I hope that Sony can continue to support developers even when the bold risks they may take with their creative freedom under the PlayStation umbrella don't succeed commercially. I guess that's all I really wanted to say.
I think while this may be great for Sony to do this, it's clear that they won't if commercial success is not being met. And I'd say that your examples don't show commercial incompatibility either:
- Druckman has announced that the story for a potential TLoU has begun. There is the HBO show and a remake of the first supposedly in development. This expansion and continuation wouldn't be happening with a series in decline.
- Returnal is made on a smaller budget than other Sony title. Housemarque only had +- 80 employees in 2020. Contrast that with the new deal Sony announced with start up Deviation: they already have over 100 employees and are still hiring. Returnal doesn't require a massive sales number to be profitable. But it's clear that Returnal's performance will indicate whether Sony continues to invest in the studio or not.
- Death Stranding has a PS5 directors cut coming. Sony wouldn't be sinking more money into an unprofitable game with a next-gen only release.
Take Days Gone: it appears that a sequel was not greenlit (for reasons we might never know), so Sony does expect something from their studios. Creative freedom can only go so far before Sony rightfully reins in the studio.
That said, risk taking is definitely something that is great about Sony. And they appear to be taking the stance even further with partnerships. Going back to Deviation games, they stated that Sony was giving them the same support and access to help that they give their own studios. And Deviation is making a game they want to make. It's an exciting time for PlayStation. But at the end of the day, continued support will only come with some commercial success.