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Forums - Sony Discussion - Playstation being American-ised is bad for the market, I think

IcaroRibeiro said:

I'm getting sick-tired with this narrative that games that have good stories and photorealistic graphics aren't "real games" but "interactive movies". It's like in the early 2000 where anything should have great and top-notch graphics otherwise it didn't deserve to be played, only in reverse

Well, let's look at it this way: you have <new medium> but creators tend to imitate <old medium> with their works. This is what cinematic games are. And sure, I understand it from a company standpoint: marketing to the known works better than marketing to the unknown. But what pushes the medium forward will be other stuff.

It's like early movies tried to emulate theater plays instead of using the new techniques like close-ups, different camera angles or moving camera to their advantage.



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PullusPardus said:
Darwinianevolution said:

To be fair, the biggest threat to Sony right now is their inability to just meet the demand of consoles. That and their weirdly inconsistend censorship. But if I had to put my two cents here, I do agree that Sony's big cinematic products are in detriment of, at the very least, the variety of their 1st party. They really ought to put more effort on more lighter and cartoony products for all audiences, instead of all of this PG 13 - 18 cinematic experiences. The latest Ratchet & Clank game sold well, and they have more of that kind of series still doormant. At the very least Sony moved on from the "Order 1886" kind of game, all looks and hype and no substance.

Also, now that we're being controversial, I'd say the current gen has not yet really justified its existence, but considering the consoles keep selling out, the market doesn't agree with me on that.

They have the Astro mascot, but they really need to have more mass appeal, more general appeal. Going after the people who fight over "Muh exclusives" on twitter and forums isn't really going to make them any profit. 

They need to diversify. The current gen came in at a terrible time too. 

I don't know, most 1st party exclusives tend to sell very well nowadays. The most controversial one I can think of is TLoU2, and despite the fierce controversies, it sold a ton of copies. I don't know if a potential TLoU3 could really reach anything like that after burning out so many fans, though...



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Mnementh said:
IcaroRibeiro said:

I'm getting sick-tired with this narrative that games that have good stories and photorealistic graphics aren't "real games" but "interactive movies". It's like in the early 2000 where anything should have great and top-notch graphics otherwise it didn't deserve to be played, only in reverse

Well, let's look at it this way: you have but creators tend to imitate with their works. This is what cinematic games are. And sure, I understand it from a company standpoint: marketing to the known works better than marketing to the unknown. But what pushes the medium forward will be other stuff.

It's like early movies tried to emulate theater plays instead of using the new techniques like close-ups, different camera angles or moving camera to their advantage.

Excelente explanation and exemplification.

Cinematic games are excellent, but arcade games and social games push more the medium than from an innovative standpoint. 



Production value has nothing to do with gameplay or genre. Arguing that high production value is not Japanese does not make any sense. Specially since we have seen Japanese studios make games like final fantasy and resident evil with high production value and strong stories and both still very different from each other.



It takes genuine talent to see greatness in yourself despite your absence of genuine talent.

So much of this seems like an excuse to dunk on Americans. As an American, I do have my own fair share of complaints about my country, but as a rule generalizing entire societies/cultures is frowned upon here, but I'll let that slide for a minute to offer a rebuttal.

First off, Sony isn't so much "Americanized" as it is "Westernized," meaning most of the games they make are by non-Japanese studios, not just in America but also in Europe. And it's not like Sony's in-house output was overwhelmingly Japanese in previous generations. Only Polyphony Digital, Japan Studio, and Team Asobi are/were Japanese studios. Every other first-party studio past or present are/were either American or European. Sure, Sony published a lot of third-party Japanese games back in the PS1/PS2 days, but that's not the same as making those games. For example, FF7 may have been a PS1 exclusive and was published by Sony outside of Japan, but it was not by any stretch a Sony game.

Second, Japanese influence in video games has diminished a lot. While Nintendo is doing exceptionally well, Japanese third parties aren't even close to the level of dominance they once held over the market. Thirty years ago, the dominant third parties were companies like Capcom, Konami, and Square. Today it's companies like EA and Ubisoft. This transition began in the latter half of the 90s. Today, though Capcom is still doing well for itself, they're essentially carried by Resident Evil, Street Fighter, and Monster Hunter. Konami has almost entirely ditched video games in favor of gambling machines. Square still has FF and DQ, but FF has moved from its turn-based roots to embrace the action-RPG paradigm popularized mainly by Western RPGs like Elder Scrolls, while DQ still mainly appeals to Japanese audiences. While Souls-like games have increased in popularity and are made mainly by From Soft, they don't exactly fit the traditional JRPG mold.

Not only has the market share of Japanese studios diminished greatly when it comes to the third-party market, but even the ones still doing well are either making legacy titles with large, entrenched fan bases or series that are not overtly influenced by Japanese pop culture.

And just look at the state of the Japanese market. Nintendo utterly dominates it. Home consoles in general have been diminishing in popularity in Japan since Gen 6. While handhelds have continued to thrive, the home console market has imploded for reasons that aren't clear (I have my theories), and cracks were even showing on that front back in Gen 6. Combined PS2+GC+Xbox+DC sales were less than combined PS1+N64+Saturn sales, and while the PS2 did outsell the PS1 by itself, it was by a margin significantly less than what we saw in North America and Europe. Even for Nintendo, they haven't had a home console sell over 15M units since the SNES. The Wii set records for Nintendo consoles in the West, but in Japan its sales were merely good, enough to be #1 in Japan for Gen 7 but far less than those of the #1 consoles of preceding generations. In Japan, the Wii sold 26% fewer units than the SNES, while in the U.S. the Wii sold over twice as many units as the SNES.

Looking at the state of the market for non-Nintendo consoles, it's been a disaster. The PS3 & PS4 combined sold fewer units than the PS2 did by itself, and the Xbox brand has failed to gain any sort of mainstream success. Meanwhile, combined PS+Xbox sales have been consistently strong in the West, with total sales between the two brands consistently being well over 60M for three consecutive generations in the U.S. alone. Meanwhile, Japan represented well under 10% of the combined PS+Xbox global install base in both Gens 7 & 8, with sales just barely passing 12M in Gen 7 and not even hitting 10M in Gen 8.

Looking at software sales, the situation is even worse. Tie ratios for home consoles in Japan have declined significantly from where they were 20 years ago. According to Famitsu, only five games in Japan have sold over 1M copies at retail across both the PS3 & PS4: Monster Hunter World, FF13, FF15, DQ11, and RE5 (add in digital, and FF7 Remake and possibly even Kingdom Hearts III might have passed the 1M mark). Of those, only MHW sold more than 2M copies. Meanwhile, the PS2 had 23 million-sellers in Japan by itself, including four that sold more than 2M. Series like Final Fantasy and Resident Evil have greatly diminished in popularity in Japan. Even the most Japanese of Japanese games struggle mightily in Japan, especially on home consoles.

This is just the reality of the market. And since game companies operate on a for-profit basis, they are going to tend to make what sells best, especially if they focus on the mass market, which console makers do. This means that Japanese publishers are either going to have to A) make games that appeal just as much if not more so to Western audiences than they do to Japanese audiences, or B) continue to make games that appeal more to Japanese audiences and deal with becoming more niche. Nintendo has been doing "A" for decades now, with their games having widespread appeal to global audiences. Sony is simply doing the same on their side.

Sony prioritizing the North American and European markets is good business. They are going to make games that appeal to as cosmopolitan of an audience as possible. Niche titles that appeal primarily to Japanese tastes are not going to be a priority for a company that makes games for its own platform. And this strategy has worked for them. While some people may detest some of Sony's output (often for superficial reasons that have little to nothing to do with the actual quality of the titles), those games consistently dominate the list of best sellers on PlayStation consoles. God of War on the PS4 has sold almost 20M copies, for example (probably over 20M by now, as the last sales update was 11 months ago).

If you don't like Sony's first-party output, well, that's a you problem. If their games aren't to your tastes, you're free to spend your money elsewhere. But the market has spoken: Sony's games do well, more than well enough to justify a continuation of several generations of focusing on the funding of Western game studios for their in-house software development.

Last edited by Shadow1980 - on 24 July 2022

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Mnementh said:
IcaroRibeiro said:

I'm getting sick-tired with this narrative that games that have good stories and photorealistic graphics aren't "real games" but "interactive movies". It's like in the early 2000 where anything should have great and top-notch graphics otherwise it didn't deserve to be played, only in reverse

Well, let's look at it this way: you have but creators tend to imitate with their works. This is what cinematic games are. And sure, I understand it from a company standpoint: marketing to the known works better than marketing to the unknown. But what pushes the medium forward will be other stuff.

It's like early movies tried to emulate theater plays instead of using the new techniques like close-ups, different camera angles or moving camera to their advantage.

Nonsense. It might be true to very few specific games like Detroit or Life is Strange (which I found to be great games regardless), but for the majority of games? I don't get any feeling to be watching a movie when playing God of War, The Last of Us, Uncharted or Horizon just because they have cutscenes. Those are mainly action games meaning that you need to have reflexes, coordination, and precise time-reaction. They are a very, very different kind of entertainment  

I'll spare you the hurdle to answer Bloodborne and Ratchet and Clank because they aren't even story-heavy in the first place

I'm inclined to believe it's the other way around: When games were initially released there was no story and cutscenes were short. People just want gaming to go back to how it was in the 80s because that's what most of gamers over their 30s are used to, they don't dislike cutscenes because they resemble movies but instead because this is not how gaming was "supposed to be". Remove all political subtext and most of the screenplay from TLOU and turn it into a mindless zombie-hunting game and most of the people who dislike it will suddenly stop talking shit about it because the game has, surprisingly, great and tight mechanics and controls (which nobody seems to recognize for the reasons mentioned) 



Shadow1980 said:

I have my theories

I would like to read them because I don't quite get it either. 



Mnementh said:
IcaroRibeiro said:

I'm getting sick-tired with this narrative that games that have good stories and photorealistic graphics aren't "real games" but "interactive movies". It's like in the early 2000 where anything should have great and top-notch graphics otherwise it didn't deserve to be played, only in reverse

Well, let's look at it this way: you have but creators tend to imitate with their works. This is what cinematic games are. And sure, I understand it from a company standpoint: marketing to the known works better than marketing to the unknown. But what pushes the medium forward will be other stuff.

It's like early movies tried to emulate theater plays instead of using the new techniques like close-ups, different camera angles or moving camera to their advantage.

Totally agree.

Back in the silent movie era they had these silly Keystone Cops type of films with car chases.  This wasn't serious content like Shakespeare, but it actually was advancing the medium of film forward.  You can't do car chases effectively on a stage, and in fact a lot of things common in action movies don't work nearly so well on stage.  Shakespeare was ironically holding the film medium back, because it's more suited to be performed on stage.  Without people trying silly stuff like the Keystone Cops, there probably wouldn't be much of an action movie genre today.

The games that move the gaming genre forward are often what people call "quirky" or "casual" or something else like that: Minecraft, Wii Sports, Ring Fit Adventure, etc....  Sony used to even publish games like these such as Ico or Demon's Souls.  Of course these were gameplay oriented games from Japanese developers.  The OP makes a good point in that Sony is shooting themselves in the foot by focusing only on Western games.  Even if these are the big money makers today, they need to be planting seeds for the big money makers of tomorrow.  Quirky games like Ico and Demon's Souls can lead to Shadow of the Colossus and Elden Ring.  Their investment into Japanese games was to a large part an investment into R&D. 



IcaroRibeiro said:
Mnementh said:

Well, let's look at it this way: you have but creators tend to imitate with their works. This is what cinematic games are. And sure, I understand it from a company standpoint: marketing to the known works better than marketing to the unknown. But what pushes the medium forward will be other stuff.

It's like early movies tried to emulate theater plays instead of using the new techniques like close-ups, different camera angles or moving camera to their advantage.

Nonsense. It might be true to very few specific games like Detroit or Life is Strange (which I found to be great games regardless), but for the majority of games? I don't get any feeling to be watching a movie when playing God of War, The Last of Us, Uncharted or Horizon just because they have cutscenes. Those are mainly action games meaning that you need to have reflexes, coordination, and precise time-reaction. They are a very, very different kind of entertainment  

I'll spare you the hurdle to answer Bloodborne and Ratchet and Clank because they aren't even story-heavy in the first place

I'm inclined to believe it's the other way around: When games were initially released there was no story and cutscenes were short. People just want gaming to go back to how it was in the 80s because that's what most of gamers over their 30s are used to, they don't dislike cutscenes because they resemble movies but instead because this is not how gaming was "supposed to be". Remove all political subtext and most of the screenplay from TLOU and turn it into a mindless zombie-hunting game and most of the people who dislike it will suddenly stop talking shit about it because the game has, surprisingly, great and tight mechanics and controls (which nobody seems to recognize for the reasons mentioned) 

I don't know man the latest Rachel and clank really kicked it up with the story. Me having played all the titles found the stories more lite hearted and more joke heavy. And with a throw away story. This new one I found to hit all the right spots. Was still very humorous and the story was actually deep and had some points that really had me captivated. 

This is what I don't like about this topic that for me a game like ratchet and clank was able to keep everything that made all the previous great with the platforming and shooting and humor. But at the same time they added the high production value and still added a great story and high visuals. Wich only added to the experience. With like you said, you remove all of that and you still have a great classic ratchet and clank gameplay. 



It takes genuine talent to see greatness in yourself despite your absence of genuine talent.

I suppose PlayStation used to go more head-to-head with Nintendo in the sense that they had more IPs that were cartoony or family-friendly (or both). But they've been trying to differentiate themselves from Nintendo from the beginning. Their large amount of T and M-rated games is not something Nintendo would do.
They've become less and less like Nintendo it seems over time, but I don't think they were ever trying to create similar experiences.



Lifetime Sales Predictions 

Switch: 144 million (was 73, then 96, then 113 million, then 125 million)

PS5: 105 million Xbox Series S/X: 60 million

PS4: 120 mil (was 100 then 130 million, then 122 million) Xbox One: 51 mil (was 50 then 55 mil)

3DS: 75.5 mil (was 73, then 77 million)

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