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Where Are the Playstation 4 AAA Exclusives?

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With Christmas just around the corner, gamers around the World will soon flock to their local retail outlet (or digital hub) to browse the wares of the videogame elite. In 2016 the consumer will certainly have a choice to make between the AAA third-party heavy-hitters: Call of Duty, Battlefield, Fifa, and Titanfall 2 will all play their part in ensuring another successful holiday season for the big publishers. Amongst these multi-platform titles, Xbox One adopters have been spoilt for choice with their own exclusive titles in the form of Gears of War 4, Forza Horizon 3 and Dead Rising 4. PlayStation owners can look forward to a game plagued by delays and disappointing first impressions in the form of The Last Guardian, but that’s the extent of Playstation’s AAA output for the rest of the year. It’s been 3-years since it was released to the public and it begs the question: where are the PlayStation 4 exclusives?

There are those who will cry foul of this article exclaiming the 2016 release of the excellent Uncharted 4 and Ratchet and Clank, but these are just two games from a console manufacturer with an extensive history of diverse AAA titles. The reason PlayStation 3 was able to claw back, and eventually exceed, hardware sales over the Xbox 360 was because of its approach towards delivering a high quantity/quality of games for its varying audience. Titles such as Gran Turismo 5, God of War 3, Heavy Rain, Infamous, Killzone 2, Little Big Planet, MotorStorm, Ratchet and Clank: A Crack in Time, The Resistance trilogy, The Last of Us, and the Uncharted Trilogy all reinforce Sony’s stance on exercising their prerogative of great games unavailable on any other platform. This prerogative feels absent from the PlayStation 4′ current identity.

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Phil Spencer’s invigorated Xbox camp have taken a page from Sony’s book by releasing a steady string of exclusive titles for the Xbox One, and now that plan appears to be working as -at the time of writing this – Xbox One hardware sales have topped PlayStation 4 sales for the fourth month in a row. While not aligning with the colossal expectations that Microsoft was projecting, Gears of War 4 and Halo 5: Guardians are AAA titles that have helped leave a dent in Sony’s paltry offerings. Microsoft’s initial and self-imploding reveal of the Xbox One may have started the console on the back foot, but now it’s PlayStation 4’s dependency on third-party titles and its complacency that has set Microsoft on a better path.

Sony’s E3 conference showcased an impressive line-up of AAA titles such as Horizon: Zero Dawn and Detroit: Become Human to name a couple, and, whilst the future is certainly promising, that’s exactly the problem: what have loyal PlayStation 4 fans got to shout about before these system sellers arrive? PlayStation VR’s current status reflects that of a launch console with an added degree of uncertainty and general public apprehension; impressive, albeit expensive, technology missing that killer app. The sales figures aren’t released to the general public, but Sony assures us the VR is meeting expectations, but at what cost? Maybe the problem with a lack of AAA titles hinges on the spread-too-thin resources at Sony HQ? If Guerilla Cambridge hadn’t been working on the VR title RIGS, Who’s to say they wouldn’t’ve been working on another core PlayStation 4 exclusive? Instead, they’ve released a title for what’s essentially a £400 (including camera) add-on.

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A scenario: you’ve bought a brand-spanking new PlayStation 4 Pro. You’ve been promised a high-performing, power-enhancing behemoth with increased hard-drive space and HDR-enabled functionality: the most powerful console on the market today. You need to test drive your new toy with something equally new and exciting. The Xbox One section is brimming with exclusive titles that take full advantage of the Xbox S’ inbuilt HDR functionality, but looking at the PlayStation 4 section, you’re at a loss: where are the titles that set this console apart from its rising competition? Another piece of hardware ill-equipped to fully demonstrate and justify the reason for its existence. Sony’s trying hard at the hardware game, but its need for accompanying software has never been greater. It will be interesting to see if Sony’s insistence on hardware over AAA exclusives for 2016 pays off.

2016 Should be noted as the year of videogame delays and customer frustration: DreamsHorizon: Zero Dawn and Gran Turismo Sport were all games intended for a 2016 release, but ultimately pushed back. No Man’s sky was continuously delayed after years of development time only to be released with mixed reviews and accusations of lying aimed towards lead developer Sean Murray. The hotly anticipated Street Fighter V was released seemingly unfinished; a business strategy that hasn’t paid off when looking at the disappointing sales. What PlayStation fans are left with are promises of great future titles, they just need to be patient whilst Xbox One gathers momentum. Sony’s strategies closely resemble a console that’s just launched as opposed to a console that’s been on the market for 3 years. 2017 and beyond can’t come soon enough for the PlayStation elite!

 

 

 

 

8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Craig Sharpe

    November 13, 2016 at 5:42 pm

    Sony are responsible for ensuring software meet the exact specifications for their console before endorsing a studio’s game on their console, this isn’t the point. This wasn’t meant as a huge jab to PlayStation 4, rather an observation on their lack of continuity and momentum from the previous consoles success. Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 started out as a bit of a David vs Goliath situation until Sony started to realise that quality software sells hardware. Surely this strategy should have carried on over to the PlayStation by now? A business need to learn from their mistakes and their successes if they are to grow.

    The PlayStation 4 is my favourite current generation console, but I want to play a game again that exhibits their own unique brand. A different company might add different character, but if it’s exclusive then they’re all under the same banner. I’m not angry or anything like that, I’m very happy with My PlayStation 4, but as a loyal customer I want to see and play games that nobody else can play on any other system – the console is a loyalty card, but it has very little to distinguish it from the competition.

    I can’t think of anymore exclusives coming out for Christmas 2016 aside from The Last Guardian. I’m not sure about your comment on the PlayStation 4 having the biggest game library comprising of the most diverse and critically acclaimed titles. The Order was pretty bad, Until Dawn reviewed well, but nothing special. I’d agree with the statement if were about Sony as a whole, but if we’re mostly sharing third-party titles with Xbox, how can that be true?

    • Matt De Azevedo

      November 13, 2016 at 9:13 pm

      There are a couple of reasons why the PS3 was behind the 360 from the outset of gen 7, but none of those reasons were the quality of its AAA exclusives. The PS3 stumbled out of the gate because the 360 was launched 1 year prior and thus had a large market share established; the PS3’s unique architecture was troublesome for third parties to deal with at the start, so reviewers often pointed out that multi-plats were better on the 360; and most importantly: The damn thing launched at price point that was $200USD over its rival. Sony dropped the price dramatically, 3rd parties got more comfortable with the tech over time, and eventually Sony caught up… but its AAA software was always there. Many, myself included, would argue that the PS3’s AAA exclusives outclassed the 360’s from the very start, and the exact same could be said about the PS4 Vs. the Xbox One right now.

      It’s a catch 22 scenario really. If Guerrilla Games releases a Killzone every 2 years people say “fuck this, we want a new IP, this is getting stale”. Then they take 3+ years to make Horizon and people say “fuck this, where are the damn exclusives?”. Games take time. High quality games take a long time. We notice the gap in-between exclusives because there are far more 3rd party games being made / released than there are 1st/2nd party games, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t enough exclusives.

      Over the next few years I’ll be getting the following exclusives on PS4: Persona 5, Days Gone, Death Stranding, Horizon Zero Dawn, Nioh, Yakuza 0, Tales of Berseria, Spider-Man, Shenmue III… and those are just the ones that came to my head right now, I’m sure there are many more. I just don’t see the argument that there aren’t enough AAA exclusives. If this article was about the GameCube / Wii / Wii U which only got a quality title once in a blue moon to go along with non-existent 3rd party support, then yes, I’d understand, but I’m drowning in Xbox One / PS4 games at the moment, and simply can’t find time to play them all.

  2. John Cal McCormick

    November 14, 2016 at 11:46 am

    “A business need to learn from their mistakes and their successes if they are to grow.”

    This is a really odd statement since it’s widely accepted that that’s exactly what Sony did with the PS4 after the disastrous launch of the PS3, and that’s part of the reason that the console is so successful. Regarding how the PS3 caught up to Xbox 360, it’s an apples to oranges comparison. You can say that you think that the PS3 caught up because Sony realised that quality software sells hardware, and you’re well within your rights to that opinion. It’s not a fact, though. And the truth is that nobody truly knows why the PS3 caught up. All we can do is speculate based on the facts we have.

    I, personally, don’t think it was anything to do with quality software selling hardware. Maybe millions of people in unison decided that the PS3 was attractive because of ace games. I don’t think that was it, though. The PS3 had loads of great games on it, sure, but then by your logic that would mean that the PS4 wouldn’t be selling so well. The arguments kinda contradict each other. Not really relevant to the article, but from my perspective I would say that the reason the PS3 caught up to the Xbox 360 was brand strength, first and foremost. That generation was different to this one, as Matt said, because the PS3 launched nearly a year and a half after the 360 and was priced outrageously. But even early on into the generation the PS3 was outselling the 360 globally (week on week) because it’s simply a stronger brand. I think the quality software available for it was coincidental, if anything, and the success of the PS4 despite fewer first party exclusives would go some way to backing that up.

    “I’m not sure about your comment on the PlayStation 4 having the biggest game library comprising of the most diverse and critically acclaimed titles. The Order was pretty bad, Until Dawn reviewed well, but nothing special. I’d agree with the statement if were about Sony as a whole, but if we’re mostly sharing third-party titles with Xbox, how can that be true?”

    I’m sure about it. A quick trip to Google and Metacritic provides enough research for a fairly reasonable argument.

    Copied from Wikipedia:

    Total Xbox One games (876):

    Exclusive = 30
    Console exclusive = 109
    Multiplatform = 728

    Total PS4 games (1244):

    Exclusive = 111
    Console exclusive = 360
    Timed = 37
    Multiplatform = 680

    Spying at Metacritic will tell you how many of those games were well reviewed.

    This is my point. The PS4 has no games argument has been done, but it’s not fact. It’s just opinion, based on the games you want. The PS4 actually has a massive and diverse library. The Xbox One has a smaller library, but it has a few more high profile titles every christmas, like another Halo, or Gears, or Forza.

    My point was that the argument that the article was trying to make (I think) was that Sony’s first party game hasn’t been strong this generation and I would agree. Only Naughty Dog has really delivered so far. But my counter is that they have more than enough coming from second and third party studios to keep us busy while we wait for the first party studios to get their games out of the door.

    Also The Order and Until Dawn aren’t made by Sony.

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