It’s almost tough to believe that it’s been a whole year since Sony’s “drop the mic” moment at E3 2013. Without question, Sony has been able to ride that wave of anti-Microsoft sentiment for the past year. But as all things eventually do, the ill-will towards the Xbox has begun to fade a bit. With Satya Nadella and Phil Spencer now occupying two key positions in the company, Microsoft has made numerous moves recently in an attempt to sway the battle back in their favor. Sony has managed to push the PlayStation Plus brand as a value added service in a pretty major way in recent years. Giving away free games has been a super successful marketing strategy for Sony, and it’s possible that we’re about to see them do a lot more of it.
For nearly 20 years, Sony Online Entertainment has been a driving force in the PC gaming landscape. With their industry changing EverQuest series, not to mention their innovative marketing strategies, SOE has been a company many gamers (myself included) grew up with. While some of their games have been less than perfect at launch, there may be no company more dedicated to the long-term support of their products than SOE. For example, development of the original EverQuest has been continuous since 1999 and includes the releases of 20 expansions up to this point.
Although SOE has clearly been a part of the overall Sony family, they’ve also been mostly segregated from Sony’s main gaming strategy as their platform of focus has been PC. Well my friends, by all indications, that might be changing very soon. It’s no secret that SOE is working on a trio of very promising games. EverQuest Next, EverQuest Next Landmark, and H1Z1 are all titles that have PC gamers pretty excited about the near future. Rumors have swirled for years of SOE porting their popular PC games to PlayStation consoles. You may remember SOE even created EverQuest Online Adventures exclusively for the PS2. While SOE does currently have a few titles currently or previously on console, fans have been begging and pleading for years for games like EverQuest and PlanetSide to be ported.
It is our prediction that as part of Sony’s strategy for PS4 we will see an official announcement that all of SOE’s upcoming games will also be released on PS4 as F2P titles. It makes perfect sense that along with the growing collection of free games that come with Playstation Plus, gamers have an additional set of options to choose from that doesn’t change month to month. With 4 major titles all being pushed with a F2P pricing structure, Sony’s PS4 could have an interesting way to diversify itself from the competition.
H1Z1 – A zombie survival horror game that could be set to become a DayZ killer. The size of the playable area is massive in scale, much larger than Chernarus+ in DayZ.
EverQuest Next Landmark – With the creation of EverQuest Next going at full speed now, SOE has created a second game based on the land destruction and creation mechanics found in the upcoming MMO. EverQuest Next Landmark offers an intriguing alternative to the massively popular Minecraft. PlayStation 4 could win big with a free and full featured alternative to Minecraft.
EverQuest Next – There’s no denying the fact that EverQuest basically created an entire industry. Without EverQuest we likely would never have seen World of Warcraft (or that excellent South Park episode based on the game). While EverQuest 2 didn’t manage to capture as wide an audience, many former players of the longstanding series are quite excited for the new take on the MMO that SOE has planned for their reboot of the series.
PlanetSide 2 – The PlanetSide 2 engine has worked as a framework for all 3 of SOE’s upcoming titles. PlanetSide 2 features futuristic battles on a massive scale. Considered by some to be a Battlefield killer, PlanetSide 2 has had a significant post-launch development cycle that has allowed SOE to optimize the engine and game.
With all of the additional services and accessories that go alongside buying a new console, investing in a new console can be pretty expensive. Imagine a world where gamers can buy a PS4 and immediately have free access to games that rival WoW, DayZ, Minecraft, and Battlefield. Alongside Riot, SOE has pioneered and revolutionized the F2P game industry. While many companies live and die by how they market “free”, SOE has thrived on their take on the business model. With millions of gamers on PC already playing their games, Sony has a leg up on the competition because they have a team that knows what works (and what doesn’t). SOE could become a developer known best for their PS4 titles overnight, and Sony themselves could have a major boost in the public relations department by offering even more games with their instant library strategy.
For E3 2014, we’ll hopefully see some interesting things coming from SOE. At the very least PC players have a whole lot to look forward to.
To learn more about all of SOE’s current and upcoming games, visit http://www.soe.com/home