Of course Nintendo exclusives are more easily tied to sales. As you said they don't have any third parties you could blame sales on. Sony had momentum going into the gen because of the great exclusives on the more expensive PS3 helping it overtake 360 at the end including a stellar 2013 lineup on PS3. Also I don't see how forza having a gagillion installments makes it better. Id rather have 1 game that gets patched and content updated as the only reason to redo a racing sim is for a new gen or maybe twice in the same gen if there's a big enough gap.
Sony exclusives sell consoles but they're more of a pebble on the scales that tilts it towards them instead of Xbox. Customer A buys a PS4 because it has GT. They don't buy any other exclusives and get a bunch of third party other than that
Customer B buys a PS4 because of GOW and does the same.
Customer C does the same but with infamous
And so on
So if an exclusive sells a couple million it very well could have been the pebble that tilted that mostly third party buyer into getting PS4 for a million of them even if they're not primarily into exclusives like a Nintendo customer might be. Didn't mean it didn't influence the sale.
Harder to track but still a definite selling point as much or more so (as the numbers indicate) than a few more pixels on third party games
Nintendo 1st party games simply sell better, they always account for much of the sales on their platforms even when their 3rd party support was better.
I think Sony has always had momentum. They just hurt sales significantly due to the high price of PS3 with little to show for it. PS3 surpassed 360 in the end due to huge sacrifices in price more than exclusives. Again, a small fraction of PS3 users actually bought the exclusives. Therefore its obvious price cuts had a bigger impact then the exclusives. Muliplats did great on PS3.
TLoU was a great release in the end, while GT6 was fine but not huge (like Forza 7). I feel MS and Sony were dumb for not pushing cross gen releases at launch while 3rd parties were doing it.
The Forza sim games on X1 looked great and had a ton of content. They also existed throughout the gen. Forza Horizon games all have unique worlds to explore, not just content updates and added features like the sim games. GT has been considered the king, but the Forza IP simply was better this gen primarily due to Forza Horizon.
Sony keeps making the same type of games, story driven 3rd person adventure games. Therefore its not crazy to assume much of the same audience is continually buying 1st party games. Fans of GT though might not buy other Sony games. Your argument has some validity.
However, I feel the best edge Sony had this entire gen was the momentum of a cheaper and technically superior PS4. I feel that was a mistake MS could never really bounce back from even if they ultimately did pretty good.
Its the same with PS3, it ultimately sold a little better than 360. But they never really recovevered from mistakes early on. That allowed Xbox to grow significantly. If Sony didn't make mistakes with PS3 it wouldn't have sold about equally with 360, it would have trounced 360.
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