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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!

 

 

 

 

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Matt De Azevedo

    November 11, 2016 at 9:52 pm

    Confusing article.

    It’s funny that when mentioning Xbox One exclusives you bring up games that released in October and September (Gears 4 and Forza) along with one upcoming title, but for the PS4 you only mention one upcoming AAA game? Dragon Quest Builders launched in NA on literally the same day as Gears 4, and World of Final Fantasy launched later that month, why no mention of either? By definition, a AAA title is a game with a high development cost coming from a huge studio, so both games certainly qualify (especially if you’re going to claim Dead Rising 4 is AAA). Is it because both Dragon Quest Builders & World of Final Fantasy are also on Vita? Well, if that’s the case, all Xbox One titles you mentioned are also on PC.

    A very healthy number of existing PS4 games have been patched to take advantage of the PS4 Pro’s capabilities, and even the standard PS4 has received updates that will (ever-so-slightly) enhance the experience for people with HDR capable TVs, so your comments on the Pro vs. Xbox One S lack any sort of actual basis.

    And lets not forget that PSVR just added a whole collection of console exclusive content to the PS4 library, and while a lot of it certainly isn’t AAA, some of it (Batman VR and Eve Valkyrie for example) are certainly high quality titles.

    The PS4 is in a fine spot, and on the whole 2016 was a good year for PS4 exclusives.

  2. Craig Sharpe

    November 12, 2016 at 7:41 pm

    I don’t think World of Final Fantasy counts as AAA as it was actually developed by Tose, those guys usually work on Nintendo’s smaller titles. I can’t think of anymore PlayStation 4 AAA titles coming out before the end of 2016 which is why I mentioned The Last Guardian.

    You reinforce my point about the lack of exclusive titles when Ps4 Pro adds HDR functionality to older titles that weren’t intended for that calibre of performance in the first place. Titles like Gears and Forza were designed with HDR in mind. I guess it Just feels like a weak justification to me for the PlayStation Pro without the shiny new games to back it up.

    VR looks incredible and I’d love to give it a try, but a £400 price tag instantly alienates a lot of PlayStation users. I really want to see a AAA VR title, but that’s another article for another day.

    I think the PS4 is a fantastic console, but it had a downright strange approach to 2016. The foundations have been laid for PlayStation Pro and VR, but surely by now the original PlayStation 4 console should have more exclusive titles to set it apart from the competition. I don’t agree with you when you say it was a good year for PS4 exclusives, but each to their own.

    • Matt De Azevedo

      November 12, 2016 at 9:13 pm

      Prior to Gears 4, Black Tusk Studios (aka The Coalition) had only worked on a Facebook game and a very poorly received flight sim. Should we not consider Gears 4 as AAA then? Forza’s “Horizon” line of games aren’t made by Turn 10 Studios, but rather by a secondary studio that was stitched together to only work on the spinoff series. Should the Horizon line of games not be considered AAA then? No, both Gears 4 and Forza Horizon 3 are AAA because of the might of the publisher behind them funding and advertising the project, and the same goes for World of Final Fantasy (which was developed in collaboration between Tose & Square Enix by the way, not just Tose.)

      In the article you say ” Xbox One section is brimming with exclusive titles that take full advantage of the Xbox S’ inbuilt HDR”. The reason I said your argument against the PS4 Pro lacks basis is because the PS4 section of the store is ALSO filled with a long list of games which take advantage of the Pro’s capabilities, AND on top of that the standard PS4 is HDR compatible, so using HDR as a crutch to prop up the Xbox One S doesn’t make any sense. HDR as a whole is nothing more than a buzzword companies are slapping into their press releases now anyways. My relatively new 4k TV isn’t HDR compatible. Do you know the percentage of people who own HDR TVs? It’s low. Are people going to go out and by a new TV just for HDR? If they are, couldn’t they just spend that same money on PSVR? Same exact barrier for entry, $$$.

      Alas, I own all consoles and game on PC as well, and I want all platforms to succeed, as competition results in nothing but benefits to the consumer. From my personal perspective I think the PS4’s exclusives this year outclass the Xbox’s by a fair margin, but I can see others disagreeing, and that’s a great sign that both sides are doing well. I don’t think we need to worry at all about “where the exclusives are”, a good number of them are just on the Horizon (pun indented).

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