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Forums - Gaming Discussion - PlayStation Studios and Nintendo Entertainment Planning and Development - Which is the better first party group?

Among the 3 main platform holders, Sony Interactive Entertainment, and Nintendo Co., Ltd. are the two that put the most effort into their own first party game development. And both have been making moves to expand their development arms as industry consolidation forces platform holders to prioritize exclusive content.

PlayStation Studios is SIE's main development arm, led by Herman Hulst. Consisting of 17 global development teams such as Naughty Dog, Santa Monica Studio, XDev, and Insomniac Games. Each one bringing their own franchises and flavor to PlayStation consoles with hits like Uncharted, Ratchet and Clank, Gran Turismo, Astro Bot, and Horizon. PS Studios has recently been making major expansions with new additions like Housemarque, Bluepoint, Firesprite, Nixxes, and Valkyrie Entertainment. They're also working with new start ups such as Deviation Games, Haven Studios, and Firewalk on brand new projects. PS Studios also gained a brand new ally recently with Sony's acquisition of Destiny developer Bungie. While operating as a separate entity from PS Studios, Bungie's technology and expertise in the live-service multiplayer genre will come in handy for the PS Studios teams.

In the other corner, there's the Entertainment Planning & Development Division (EPD) at Nintendo. Headed by Shinya Takahashi, consisting of 11 software production units working on a variety of titles from around the world. EPD's key component, is its internal game development group, which develops Nintendo's biggest franchises such as Mario, The Legend of Zelda, Splatoon, and Animal Crossing, in addition to promising new IP such as ARMS, Ring Fit Adventure, and Game Builder Garage. In addition to its in-house studio, Nintendo EPD also runs various subsidiary studios such as MonolithSoft in Tokyo, Retro Studios in Texas, and support houses such as Nintendo Software Technology (NST) and Nintendo European Research and Development (NERD), and works with various independent second parties such as Intelligent Systems, Game Freak, HAL Labrotory, Grezzo, Platinum Games, and indiesZero as well.

The division is recently going through some major expansions. Nintendo is investing almost $1 billion into game development, by renting office space in a Kyoto facility near its HQ, and building a second development center in place of its former HQ. This is an effort to get more internally developed projects going rather than relying on outside developers. Next Level Games, a long time Nintendo partner known for Luigi's Mansion has also recently joined the EPD family last year.

Both Sony and Nintendo have different strategies with First party games. EPD generally outpaces PS Studios in raw yearly output, while PS Studios generally focuses on fewer, but bigger releases. EPD is prioritizing internal expansion rather than pure acquisitions, while PS Studios is making more pro-active moves in seeking out studio start ups like Firewalk. Between recent releases and upcoming developments, which first party organization do you like better?

Last edited by TheMisterManGuy - on 12 February 2022

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Sony 1st party games impress me in scope, details, and graphics. The main Sony games are always fantastic and a lot fun to play. Nintendo first party game while not graphically pleasing in the technical way a Sony game is, are still beautifully detailed games. Nintendo games do not have the story and overall scope of most huge Sony games but they are usually some of the most fun games around. Nintendo games just feel magical and perfect when you play them. When a new Zelda or Mario game comes out that is the only game I'm playing until I finish it. I love both systems first party games, but gun to my head I have to pick who makes the games I have the most fun with, its Nintendo.

Nintendo, no contest. No first or third party comes close.

For me it's no contest, Nintendo. While I do like some of Sony's games it's mostly older games from the PS1, PS2, PS3, and PSP. I don't really like the way their 1st party went during the PS4 era. Nintendo makes great games that can be enjoyed by anyone and their games are usually seen as innovative, or improves on something and makes it a standard.

This of course comes down to personal opinion and I believe the industry needs Nintendo 1st party more so than Sony's 1st party.

Nintendo wins for me, by far

Sony first party are great, but they lack the huge amount of variety and gameplay options that Nintendo IPs have

You can pretty much survive in a Nintendo system from Nintendo first party alone, meanwhile for Sony you will need a fairly high amount of third parties unless you really love narrative driven action adventure games

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Nintendo easily.

Most of Sony first party games don't appeal to me. There are of course some gems, but it isn't enough.

This is a very subjective question. If the question was: which first party has the more iconic ip, I would surely say Nintendo. If the question was: which first party has the more demanding graphics and robust stories, i would surely say Sony.
I happen to not like many Nintendo ip. I am quite fond of the main Mario games. Other than that there is not much for me personally. So the queation is: which first party do you prefer? And I would clearly say Sony. Just caters way more to my tastes. I am looking forward to playing Hirizon FW, God of War Ragnarok, Miles Morales, Spider Man 2, Wolverine, Returnal, GT7. I guess I will play Kirby eventually on my girlfriends Switch, but nothing much more.

They have very different genres and styles. Sony’s are more technically impressive but Nintendo’s have much more cross generational and cross cultural appeal. Nintendo being able to make games that are enjoyable for people of basically any age group is extremely underrated I think. I would give a slight edge to Nintendo, although it’s highly subjective.

I do think it’s curious that you would exclude Microsoft though. By this time next year they will have more first party studios than Nintendo and Sony combined, and almost triple the developer headcount. If that is not “putting effort into first party” I’m not sure what is

aTokenYeti said:

I do think it’s curious that you would exclude Microsoft though. By this time next year they will have more first party studios than Nintendo and Sony combined, and almost triple the developer headcount. If that is not “putting effort into first party” I’m not sure what is

Microsoft's ambitions are far grander than Sony or Nintendo. They're stocking up to compete against companies like Meta and Tencent who are trying to eat their way into the industry. Microsoft is preparing for that future by buying publishers so that they can have the advantage over any incoming player.

It's very different from Nintendo and Sony who are moreso investing in themselves rather than prepping for a subscription based metaverse future.

I feel like Nintendo's games tend to be ones that drive the industry forward and create franchises and genres. Sony's output tends to be very polished games that mostly stick with the overall trends of the time. I.e. Uncharted, Spider-man. So overall I prefer Nintendo. But I haven't played a lot of Sony first party stuff, so grain of salt.