Sony will have a great revenue stream come PS4 release time. Why not offer original programming too?
This past E3, Microsoft impressively announced Halo: The Television Series, helmed by Steven Spielberg, to debut on Xbox Live sometime in 2014 or 2015. What came as no shock to anyone put the spotlight on Microsoft briefly, in that Live had finally offered an alternative to justify a yearly fee just to gain access to other paid services. At the same event, Sony made PlayStation Plus a requirement for online multiplayer only, though people aren’t forced to pay additionally for access to applications.
That begs the question: What does Sony plan on doing with the new revenue? To improve server security, or to test how receptive the PlayStation fan base is of paying monthly? The latter may not work as Sony intends, but the former is certainly welcomed after the April 2011 hack. Still, a new financial stream is guaranteed if early excitement (or Xbox One resentment) carries over in the sales department. I believe Sony should do an entertainment blowout Netflix style.
More popular series like KillZone and Ratchet & Clank could easily translate to the small screen (or, for that matter, the silver screen). Or imagine a J.J. Abrams-run production of a gritty, near-future of PlanetSide. Within the next year is the optimal time to begin working towards these, and not only because Microsoft is doing the same thing. Television itself is reaching (some would argue in the middle of) a boon or another golden age. How awesome would it be to see Nathan Drake (played by Nathan Fillion obviously) be a complicated Indiana Jones type character, comparable to Don Draper?
In fact, though, games never need to arrive at that pinnacle. If the video game TV adaption becomes a new genre, it would take a few years to mature and even then studios would still be figuring out acceptable perimeters. The same will probably happen to video game films, too, of popular franchises today e.g., BioShock, Gears of War and Warcraft. What’s redeemable in both audiences’ eyes, and how many nods to include so as to not confuse the casual or non-gaming fans.
Microsoft has only Halo on tap insofar as its own lineup goes, which doesn’t extend far beyond that. Forza could make for a Fast and the Furious style drama as could Project Gotham Racing, and maybe Fable in the same vein as Game of Thrones or Legend of the Seeker. A Gears of War TV adaption would work only if the film falls through. As for known Xbox One games, the popularity of AMC’s The Walking Dead calls for a Dead Rising named parody of zombie culture. Like the failed Zombieland series dropped by Amazon recently.
The lack of Xbox exclusives alone pits Sony in a much better spot to create quality television, let alone Sony’s wide array of choices. Which the company could definitely utilize even to compete with Netflix. Funding might be the largest hurdle, though, not variety. Microsoft hasn’t disclosed the funds put towards Halo: The Television Series, but for emphasis the first season of Netflix’s House of Cards costs $100 million. A mighty total, sure, but then one can’t forget that Steven Spielberg (hired for Halo) costs a pretty penny.
Microsoft took some considerable flak for its apparent shift away from games, but not for developing Halo: The Television Series. Fans accused the firm of gaming heresy because apps will have a dominant place on Xbox One, inasmuch as they will on PS4. And, well, the same fans are still stung over Xbox One’s DRM policies. Sony wouldn’t face the same scrutiny, should that be any deterrent to developing original programming. Having exclusive TV series behind a PSN paywall may bring in more people, depending on a show’s quality and likeability.
(For some context, any show that comes close to resembling House of Cards would earn my vote.)
In the end, Sony could become a powerhouse in all entertainment media except books. Even then, Sony has a lineup of e-readers. The video game companies, though, are late to the TV game but they can make up for lost time. They better hurry up.
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