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Why Sony Is Leaving AAA Games Out Of The PlayStation Plus Launch

PlayStation owners have likely heard the news by now that Sony is planning a complete rework of its PlayStation Plus service, confirming what'd been long suspected — but Sony has remained pessimistic when it comes to questions about whether AAA PlayStation exclusives would ever see day-one releases on the new platform, as Microsoft has done with Xbox Game Pass. Now, Sony is fielding questions and discussing the finer details about why players won't be seeing "God of War: Ragnarok" or the next big "Uncharted" game landing on the revamped streaming service at the same time as it's first available for purchase.

Previously, PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan explained that the new PlayStation Plus won't add first-party exclusives because the quality of the final product would be affected, and now Sony is doubling down on those exact same sentiments. During the company's latest financial call, top Sony exec Hiroki Totoki echoed near-identical concerns as Ryan when it came to whether players might ever see a AAA PlayStation exclusive release day-one on PlayStation Plus. Those hoping that Sony's new tiered service would offer all of the same benefits as Xbox Game Pass — including day-one releases for certain AAA platform exclusives — just got bad news. Here's why Hiroki Totoki doesn't think big-name PlayStation exclusives will be released on PlayStation Plus day-one.

The budget, sale and quality balancing act

It's no secret that the video game industry runs on money. Everything, even down to the decision of which platforms to release a title on, factors costs against potential sales. In Sony's eyes, these two don't balance out when considering giving a high-profile game away for free on its release day. There's even a recent example playing out in the devastating PS Plus deal for the critically-mixed "Oddworld: Soulstorm."

Responding to a question as to whether Sony would consider bolstering its future PlayStation Plus lineup with some of its upcoming anticipated hits during the Q/A portion of the call (1:07:43), Totoki said, "AAA type titles for PlayStation 5, if we distribute that on the subscription services, we may need to shrink the investment needed for that and that will deteriorate the first-party title quality and that is our concern. So we want to make sure that we spend appropriate development cost to have solid products with solid titles to be introduced in the right manner."

Essentially, Totoki, like Ryan, worries that if a game is expected to sell less (regardless of how popular of a free title it turns out to be), it'll inevitably face budget constraints and from there, quality will be affected. While this all sounds like a bummer, Totoki does underline comments with a mention that exclusives will still find their way onto the new service, but it'll just be after an initial release.