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A Business Strategy? Weaponised FOMO

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Unethical Business Strategies?

In previous articles, we have talked about questionable business practices in the video games industry. Such as microtransactions in AAA titles, unethical practices in gacha games and the ridiculous pricing of microtransactions. None of them feel particularly great from the perspective of a general consumer. Unfortunately, these practices seem to work for whatever reason, and are likely to stick around for a while...


And recently Sony just shared their latest business strategies regarding launching new titles on PC, during Sony's Business Segment Meeting 2024. PlayStation's newly appointed co-CEO Hermen Hulst mentions the following:

"We're finding new audiences that are potentially going to be very interested in playing sequels on the PlayStation platform. We have high hopes that we're actually able to bring new players into PlayStation at large but into PlayStation platforms specifically..."

What this means is that new Sony titles will be launched on PC, simultaneously with the PS5. However, when it comes to their sequels, they are very likely to be PS5-exclusive (permanently or not, we do not know).


Weaponised FOMO

Basically, sequels to hit titles will serve as bait to lure PC gamers into buying a PS5. To put it into perspective, if you enjoyed the latest Spiderman game published by Sony, and are looking forward to the sequel to also be on PC... You might be waiting for something that may never come. In order to experience the sequel for yourself, you'd have to either borrow someone's PS5, or buy one for yourself.


In other words, Sony is effectively weaponising FOMO to get you to to buy a PS5. And if there's no way for you to get your hands on a PS5, tough luck.


From a business standpoint, this seems to be a fantastic way to increase hardware sales. However, it also treats loyal gamers as mere pawns in Sony's profit-driven game, disregarding their patience and loyalty. It’s a shrewd and shortsighted tactic that undermines the genuine trust and goodwill built over years. Gamers deserve better than being manipulated into purchasing hardware for access to beloved franchises.


As a PC gamer, I find this not only insulting but also showcases Sony's underestimation of the PC gaming community. There was already significant backlash when Sony tried to shoehorn a requirement for all Helldivers 2 players to having a PSN account. This effectively placed a region lock for over 170 countries, preventing gamers from those countries from buying and enjoying the game. The game was review-bombed and Sony had to backpedal their requirement.


I am confident that PC gamers will stand firm and not fall for such tactics. Heck, most gamers have a backlog of games that they have purchased but yet to play. Perhaps it's time we went back into our cave and finish up those titles, maybe by then, Sony might revise its decision. Even if it does not, I am certain that there will be some other hit titles from developers/publishers that I would be more than happy to shell some dollars on rather than getting a PS5.

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