Many of the titles on Sony’s PlayStation platform are considered by some to be games with the best quality offered in the industry. They are viewed as games that set the bar for other studios in the areas of quality content, innovation, and experience. Yet despite the great quality that many of Sony’s exclusive titles provide, they don’t always sell well after release. This is mostly due to forces outside of the control of developers that create many of the games every PlayStation fan loves. A poor combination of bad marketing, neglect, and lack of focus are responsible for many PlayStation exclusive games under-performing in sales and ultimately becoming less than stellar releases. These are the reasons why Sony exclusive titles have not reached their full potential in recent times and why things need to improve in the next generation of gaming.
While most game publishers have gone out their way to promote their games for the maximum exposure possible, Sony has struggled in doing this. Many have thought that getting word out about a game would be easy for a gaming conglomerate like Sony, yet things just have not turned out well in recent times. A perfect example of this would be a game such as PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale, where a variety of PlayStation exclusive characters gather together for one game, similar in concept to Nintendo’s own Super Smash Brothers. Being a massive celebration of all things PlayStation, one would believe that a company like Sony would put in enough effort and resource to get word out about such a massive first party title that promotes everything great about PlayStation. Yet as it turned out, very little was done outside of a lackluster commercial (which showed very little to no gameplay at all) and a grouping of online web ads/videos, all of which failed to really showcase anything great about the game at all.
Such an approach has constantly plagued Sony since the last generation of consoles. Many of the great PlayStation title marketing ads date back to the time of the PS1, where more emphasis on the game was at the forefront of the message being delivered. In recent times however, a shift towards an over-abundance of gimmicks and punch lines have superseded the better aspects of the games themselves. This mostly leads to some very confusing messages to gamers/consumers and hinders their potential to go out and buy Sony exclusive games. Rather than having a commercial of someone falling in slow motion with a PS Vita in hand, or an ensemble of real life counter parts of popular Sony characters, Sony should show the finer aspects of the games and not just display a punch line or gimmick. The gameplay, the visuals, or a tease of some cool moments within the game, all would be better options for showing everyone the reasons why anybody should buy their games.
Neglected Features and Mediocre Execution
Despite the perception given to many gamers about the PlayStation Move or the PS Vita, both types of hardware have the potential to be successful if more attention and effort was put into evolving them. This would more easily come in the form of both innovative design choices and great software. However the neglectful display shown by Sony in recent times has all but diminished “what could have been” for exclusive games that would utilize the PS Move, and just as much hurt titles that would be exclusive on PS Vita. Things like Wonderbook, which has been heavily scrutinized, have only vaguely displayed what is possible with such an idea. And while some titles like Walking with Dinosaurs help to showcase what can be done, there are no other titles that bring out the best of it. And even though such an issue is unique to Wonderbook and PS Move, it is easily related to PS Vita, where features like the back touch-pad and gyroscope have been used in mediocre ways and afterwards long forgotten.
Such behavior is a detriment to having some truly innovative ideas and interesting experiences exclusive to PlayStation. Games like PlayStation Move Heroes suffer because of the lack of devotion to expand upon utilizing PS Move in better and more interesting ways. At the same time, features like the back touch-pad on PS Vita that were heavily promoted in early titles like Uncharted Golden Abyss become neglected because of a lackluster first attempt. Sony would be better off taking more time to refine and develop the features offered in many of these exclusive titles. Gamers want high quality features and experiences that Sony will stick with for a long time, not things that will be quickly dropped like a bad habit.
Gamer’s Lack of Focus
The attitudes displayed by gamers are a very important factor in why Sony exclusive titles under-perform when they are released. While outside of Sony’s direct influence, it is still just as important as both a byproduct of the previous reasons listed above, and an uncontrollable occurrence. Sony has some responsibility in this because of the impressions poor marketing and neglect can leave on consumers buying games, but the biggest detriment can always be word of mouth, or lack there-of. The perfect example of this would be the release of the recent Sony exclusive from Sanzaru, Sly Cooper Thieves in Time. This is a game that not only was priced very well and given a great deal with the Cross-Buy promotion with PS Vita, but was also a quality title that catered very much to fans of the Sly Cooper franchise. Yet the biggest challenge the game had to overcome wasn’t convincing everyone it was a quality game, but the lack of buzz gamers failed to generate about it. Some would instead debate or argue about small unimportant issues, like who should represent the voice of gamers, rather than help get word out about a quality game. Paired up with a lack of decent marketing and exposure from Sony, and you have a recipe for a low performance.
Gamers need to focus on what is really important if they really care to see the industry evolve. Having a case of “gamer A.D.D” and outright ignoring quality games for favor of unimportant issues does not help in the long run. Instead such an approach brings about the opposite result, leading to good games going unnoticed, studios closing, and the like. While it is not the consumer’s responsibility to do the marketing for Sony, they do have the influence to spotlight the titles that are really important and deserve the attention. So many titles, both Sony exclusive and otherwise, go unnoticed because of a lack of buzz generated by gamers who really care about games. It does not matter how great a game may be if nobody hears about it, the only way that can happen is if gamers speak up about how great it is.