Was sifting through some site and forum topics and this concept and it got me thinking.
Sony has purposely not had too many MP only endeavors in their coffers of Exclusives this gen, and it strangely has given them an advantage. I will explain.
Early in this gen there was a rumored Scifi Multiplayer title brewing at Sony Santa Monica. The game was Cory Barlog's dream game supposedly, with a lot of behind the scenes hype about it. Unfortunately....the game was internally scrapped after further review by Sony heads who thought the game needed more refinement and means of differentiating itself from the wealth of 3rd Party MP games. It was also said that the game was scarilly similar to Destiny in scope, a game that had the pedigree of ex-MS studio Bungie behind it. Sony ultimately dumped their own internally produced game to throw weight behind what would be a more massive title. This could be seen as strange but it has benefit.
- Sony has not actually had the best of luck in the MP space. The competition is stiff because pretty much every 3rd Party concentrates on it. They attempted to invest in some less common MP games (Killzone, Resistance) and uncommon (God of War Ascencion, SOCOM, MAG, War/Starhawk, LBP, Uncharted, TLOU). A few positively perceived experiences that still are second to the attention their single player sides get, and others that completely floundered.
- Game Development is expensive and Risky. For Sony in this situation, more risky than just supporting the 3rd Party content.
- Third Party Game development is where the real money is. 3rd Party game development dwarfs 1st Party in amount of content.
- Single Player games are a more spacious playing field, that Sony now has the freedom from most 3rd Party competition to thrive.
Ultimately, what Sony has discovered is they can apportion a fraction of what they would have normally put in dev cost of a MP game of their own in a Third Party title instead. I imagine What one internal game costs could be used to garner several 3rd Party marketing deals. Destiny, Call of Duty, and some years even Battlefield and Assassin's Creed. The Royalties from these games would dwarf what Sony could most likely make from their own attempts. Sony is getting the biggest game marketing deals over MS who obviously has more money to throw around than them. So how can Sony be out maneuvering MS in these kinds of endevours you ask? Simple combination of things.
For one, Playstation is the market leader by a large margin. It is far easier to convince the 3rd Parties to side with you when you have the biggest chunk of the market pie. A team up has far less risk. That is basically what got so many of Sony's closest market allies to diminish their ties with them during the beginning of PS360 era. Games like GTAIV or Devil May Cry 4 were pitted with the question would they sell as well as their previous iterations did on the PS2 if the PS3 was at that point lagging behind 360.
The opposite side of that is MS has become far less tenacious on getting 3rd Party co marketing deals. I think it is because early on they realized that their First Party was suffering and people were starting to wonder why should they choose Xbox when Playstation has what they have but more. They started funneling those kinds of funds into building up more of a First Party, because 1st Party is the only thing that keeps a Console afloat in any generation where you are really not doing well console sales wise.
Take the Gamecube for instance, which sold somewhere around 35mill compared to the PS2's 150+million. Yet...... the Gamecube like all Nintendo main consoles, except for the WiiU, maintained a good sense of profitability from internal exclusives support.
Yet the most important aspect I think is that Third Parties are choosing playstation to team up with because they don't have to fight Sony specifically for gamer attention for their games. Sony is doing Single Player stuff which doesn't really compete on the same field all the time as the MP space. In this sense, its actually harmful for MS's Third Party relations that up to this point they concentrated so heavily on making MP experiences. MP titles from other publishers will in effect have less space to shine. We all know releasing things that are too similar around each other causes one or all to suffer do to disparity in popularity. See Titanfall 2 who was unfortunately(tho I suspect deliberately) released sandwiched between COD and Battlefield giving it no chance of ever succeeding. Or take note of Rise of the Tomb Raider's one year exclusivity contract with Xbox of which I imagine in part was due to Uncharted 4 was scheduled to come out that very same holiday and the games are obviously very similar.
So basically Sony is paying for co advertising and giving the Publishers an uncontested space.
Also take note, Sony has been surrendering the Holiday to Third Parties also. Most of Sony's big games are coming out in the early part of the year, giving their partners even more room to shine. The Last of Us, God Of Way, Horizon, Detroit ect all came out in Q1/2 of their release years. I can only think of 2 AAA titles Sony released during the holiday-ish time frame and thats Spiderman(a joint Venture with the titan Disney and Insomniac) and GT Sport(Sony's oldest and previously best selling franchise in what is currently a deserted racing market).
None of this is to completely say they have given up internally on the Multiplayer space. It is just they want to play to their strengths and tread in mostly uncharted territory if they are to risk MP. They took the smallest of gambles on things like Drawn to Death, they still incorporate MP in some of their popular Cinematic Story titles. Dreams is probably their biggest MP risk title, where when it finally releases it will be making a play for the Minecraft crowd.
I do fear that it might come back to haunt them if they don't have some good MP centric titles lined up by next gen. Third Parties are fickle, and the continued success of their partnerships could change on a dime for a myriad of reasons. Without the backing of Third Parties to mask the lack of their own MP games it could become a very large problem.
I don't think the traditional FPS is ever going to be their fortee....but they should maybe dabble in more Monster Hunter, Souls-esque kind of gaming. Honestly some of their PS3 attempts could have really shined if the timing was different. Especially MAG, a game that would have benefited a lot from the current Battle Royal hype and the power to truly handle itself on the likes of the PS4. Some of the Vita titles (RIP) showed promise like Killzone Mercenaries(the best in the series IYAM) and Soul Sacrifice. I am also personally sad that the 2 player cooperative title Eight Days Sony was making last gen never got to see the light of day because it seemed to have a really good Army of Two meets Uncharted formula.
Last edited by forevercloud3000 - on 26 September 2018