During the days of the PlayStation 1 and 2, Sony relied heavily on third party developers to sell hardware. Sure, the Japanese conglomerate had a hefty line up of first/second party titles for both systems but one could argue that it was because of exclusive third party franchises from the likes of Capcom, Square Soft/Enix, Konami, Namco and many others that gave the PlayStation brand an edge over the competition.
All that changed with the advent of Microsoft’s second generation console, the XBox 360. Third party developers discovered that going multiplatform had its perks, forcing Sony to focus on its internally developed IPs to make the initially pricey piece of hardware appealing to consumers. For the most part this strategy has payed off.
With over two dozen studios under its belt regularly churning out PS3 games and pushing the system to new technical heights, Sony’s in-house developers have proved their worth. In 2011 hardly a month went by without the release of one exclusive title for the PS3 but as the saying goes, too much of a good thing can be bad.
This has been a tough lesson learned for Sony according to comments made by Sony Computer Entertainment head Shuhei Yoshida during an interview with Game Imformer earlier in the year:
“When you have ten games coming out in a year compared to two or three, how much focus you get from our business and marketing side is very hard. From a portfolio side, we were very excited about the games we had last year, but we probably diluted support for each title.”
With the company executives coming to this realization so late in the PS3′s life cycle does this mean its next home console, presumably called the PS4, will see fewer first/second party titles?
By far Naughty Dog, Polyphony Digital, and Sony Santa Monica are what we’d call Sony’s “big three studios” in terms of creating top selling exclusives for the PS3 with Konami providing the only exclusive third party multimillion seller for the system. However, this gen Sony as a whole has taken a huge financial hit causing several studio closures, canceled games, and hundreds of layoffs.
As the uncertainty in the world economy continues can the Japanese corporation afford to invest in dozens of exclusives titles like it has done thus far this gen? Ultimately, that’s for Sony to decide, but assuming the next PlayStation is as developer friendly as the PS Vita ( and a lot more affordable from the start ) then perhaps Sony won’t need to rely so much on exclusives to sell its next home console.