Layden discussed may come as a shock due to the incredible critical, financial and audience reception of titles such as Shadow of the Colossus, God of War and Spider-Man. What all of these games have in common is that they are single player with a focus on storytelling.
When speaking to Business Insider, Layden said: “Couch co-op” is a “Whole category I think the industry needs to look back at.” He claimed that they “Might wanna revisit that to get more family engagement in the gaming experience”.
Sony don’t currently have “a whole lot” on “the multiplayer side of things”.
This is something Nintendo excels at with Sony and Microsoft instead choosing to neglect this former cornerstone of console gaming. Unfortunately, Layden’s nostalgia for couch co-op is not his main focus but it is nonetheless promising that the Sony Interactive Entertainment chairman understands the desire that gamers have to return to this experience.
Layden then moved onto discussing Grand Theft Auto 5’s online mode, Call of Duty and Fortnite, claiming that Sony don’t currently have “a whole lot” on “the multiplayer side of things”. However, this too seems to be a focus moving forward, as he then said it’s “an area where you will likely see us start to make more noise in the new term”.
Layden said: “Couch co-op” is a “Whole category I think the industry needs to look back at.”
There currently exists entries in the pool of Sony’s first party offerings - instant classics like Demon’s Souls and The Last of Us - that do include multiplayer, but it is by no means an integral part of the game like it is for the three that Layden mentioned.
It is unlikely that Sony will shelve single player experiences anytime soon but, after what his recent interview revealed, it is possible that their next generation line-up will see fewer single player experiences and a more balanced selection of multiplayer experiences.