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Talking Point: Should Sony Release Less Exclusive Games?

Posted by Sammy Barker

Attention seekers

If variety is the spice of life, then the PlayStation 3 is a particularly posh brand of pepper. Arguably more than any other platform holder over the past five years, Sony has provided its system with a stream of high quality content. From big-budget blockbusters like Heavy Rain and Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, to smaller endeavours such as Starhawk and Siren: Blood Curse. But with such a vast roster of releases in its catalogue, is the company spreading itself too thin? Indeed, would the Japanese giant be better off focusing on a few tent-pole titles as opposed to such a broad spectrum of content?

There’s a common opinion online that Sony doesn’t do enough to support its stable of first-party exclusives. Smaller releases tend to come and go with very little fanfare, and while the company does its best to drum up enthusiasm on the PlayStation Blog, it’s rarely enough to transform a niche title like Twisted Metal into a colossal success. Stronger marketing in the traditional channels – online, television, and cinema – would no doubt improve the fortunes of the company’s lesser known brands, but that’s where it finds itself stretched.

Just like all other organisations, the platform holder must prescribe to certain financial limitations. It can’t spend millions of dollars marketing a game like LittleBigPlanet Karting, because that will take resources away from other products. Consider the sheer size of Sony’s first-party release schedule at times, and it leads to some software simply getting lost in the shuffle.

Contrast the situation to Microsoft, which focused all of its efforts on Halo 4 this year. Granted, it had Forza Horizon, Dance Central 3, and Fable: The Journey to stretch its attention – but the American manufacturer’s concentration was primarily pointed at 343’s big-budget sci-fi shooter. Due to that singular approach, the company was able to strike deals with Domino’s Pizza, Mountain Dew, and Doritos – everyday brands that helped turn the title’s launch into an event. It may seem cynical on paper, but it was hard to avoid Master Chief’s iconic armour during the run-up to launch. When is the last time you were able to say that about a Sony property?

Even massive releases such as Uncharted and God of War struggle to maintain the retail presence that Microsoft’s few franchises enjoy worldwide. Sony has partnered with Subway and Slurpee respectively in the past, but the promotions have never seemed as forceful as they should. Given each franchise’s critical status – and the eye-watering production budgets behind them – they should be household brands. But they’re not.

Looking forward to next year, we’re worried about how Sony is going to balance its line-up. Never mind the rumoured arrival of the PlayStation 4, in the first couple of quarters alone it has God of War: Ascension, The Last of Us, and possibly Beyond: Two Souls to promote. All three of those games would be banner releases in any other publisher’s schedule, but will the company have the available resources to ensure that’s the case? Frighteningly, the query ignores the arrival of lesser titles such as Until Dawn, Puppeteer, and Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, all of which are due out in the same time-frame, too. There’s little doubt that they’ll all be excellent games, but should the platform holder be investing resources into Sanzaru Games’ platformer when it could be using those finances to highlight Naughty Dog’s latest blockbuster? And is it fair on the anthropomorphic adventure – which is shaping up brilliantly – if it gets thrust onto store shelves without a proper campaign to back it?

As gamers, we adore the variety that being a PS3 owner affords us – but we’re not entirely convinced that Sony’s insane catalogue of first-party content is sustainable. Perhaps it’s time that the company tightened up its output, and started to focus on creating a smaller selection of really big hits.

Do you think that the PlayStation 3’s catalogue is too big? Would you rather Sony focused its attention on a handful of blockbuster titles? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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User Comments (31)

bauckster

#1

bauckster said:

Oh, I really hope not. I agree that Sony needs to do more to promote their titles. But variety is the spice of life. It's the reason I bought a Ps3 and not an XBox, for those crazy awesome exclusives. A lot of the "exclusive" more indie-type titles on XBOX live are also available on PC. Honestly, I'd be really sad if PS3 slimmed down their output to just big blockbusters. Don't get me wrong, some of the big blockbusters are great games, and worth playing and SHOULD be promoted more, but I would not have bought a PS3 were it not for some of the more indie/arty exlusives like:Journey, Flower, Heavy Rain, Shadow of Colossus HD collection, etc. Why should we have to sacrifice variety for commercial viability? There should be a way to promote and keep the game collection diverse. Just my 2 cents.

get2sammybAdmin

#2

get2sammyb said:

@bauckster Ultimately I agree with you. The sheer wealth of different titles is what makes writing about PlayStation every day a pleasure, but the company needs to find a way to ensure everything gets a chance in the spotlight. I understand that some games simply aren't as important as others, but if they're taking resources away from the tent-poles, then should they really exist?

I think the Sly Cooper example is a good one. That game is fantastic from what I've played — but ultimately is it going to get the promotion it deserves? Probably not, because Sony will already be focused on The Last of Us. And if they're sending it out to die, why aren't they investing that game's resources into ensuring Naughty Dog's game sells another 500,000 copies instead?

It's a difficult situation. As a gamer, though, I want the big mixture of games. Totally agree.

Sanquine

#3

Sanquine said:

@get2sammyb A sammy i think the problem is that gamers expect this from sony to make big budget games but they also expect to succeed. I also think playstation is spreading it's resources thin. If they advertise the stuff of the last of us it could possibly sell more than uncharted or even halo. Advertising is really important, and with games like little big planet karting failling because of the no advertisiment and no attention at all i think they should produce less exclusives.

I love puppeteer and until dawn ( I will buy this games for sure) but sony need to advertise this sort of games. Maybe bundle them. Until dawn? Make a move bundle with this game just for 80 euro and i will buy it ( Already have a move but i hope i make my point.)

bauckster

#4

bauckster said:

@get2sammyb Yes, I understand what you mean from a business standpoint. It's hard for me not to see it from a gamer's eyes, though...I guess that's why I'm not a financier or accountant, haha!

Maybe Sony needs to dig in a little more to grassroots promotion as well? Twitter, FB, etc. have no idea but maybe that could also help promote their titles more? But yes, they obviously need some bigger advertising as well.

The PS Move is, to me, a good example of a nice piece of tech that just hasn't gotten enough promotion on the whole (or games for that matter). I wonder how Wonderbook is selling...any figures yet?

rjejr

#5

rjejr said:

"Perhaps it’s time that the company tightened up its output, and started to focus on creating a smaller selection of really big hits."

Fall and hit your head this morning? I was >thisclose< to buying an Xbox yesterday until I visited your sister site Kinectaku. That barren wasteland - only 4 people signed up for a free Xbox giveaway - made me realize I'm way better off sticking w/ my PS3 and all the games it has. Yes it may suck for some of those companies, but it's great for gamers.

JavierYHL

#6

JavierYHL said:

nope...playstation is all bout variety...i personally hope that sony would sink more on the rpgs genre next gen,their main weakness from their first party is in the rpgs genre and i think thats where nintendo really stands out...

Hokori

#7

Hokori said:

They should release MORE SONY (actual Sony) branded games like out of Japan, not some 2nd parties from california

irken004

#9

irken004 said:

The constant stream of exclusives is why I bought a PS3! If they can keep pumping out quality titles, why stop?

Azikira

#10

Azikira said:

If Sony doesn't have so many exclusives, then really what is the point of getting a PS3?
I remember someone from school brought their PS3 to an overnight activity, and it had Little Big Planet. The moment I touched that controller, I knew it was something special. It was in that moment, where the most unique, silly, creative game I had ever seen was in my grasp and I decided to forsake my Xbox for a Playstation.
If Little Big Planet wasn't an exclusive, I wouldn't have turned to Sony. Keep up the exclusives, don't let Microsoft win!

hamispink

#11

hamispink said:

Sony could have huge titles like Uncharted band god of war on ps3 and have the rest of their studios working on vita games, because someone has to support the thing :P

Gemuarto

#12

Gemuarto said:

I think that Sony must pay more attention to other big companies like Capcom, SquareEnix, Rockstars and setera instead of creating big mass of their own nobody cares about games(like Starhawk, for example). And create studio in Japan which will make big RPG. They can call Hironobu Sakaguchi or Yasumi Matsuno, or both and give them a lot of money and good technical support. They can even create this studio outside of Japan... But PS3 really needs big japanese RPG which everyone wants to play. Sony needs to create balance between Japanese, USA and European games and between it's own and third party AAA exclusives.

Jaz007

#13

Jaz007 said:

I think they should keep pumping out the exclusives. And the fact that all 3 three of my PS3 pre-orders are all exclusives supports that. also can't wait for the next Uncharted to come, developed by Naughty Dog of course. (haven't played Golden Abyss yet but judging from critics it's probalbly a good idea)

Zombie_Barioth

#14

Zombie_Barioth said:

I agree that its the variety thats a big draw for Sony consoles, both first and third party. I do think that they should tighten their belt a little bit but more along the lines of how Nintendo (I know boo, hiss);) does it. They already have a series or two for most genres they just need to spread things out a bit so the new games aren't too jam packed together.

It also wouldn't hurt to have a primarily handheld exclusive series or two that people would have to buy their handhelds for, not necessarily a pokemon killer but something that won't have too many console counterparts.

hamispink

#15

hamispink said:

@Jaz007 Uncharted Golden Abyss is great. The extra features like touch combat are annoying, but overall I've enjoyed the game much more than Drake's Fortune. It's not at the same level as Uncharted 2+3, but It is a great game and a sequel made by Sony Bend has the potential to rival or surpass the PS3 games.

Stuffgamer1

#16

Stuffgamer1 said:

As a gamer with his eye on upcoming releases regardless of marketing, I LOVE the wealth of exclusive content Sony puts out. I feel that if a game is truly stellar, the gamers will find it...and relatively low sales on Battle Royal and LBP Karting support that statement, IMO. People have better things to be spending their money and time on.

3Above

#17

3Above said:

I think we the gamers need to talk up the great games sony has more. Granted Sony should be marketing far far more than they do. But I always hear from people and on twitter how great halo is and that their addicted to CoD multiplayer. Hardly ever hear that about Sony titles except places like this website. I wish Sony would do more but to cut down on the variety of titles ultimately would be a mistake. Sony needs to use alternative channels of marketing as was mentioned. What ever happened to that deal with coca cola for move they annouced in 2010 E3?

Knux

#18

Knux said:

The more exclusives the better I say! It's the very reason why the PS3 is so much better than the Xbox 360 and is ultimately the console that has won this generation.

Samholy

#19

Samholy said:

keep em coming.
sony exclusives is what its all about. i liked every sony consoles for their huge game libraries and content. just keep it that way, that is the big force of sony.

it also give you tons of games to try years after the copnsole's launch. i have still ton of games to try on ps3, and yet still find gems.

and seriously, how can you go wrong with:
-ratchet games

  • infamous series
    god of war
    uncharted
  • little big planet
    who would be insane to remove any of these games.

''As gamers, we adore the variety that being a PS3 owner affords us – but we’re not entirely convinced that Sony’s insane catalogue of first-party content is sustainable. Perhaps it’s time that the company tightened up its output, and started to focus on creating a smaller selection of really big hits.''
SHUT UP ALREADY AND BUY A XBOX IF YOU DONT WANT INSANE EXCLUSIVES.

worst article in a while, no offense. But you clearly dont get what sony built since the PS and what gave it its power.

Scrible

#21

Scrible said:

All these exclusives are what makes PS stand out, with less on these, I might as well buy a360

NathanUC

#22

NathanUC said:

I originally got an Xbox 360 for their exclusives. Later I got a PS3 for their exclusives. I kept the PS3 because they continually create compelling and well made exclusives.

For marketing reasons, it would probably be smarter if Sony cut back or staggered their releases a bit more. It's a big stretch of an argument but look at PC gaming and how well big name exclusives do on the PC platform. I didn't think Diablo 3 was much to talk about but the sales (comparable to the platform) speak for themselves. Giving fans something to look forward to is always great, but giving them time to enjoy what they have and be excited for the future is just as important.

A solid example for me are Beyond and The Last of Us. I look at these two titles (with similar looking lead characters) and lose excitement for each because I know if they both come out, I wouldn't have time to enjoy both at once so I'd have to pick. Instead of being exciting and talking about a single title, I'm spending time looking into both games and waiting to see which is the one I'd go with. This might also divide fans. It's pretty obvious that most Xbox owners were looking forward to and talking about the release of Halo 4 because it's one of the very very few big name exclusives the console has gotten lately.

Also, just to point out, I know that the Last of Us is estimated to be released in Q2 2013 and that Beyond is without estimate. I'm simply saying that even with slightly different launch times, it doesn't leave enough room to be truly excited for both.

craigun

#23

craigun said:

No, they shouldn't cut back on exclusives at all. Why not increase them so 360 owners make the jump over?

moomoo

#24

moomoo said:

If I were Sony, it would actually be the smarter move at this point. When Halo 3 outsells God of War III, Uncharted 1 & 2, Infamous 1 & 2 and Killzone 2 combined then that's a sign that maybe Sony should shorten their properties. It allows you to build brand-name better and more efficiently.

As a gamer, I'd hate to see it happen, but Sony's kind of down in the dumps right now. I don't know if it'd be the best move on their part to do what they're still doing. Seems like it wouldn't be capitalizing on their properties enough.

NathanUC

#25

NathanUC said:

@moomoo God of War 3, Uncharted 1, Uncharted 2, inFAMOUS, inFAMOUS 2, and Killzone 2 sold a collective total of about 22 million copies. Halo 3 sold about 11.7million copies.

Also, it's a bit of a moot point to compare Halo 3 because it's a bit of an exception imo. It was the first "HD" Halo game. It was also the first time the Halo series really got to stretch it's legs as an online multiplayer game. With the PS3 only being out a few months with a fairly bad launch.. everyone knew Halo 3 was pretty much running un-opposed. If you wanted to play a fps online, you played Halo.

moomoo

#27

moomoo said:

@nathanuc1988 Oh... Huh. I guess I need to update my points. Mine were coming from 2010.
I guess the reception from those games would boost sales. Still, when six games combined only double the sales of one game, that still doesn't bode well.

I'm assuming you're using VGchartz? Just make sure to detract a good number of sales if it's from a modern game. They generally use numbers shipped rather than sold, since that way they're not totally guessing. They instead assume that those will be sold eventually. It would explain the numbers for the Uncharted games.

NathanUC

#28

NathanUC said:

@moomoo I used VGchartz and matched a couple with sales figures from wiki. I don't trust VGchartz the slightest but it's a good estimate.

I still think it's a completely unfair comparison considering the differences in times between the two. It's much easier for a AAA game to make sales when it runs unopposed in a time of new development.

As long as devs are making great games and still making solid profits, I'm all for Sony to pump out exclusives. 6 exclusives vs 1 in sales might seem slightly off putting, but from a gamers prospective, it's awesome. I'm also curious how much time/money MS put into H3 compared to the devs of the other games. Doesn't really matter, but it would be an interesting read

seeafish

#29

seeafish said:

It will be a sad day when Sony stop making exclusives due to silly marketing reasons. They will turn into MS and just become another generic platform for your call of battlefield 4s and whatnot.
Without exclusives, it loses the flair it has, the thing that makes me and millions more gravitate towards the console. I genuinely think that's the reason you get a more mature overall crowd on psn as opposed to xbl.
However, they do spend too much time promoting some games and forgetting others. I always feel that the brilliant Resistance 3 was forgotten within 2 weeks of release. Stuff like that shouldn't happen. The big games will sell themselves; advertise the smaller ones.

Oh and please don't act like the whole Halo 4 mountain dew/7 eleven thing was a good idea. Never liked halo, but that totally cheapened the brand. Very similar to uncharted 3 and subway. It's painful to watch stuff like that and ruins the character for me. It's similar to how Yoda is currently advertising additional data rates for Vodafone here in the UK.

moomoo

#30

moomoo said:

@nathanuc1988 Can't argue with that logic. Those were all top-notch games, all of which raked in some serious dough.

Still, lots of other games didn't, or just didn't really get any attention. Sony sent Starhawk out to die this year; I seriously didn't know it was coming out until it came out. Maybe it's because I didn't buy Uncharted 3 (never liked the series due to the mechanics behind it) so I didn't try the beta, but Sony doesn't seem to care about letting others know about their stuff. They're not Apple; people won't buy their products just because they're Sony anymore. At least not in the quantity that Sony wants them to.

And for the record, I don't know many people personally that bought PS3's for the exclusive games. Maybe only 2 or 3. Most bought it for the free online. That's really it. It's pretty sad, too, because they're missing out on a ton of stuff.

Lew3107

#31

Lew3107 said:

I know for certain that I'll be buying a PS3 next year mostly for the exclusives. My 360 let me down on that and I will be selling it soon. There was only one exclusive franchise that interested me on the 360, and that was Forza Motorsport. 3 exclusive games in 6 years doesn't justify a purchase. I should've bought a PS3 from the start and I would've enjoyed games like Starhawk, Ratchet & Clank and inFamous.

Hopefully the PS4 picks up where the PS3 ends and carries on with the ton of exclusives it has. The PS4 and the Wii U will be my pairing of consoles for the next generation. Not because of graphics or new experiences, but because of the games it has to offer.

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