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Sony CEO Confirms Nixxes to Port PlayStation Games to PC

God of War could eventually reach PCs.
God of War could eventually reach PCs. / Photo courtesy of Sony

Sony president and CEO Jim Ryan has confirmed that the Netherlands-based studio Sony acquired earlier this month, Nixxes Software, will work to port PlayStation games to PC.

Speaking to Japanese publication Famitsu (translated by VGC), Ryan said PlayStation is "happy to be in the early stages of bringing our IP to the PC, and look forward to working with Nixxes to help us do that."

Nixxes is known for porting games to PC. Its most well-known projects include bringing Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, the modern Tomb Raider games, and Marvel's Avengers to PC. At the time of its acquisition, PlayStation Studios head Herman Hulst praised the studio for its "deep technical expertise and vast experience." A press release announcing the purchase said Nixxes joined "PlayStation Studios Technology, Creative & Services Group to provide high-quality in-house technical and development capabilities for PlayStation Studios."

Although Sony has grown increasingly open to bringing its games to PC, it says it doesn't plan to follow Microsoft's model of releasing on console and PC simultaneously.

"I want to emphasize that PlayStation will remain the best place to play our PlayStation Studios titles at launch," Hulst said in June. "But we do value PC gamers, and we'll continue to look at the right times to launch each game."

"We want to reach new gamers who haven't yet experienced the great stories, characters, and worlds that we've built," Hulst added. "Releasing games on PC will not come ever at the expense of building an exciting lineup of great console games."

Analysis

PlayStation's exclusives have been a huge reason for its success relative to the Xbox in recent years. It's Sony's most powerful tool for acquiring new players, given that the company has proven reluctant to offer the kind of value-based proposition Microsoft has with Game Pass. To bring those exclusives to PC might seem bad for business, but it may in fact work in the opposite direction and bring new players into the world of PlayStation IP.

Exclusives based on new IP require enormous critical and popular support to reach the kind of critical mass that would lead a customer to buy a console. More often they work in aggregate: the PS5 has X more exclusives than the Xbox Series X|S, so it's more worthwhile, or so the thinking goes.

But when an exclusive is based on established IP, particularly something as widely acclaimed as The Last of Us or God of War, it becomes a more powerful draw on its own. PlayStation users who have played the previous games in the series will feel a need to keep up with the story, and will buy the new console to get that next installment, but PC users that have no attachment to the series will just shrug their shoulders.

That's where delayed PC ports come in. This seems to be the strategy Sony is pursuing, releasing Days Gone on PC two years after its PS4 release and Horizon: Zero Dawn on PC three years after its PS4 release.

By giving console players a year or two head start, the sense of exclusivity is preserved even as PC players are ultimately allowed to build a connection with the game in question. By the time the next game in the series rolls around, they're invested in the world and characters, and thus that much more likely to buy a PlayStation to get in early.

Exclusivity has always been an anti-consumer policy, but Sony opening up to ports could do more than right a wrong — it could be good business.