Over 25% of Horizon: Zero Dawn sales were digital, and Sony is paying attention

“This kind of shift changes everything. It changes the publishing model, it allows smaller players to put out games, it affects DLC and it has a huge impact.”

– Sony Interactive Entertainment America chief Shawn Layden, speaking to Glixel about the continuing shift to digital distribution.

What’s up with PlayStation these days?

SIE America president Shawn Layden and SIE Europe chief Jim Ryan recently told Glixel where they’re at, pre-E3, and the resulting interview affords devs a bit of perspective on what the company is (or isn’t doing) to work with partners in the year ahead.

Most notably, both execs seem keen to champion the ever-rising tide of digital distribution. Layden says that 915,000 of the 3.4 million copies (or about 26 percent) of Guerilla’s PS4 exclusive Horizon: Zero Dawn sold this year were digital, evidence of a “shift that changes everything” in the game industry.

However, he goes on to acknowledge that a big consequence of that shift — namely, Sony’s increased focus on filling its storefront with indie games — is actually on the wane right now.

“We still work with a lot of indies,” Layden told Glixel. “but it’s slowing down. It ebbs and flows. We’re seeing a lot of indie activity in VR, because they can do meaningful content with smaller teams there.”

Elsewhere in the conversation, Ryan offers some additional context to what’s going on with the PS4 Pro, that beefier PS4 Sony debuted late last year. In restating that one in every five PS4s sold is a PS4 Pro, he adds that roughly 40 percent of all PS4 Pro sales are to PS4 owners looking to upgrade. 

“Sometimes I think we can be guilty of ascribing too much rationality to gamers,” Ryan added. “Maybe they just want to future-proof? I think we see the same thing from Apple customers too – there are people that want the best that you can buy.”

You can read more on that, as well as further comments from the executive duo on everything from how they work with first-party studios to what’s up with the Vita (“it’s not an active line for us in the West”) in the full Glixel interview.

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