Playing video games is about having fun with different people and also with different stories. I have both a PlayStation 5 and a Nintendo Switch OLED system that I play constantly but I play each for slightly different reasons. The PlayStation 5 is for most multi-platform games, first party Sony titles, and third party exclusives. My Switch is used for my indie titles, some multi-platform games, first party Nintendo titles, and third party exclusives. I do not have an Xbox but I still follow what they are making and what’s coming in the future. I know they have been lacking in releases but it seems like that might be turning the corner soon, so I may get one down the line; possibly within the next couple of years if all goes well. Nintendo and PlayStation both have games that are coming exclusively to each platform respectively, but my question that I want to discuss is this… does PlayStation have enough games right now?
Xbox games have been lacking for a while now. Halo Infinite was delayed from the launch of the console to a whole year later, and it was released half-baked. Forza Horizon 5 was released and while it was a great game from fan reception and reviews, how many people are actually still playing it today? Microsoft Flight Simulator came to the current gen Xbox consoles recently, as well as As Dusk Falls which were both published by Xbox Game Studios; both of which are cool. There are more games coming out soon as well too, which is better than none like they have had previously. They have made many announcements, but that doesn’t always result in more games releasing. Xbox’s plan is completely different than the other two platform holders so it’s harder to compare since all of their first party titles are coming out on their subscription service, Game Pass. The amount of games that Xbox has already shown in development is a large number, but does that mean we will see results soon; or is it going to be a wait-and-see kind of thing? Fable, EverWild, Perfect Dark, and a lot more have been announced but we have not seen much of. Only time will tell what will become of all of the announcements.
Sony has had a total of four first party titles that have launched this year, Horizon Forbidden West and Gran Turismo 7, Uncharted Legacy of Thieves Collection, and the remake for The Last of Us Part 1. They do have one more game coming in November, God of War Ragnarök. All of these scream one thing to me, Sony really only cares about AAA games with their first party studios. They do have other games that are console exclusive that came out this year besides first party releases; Babylon’s Fall, SIFU, and Stray to name a few. They had Rollerdrome that launched recently, but I personally didn’t see any hype for that one. They had other games that were going to be console exclusive, but now those games are no longer coming out in 2022; Tchia and Forspoken are two standouts that I want to play but are now slated for next year. All we know that is coming from first party studios for 2023, assuming there are no delays, is Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 from Insomniac Games. There are announcements of games they have partnered with and many third party exclusives, but I want to see more first party output! I really hope there’s more since a single game cannot hold up a single year all by itself, no matter how big the Spider-Man IP is.
Nintendo on the other hand has had a bunch of titles come out from them and they continue to have more scheduled for release throughout the rest of the year. Not all of these are massive AAA games like what Sony has done, rather there are a mix of smaller AA games and also massive AAA titles as well. These include Pokémon Legends Arceus, Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes, Nintendo Switch Sports, Xenoblade Chronicles 3, Mario Strikers: Battle League, and Kirby and the Forgotten Land. They also have had third party publishing deals with Square Enix including Triangle Strategy and Live-A-Live; Live-A-Live has never had an official release outside of Japan so that was a big deal. They have also had Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak which is console exclusive and the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe DLC Waves 1 and 2. They also have more games that haven’t been released yet that are exclusives including Bayonetta 3, Splatoon 3, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, and Mario+Rabbids Sparks of Hope. They also have announcements without dates right now like Advance Wars 1+2 Reboot Camp, Metroid Prime 4, and Breath of the Wild “2”.
PlayStation might not have as many exclusives coming out as Nintendo or as many announcements as Xbox, but that could be fixed if Sony really wanted to fix it. PlayStation Studios puts out these massive AAA games but they don’t really ever release first party AA games anymore. MediEvil and Concrete Genie are smaller games that were mixed in with the AAA third person adventures that kept releasing. They haven’t really had any of the AA games for the longest time and if they did release more of them, it would seriously help flesh out the overall lineup they had. They might be able to get away with exclusives or timed exclusives for a while, but their own games need to come out too and they aren’t even announcing any yet besides third party titles. I need to ask the question of why don’t they just say “we are working on this IP but please be patient to learn more”? Is that so hard for them to do?
Acquisitions are becoming bigger and bigger and they can help some of the output issues; however, it also is a very mixed feeling of now having certain things locked to one specific console market. Smaller teams like indies and smaller studio publishing deals are okay, or third parties like Embracer group who remain multi-platform are okay for me. However, big companies like Activision, Ubisoft, Capcom, Konami, and more leave a somewhat bitter taste in my mouth in all honesty when they become exclusive to one brand or platform. One-off titles here and there I expect and I am okay with, but it’s harder for me to accept full acquisitions of a big studio. The total amount of games you get from acquiring something right away might be helpful and needed. In the long run, though, it is all about being able to keep the amount of games flowing not just in quantity but also in quality of them as well.
Each of the different companies operates a little differently but all of them have things to focus on. Having great consoles is one thing, but if you don’t have exclusive games to back these up, why would we buy something that costs so much money? AAA games are fantastic, but they cannot come out every month and be the only thing to focus on and I feel like PlayStation is doing exactly that, and not looking at their other opportunities. Indies and the AA games market are what Nintendo is working on, on top of the AAA big budget games as well, and it works out great for them. Sony could do more releases with PlayStation IPs that are literally sitting doing nothing; Ape Escape, Sly Cooper, and Gravity Rush just to name a few. These wouldn’t have to be giant AAA adventures, but something to hold us over more than just third party games and a few exclusives here and there. Maybe they will change down the line, or maybe they won’t. Again, only time will tell what the future of video games will bring; and that is both exciting and terrifying at the same time. This might seem like I am bashing PlayStation, but I can tell you one thing; I am absolutely not. I play my PlayStation and my Switch equally and love both systems that I own. I just feel that the amount of games coming from PlayStation Studios is less than what they could have. There is a rumor of a State of Play in the future and maybe, just maybe this will all change soon.