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First and second party titles and the PlayStation3 |

For a while now I have been thinking that Sony’s gaming future lies not just with the likes of GTA and MGS, but the first and second party titles they can produce.

For most of the existence of the PlayStation brand Sony has predominantly relied on high profile third party titles to build visibility in the marketplace. Here in the EU this started with titles like Wipeout on PSOne which, thanks to strategic marketing, grabbed clubbers with its dance soundtrack. Worldwide though, exclusives like the Final Fantasy series and Metal Gear Solid built up the PlayStation into the dominant platform, with developers attracted by the cheap cost of development and the possibilities of the CD format.

Sony repeated this with PS2, although there were already the first indications of Sony developing a first party portfolio; with Sega’s lack of success with the Dreamcast third party publishers and developers once again focused their attentions on the PlayStation format despite late arrivals from Microsoft and Nintendo. However, by the time the PlayStation 3 was announced Sony had significantly upped its first party content by buying up studios like Naughty Dog and established firm relationships with the likes of Insomniac and Evolution Studios.

Now, in the PlayStation 3 era the third party situation has become a lot more competitive. Sony has had to face the loss of titles that were previously exclusive to the PlayStation format as publishers seek to make their titles as profitable as possible by producing them for the (currently) more ubiquitous Xbox 360 and the cheaper to develop for, but very popular Wii. The most obvious recent example is Devil May Cry 4 becoming multi-format. I doubt it will be the last title either; it’s a sign of the $20million+ development cycle. So Sony is screwed right?

Uncharted: Drake's Fortune

Wrong. Whilst it’s easy to point out where Microsoft’s major first party title is (yep, Halo) and Nintendo has a few (Mario- Super or Paper, Metroid, Zelda, Smash Bros, Pokemon and the incumbent WiiSports/WiiPlay series), Sony’s, whilst much harder to highlight, role call is impressive. One example, Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune pictured above, has huge potential. Other titles to watch out for this year are: Killzone, Ratchet and Clank Future, Singstar, Eye of Judgement, Lair, Warhawk, Heavenly Sword and Hot Shots Golf 5. But these are the ones we know about. It won’t be long until we see Gran Turismo 5, next-gen SOCOM, Syphon Filter, Wipeout (already confirmed), the Getaway, many more Eyetoy titles, the next full game from the God of War team, Team ICO’s next work as well as eventual sequels to Resistance and Motorstorm. So whilst Sony might not have the third party support all to themselves this time around, their first party lineup is much stronger.

What’s strange is that Sony seems so reluctant to showcase these titles. There are a lot of games in development, and I hope we see them sooner rather than later.

More shots of Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune

  • Pc

    Exactly Tom, i’m not worried about the loss of a few exclusives because there are still several 3rd party games that are STILL exclusive and the 1st and 2nd party makeup of Sony is waaayyyy bigger than Microsoft and Nintendo. Once some of the first party titles start rolling in, more and more people will go out and buy a PS3. It will be like the PS2 all over again, especially with brand new content like LittleBigPlanet, and Home !!

  • I agree. People are underestimating Sony’s first party and scream bloody murder when a third party exclusive goes multiplatform. It’s not a big deal when so many quality firsst party games are coming out, as long as Sony continue to support third party to a well enough degree.

  • Doodlepants

    Why does everyone forgets to mention White Knight ??

  • People definitely underestimate Sony’s first party. Microsoft has HALO, nintendo, has mario, metroid, and zelda. But sony has a far more diversified base, a base that has a broader range of IPs, and isnt afraid of creating new franchises as opposed to totally relying on old ones.

  • Sporty

    To go completely off topic.

    Uncharted looks really good in screen shots. Naughty Dog has a better track record then most studios. But I’m still cautious since we haven’t really seen how the gameplay is. I’m hoping this is something more then a pitfall remake.

  • I’m pretty confident Naughty Dog will produce something special with Unchartered: Drake’s Fortune, Sporty, but I will hold off a little until I see the game previewed and in action.

    As for Sony’s first and second party games, they definitely have the strongest lineup of titles out of the 3. The real gems are the titles that nobody has mentioned or that Sony simply hasn’t shown anybody. Nobody new anything about LitleBigPlanet until GDC and it blew most people’s socks off. That’s the kind of stuff that Sony will need to produce to counter the loss of exclusive 3rd party titles.

  • rob

    that first party line up sucks! cmon, from that list i think god of war, heavenly sword and maybe GT5 are the only ones worth even mentioning….wipeout?? syphon filter?? those games dies many years ago. If their trying to promote the ps3, why not mention FFXIII, kingdom hearts and of course MGS4, the true reasons why the ps3 will sell.

  • I disagree with you rob.

    You’re dismissing games before they have even been previewed! How do you know how good/bad the games are going to be?

    Different strokes for different folks as they say. 😐

  • Sporty

    One of Sony’s major problem with first party is they concentrate on original IP for the most part. So it’s not the next Mario or whatever as much as will the next game be something as big as ICO, God Of War or another Extermination, Arc the Lad, Getaway or Dark Cloud caliber game.

    A lot of people like the latter list even though the former gets all the news. But Naughty Dog and other studios move on after they think they are done.

    Sony has nearly 20 internal studios with some having as many as dozen teams. Not to mention strong ties with plenty of 2nd party studios. Over 150 Sony controlled titles in development and we can only name about a dozen.

    Sony really needs to refocus on itself. But at the same time you have to wonder how much of this shyness has to do with third party relations. After all Microsoft dismantled it’s first party sports teams to get EA onto Live. Sony just let 989 go to hell. 😀

  • I don’t care. I love my PS3

  • PJ

    Halo 3, Mass Effect, Lost Oddessy, Blue Dragon, Cry On, Alan Wake, Halo Wars, Forza 2, Too Human, Crackdown, PDZ, Viva Pinata, PGR4, etc. (not to mention exclusives like BioShock and the next Splinter Cell.)

    IMHO….Sony may have MORE first/second party title games, but they are not AAA like MS and Nintendo.

  • Sporty

    To each their own. Other then Lost Oddessy and Blue Dagon, I couldn’t care less about those games. And the two I mention are more a mild curiosity then interest at this point.

  • Sporty

    Actually, I just realized I couldn’t care less about most games coming on any system atm.

    Probably a sign I’ve been playing too much WoW.

  • Pc

    Just so you know PJ, alot of those games that you mentioned are not exclusive at all. Mass effect and Bioshock, and even Allen Wake will be on PC as well, therfore not exclusive, but only exclusive to that console. Just about everybody has a PC so they could play those games as well ( i know i’ll be playing those titles on my PC cuz the 360 has a horrible failure rate, but that’s what happens when a software company tries to make hardware). Now if you want to talk about great AAA titles that are exclusive and can only be played on one machine, then look no further than the PS3 !!!

  • ben

    awesome article man, preach on!

  • Doofus

    The author of this post is a tool for using the word “whilst” twice in one paragraph…seriously.

  • PJ

    Pc said “Just so you know PJ, alot of those games that you mentioned are not exclusive at all. Mass effect and Bioshock, and even Allen Wake will be on PC as well…”

    True, but Mass Effect probably won’t be released on the PC for months after the 360 version. Besides, there are plenty of other AAA 360 exclusive games.

    Nintendo also has a great AAA lineup. I just don’t see that with PS3 exclusives.

  • MetalProxy

    What ever PJ, Nintendos line looks questionable. I still dont have Wii, and probably wont ever own one. And as far as the 360 games, well dont get me started. I have noticed that MOST of the xbox so called exclusives are coming to the PC. The games cant be all that great if they are coming out on the computer.

    Sonys first party games looks GREAT! Love it or Leave it!