Gaming news has emerged that may signal a monumental shift for Sony Interactive Entertainment. According to Kotaku, the publisher plans to port a massive game, previously exclusive to PlayStation consoles, as a standalone purchase for Windows PC gaming storefronts.
The Thursday report, citing “three people familiar with Sony’s plans,” says that the game in question is the robo-safari adventure Horizon: Zero Dawn, which launched in early 2017 to rave reviews. News Editor Jason Schreier suggests that the game will arrive by the end of 2020. The PC version could be sold on both Steam and Epic Games Store, though Kotaku is careful to say that storefront detail has not yet been finalized.
As a many-armed media company, Sony has published games on a variety of platforms over the decades. One of its most recently formed subsidiaries, UNTIES, is dedicated to launches of indie games like TinyMetal on consoles and PCs. But the part of Sony dedicated to all things PlayStation, which is currently known as SIE (formerly Sony Computer Entertainment), has only recently loosened its grip on PlayStation console exclusivity.
Last year saw two major PlayStation-linked series announce ambitious multi-platform plans. The first, Death Stranding, had its 2020 PC port announced two weeks before the game launched on PS4 in November. And Sony’s latest license renewal with Major League Baseball, in service of its MLB The Show series, came with a surprise caveat: that SIE would publish the series on “additional console platforms beyond PlayStation platforms as early as 2021.”
Let’s not forget that paying PlayStation Now subscribers can install an app on Windows PCs and play Horizon, and a lot of other SIE-published software, right now. (We don’t blame you if you didn’t realize that.) But that version of the game is streamed from a server and limited to PlayStation 4-like specs, particularly in frame rate and resolution. (You’re also stuck using a compatible gamepad while using PS Now on PC.) Taking the bigger step of direct sales and installs for Windows PCs hints to PC-specific perks like unlocked frame rates, screen ratios, resolutions, control options, and more, though Kotaku’s report only had speculation to offer about what a Horizon PC port would include.
Whether SIE will be involved as an official publisher for Horizon‘s PC port remains unclear; Death Stranding‘s PC publishing duties were signed over to 505 Games, which hints to the possibility that someone else will take up publishing duties for the Guerrilla Games-developed epic.
SIE representatives did not immediately reply to questions about the Kotaku report’s authenticity. In the meantime, we’ll take Schreier’s report with only one or two grains of salt, owing to his incredible reporting track record, and dream about how the beautiful PlayStation 4 game could look even better on our overpriced game-testing PCs. The below gallery, taken from my 2017 review, shows the game already running like a beast on standard PS4 hardware.