As we come to the end of the first quarter of 2015, a moment of reflection is in order. I’ll primarily be focusing on Sony and their current lineup and affairs. After the recent announcement of Uncharted 4’s delay to Spring 2016, the first thought that came to mind was: “is Sony in trouble?”
It’s been a fairly rough start to 2015 for Sony and that’s because of one reason: The Order 1886. You can read my review of The Order 1886 here. The Order didn’t live up to expectations even though Sony seemed to bet a lot on this horse. Sony’s exclusive lineup has somewhat underwhelmed and/or disappointed fans thus far and the Order is just another addition. Titles such as Killzone: Shadowfall and Infamous: Second Son were good games but incomparable to their acclaimed prequels; and titles like Knack and The Order 1886 had promising ideas but unfortunately fell through. Sony’s current lineup can’t compare to the quality of Microsoft’s, let alone Nintendo’s. With Uncharted 4 slipping through 2015’s grasp and with no planned triple A exclusive releasing this fall, I refer to my previous question: is Sony in trouble?
It’s honestly up in the air at the moment. On one hand, Sony’s exclusive 2015 line-up looks a little grim as of now. With The Order underwhelming the masses and Bloodborne’s recent launch, in terms of bigger budget, triple A exclusives to be released in the remainder of 2015, only Until Dawn comes to mind. If there are no new announcements or no fall 2015 exclusive, then Sony may be in trouble. This fall, Microsoft plan to release both Halo 5 Guardians and Rise of the Tomb Raider, two big blockbuster exclusives; and Nintendo will probably release its next installation in the Legend of Zelda series for the Wii U (no release date confirmed at the moment). Microsoft’s and Nintendo’s current exclusive line-up is arguably stronger than Sony’s. Microsoft has the excellent Sunset Overdrive and Ori and The Blind Forest, the latter being a near masterpiece in my opinion. I may be in the minority on this one but I greatly enjoyed Titanfall. Nintendo has undoubtedly the best exclusives so far and rocked 2014. Mario Kart 8, Bayonetta 2, Super Smash Bros for Wii U, Pikmin 3, and Super Mario 3D World just boast a certain quality that PS4 exclusives can’t match currently. As I previously mentioned, Sony’s exclusives have underwhelmed thus far, with its best original exclusive being launch-title Resogun. So in short, if Sony don’t step up their game and start releasing more quality exclusives, they’ll be in trouble for the rest of 2015.
On the other hand, perhaps Sony doesn’t need to release an abundance of triple A exclusives. I know that sounds ludicrous but sales charts would strengthen my statement. The Playstation 4 is still currently in the lead, selling over $20 Million Worldwide, with the Xbox One just surpassing $10 Million as of holiday 2014, and the Wii U trailing along at $9.1 Million since its head-start launch in 2012. Somehow, despite its lack in intriguing first party software, Sony’s PS4 remains on top. This success is primarily due to Sony’s phenomenal consumer approach at their 2013 E3 press conference and their continuous support of excellent third party software. That press conference was simply amazing, and I believe to this day, that some people still have a bitter taste in their mouths about the practices that Microsoft were so close to implementing. For many, myself included, the PS4 has become the console of choice for third party software, as more copies of multi-platformed games are sold on PS4. So Sony has a steady stream of third party sales on their console, and their hardware sales continue to increase as the PS4 is the fastest selling console to date. With the recent release and success of Bloodborne, perhaps things are looking up for Sony. I just recently picked up my copy of Bloodborne and I am loving it thus far; reviews indicate that this is the game changer that Sony so desperately needed. I will eventually post a traditional review for Bloodborne, but I am currently working on a review for Ori and the Blind Forest, so stay tuned for both! For the remainder of 2015, Sony has Until Dawn, which looks compelling and is to be released in the Summer, but besides that, nothing has been concretely confirmed. Persona 5 is to get a definite 2015 release date in Japan, but whether it makes it over here in the West by 2015 is anybody’s guess. If Persona 5 is released in North America in 2015, then I honestly won’t be able to contain my excitement as Persona 4 is my favourite game of all time and Persona 5 looks absolutely stunning. As of now, with the exception of Bloodborne, Sony’s PS4 exclusive line-up is rather lacking, but hopefully history will repeat itself since the PS3 had a myriad of exclusives by its second year in the market such as Heavenly Sword, Resistance 1 & 2, Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, LittleBigPlanet, Metal Gear Solid 4, and Killzone 2.
So is Sony in trouble for the rest of 2015? My honest thought is no, yes there are a lack of announced triple A exclusives and the current line-up’s quality is not comparable to the competition but there is still time for things to change. Hopefully Sony has some hidden announcements for this year’s E3 and possibly fill in the gap that Uncharted 4 left; hopefully Until Dawn pulls through and becomes an interactive experience less like the Order 1886 and more like Heavy Rain. Given the Playstation 4’s current success, I think it’s safe to just breathe and see how the year pans out, but hopefully Sony doesn’t take their recent success for granted and lose sight on what gave them that success in the first place; the Playstation 4 is first and foremost a gamer’s console and hopefully that promised greatness will arrive someday.