2011 was an incredible year for gaming, especially for Sony. PlayStation 3 owners suffered battered pockets throughout the year; it was truly a Gamepocalyse. Sony hammered gamers with exclusive after exclusive: Uncharted 3, Little Big Planet 2, Kill Zone 3, Infamous 2, Socom 4… the list goes on. And 2012 looks like it will repeat the set trend. Sony’s 2012 line up looks stellar with Starhawk, Sly Cooper, Twisted Metal, The Last of Us, and hopefully The Last Guardian (don’t hold your breath). Rumblings on the internet are hinting toward God of War 4, and the latest issue of PLAY states that a Syphon Filter 4 announcement is coming next month. That’s a lot of PS3 goodness.
Sony has cultivated some of the best studios and has created a system that keeps these studios churning out exclusives. To be exact, there are 15 studios that provide exclusive’s for Sony’s machine, all of which have their share of Triple A titles, and provide original IP (intellectual property) for the console. This in-house policy is the reason for the PlayStation 3’s resurgence (along with a few price drops over the years). Is this a blessing or a curse?
This platform exclusive dependence is very similar to Nintendo’s, and although it’s successful, it can also isolate Sony from the rest of the market. Similar to the Wii, Sony’s reliance on exclusives, stem from developers’ inability to work with the platform. This was especially true during the PlayStation 3’s infancy; three glaring examples are F.E.A.R, Bayonetta, and Splinter Cell Double Agent. Compared to their Xbox 360 game counterparts, these ports suffered lower frame rates, slowdown, and horrible load times. This, sometimes, was the result of developers porting the PlayStation 3 version of their games from the Xbox 360.
Recently, we saw the Skyrim debacle, and in a way it shone a light on the correlation between rising first-party exclusives, and the decrease in third-party sales on the console. In fact, Vgchartz clearly shows that third-party titles tend to sell more on the Xbox 360. There are a number of contributing factors for that (including far less 360 exclusives), but PlayStations 3′s reputation with ports cannot be overlooked. Sony always has a few exclusives games in the works throughout the year. This consistency is exactly what separates the PlayStation 3 from the Wii and Xbox 360.
If there is an official announcement God of War 4 and Syphon Filter 4 next month, it will be to no one’s surprise. First-party exclusive excellence is the standard Sony has set for itself, and it will continue to follow that standard as it has delivered much success. For now Sony is giving us its standard answer, it does not comment on rumor or speculation, but if the news breaks we’ll be there.