Following the announcement of BioShock 4’s active development by the 2K Games’ newly-formed Cloud Chamber studio, every trace about the game went cold, with very little detail available to the franchise’s fandom. Then again, 2K Games did say that it would take a considerable amount of time before the company has anything substantial to show to the public, like gameplay trailers, concept art, or even teasers, leaving everything open to speculation. And the latest news suggests that BioShock 4 might be available only on one console.
According to Nick “Shpeshal Ed” Baker, co-creator and host of the Xbox Era Podcast, Sony is seeking to establish BioShock 4 as a PlayStation 5 exclusive, as reported by We Got This Covered. However, Baker said he doesn’t have any further information about the news or whether Sony’s looking to make BioShock 4 a perpetual PS5 exclusive or a timed one. Given the franchise’s history, and the IP’s nature, if BioShock 4 ever becomes exclusive, it’s likely to be a timed one. And there’s plenty of reasons why it could go that way.
The gaming market is incredibly vast and quite profitable for companies that release their titles on multiple platforms, allowing a more significant number of gamers (consumers) to enjoy their products. On the other hand, console-exclusive titles do provide blockbuster earnings for their publishers but are primarily made to boost the console sales – which is why they’re made mainly by the console manufacturer’s proprietary gaming studios. From PlayStation’s perspective, BioShock is a third-party IP – one of which Sony has no ownership of.
Now, 2K Games stands to make a lot of money by releasing BioShock 4 on multiple platforms, as it did with the title’s critically-acclaimed prequels. However, tying a high-grossing title, like the highly-anticipated follow-up to 2013’s third installment in the series, into a PlayStation 5 exclusive, could boost the console’s sales; albeit, at the expense of 2K Games losing profit from the rest of the market. If Sony manages to cover the worth of loss on potential Xbox Series X/S, PC, and Nintendo sales, and it certainly has the resources to do so, it has itself an exclusive title. But given the ongoing disruption in the PlayStation 5 supply chain, the question is: is it worth it?
So, making it a timed exclusive sounds like a better deal for Sony and BioShock 4 publisher, 2K Games. In fact, it’s something we’ve seen Sony do in the past – especially with Final Fantasy VII Remake and Nier: Automata, which were PS4 exclusives for a time before they appeared on other platforms later. And looking ahead, Sony is continuing this trend with upcoming releases, like Final Fantasy XVI, Ghostwire Tokyo, and Deathloop. So, it wouldn’t be surprising to see BioShock 4 as a PlayStation 5 exclusive, at least for a set period of time.
Conclusively, neither 2K Games nor Cloud Chamber made any official announcements regarding the BioShock’s next installment, other than its ongoing development and a possible switch to the open-world setting, which would rely on the processing power of next-gen hardware. As such, it’s possible that some form of exclusivity could be in the cards.