Wave Foam – “A Last Ray of Hope Dwindles”

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Call me cynic, skeptic or plain fatalist, but I don’t like where the industry is headed. Especially, when you look at the mainstream big hitters. While browsing in Destructoid, I found this article on how PS3 exclusives don’t sell. Basically it bogs down to this: of all the great PS3 exclusives, only one passed the one million mark in actual sales… and that was the derivative “Resistance – Fall of Man”. This fact is disturbing for two reasons.

Firstly, this means people prefer the typical Xbox360 exclusive over Sony’s. I’m sorry to say, but no gruff military game like “Gears of War” can measure up to the quality of a game like “Uncharted – Drake’s Fortune” or “Metal Gear Solid 4”. Sure, they’re all blockbusters, and in a sense, they’re all pieces of shallow entertainment, but PS3 exclusives show the backing of a company that is willing to pay for certain standards that aren’t usually present in Microsoft’s games. Decent narrative and aesthetic assets for instance. Even “Heavenly Sword” and “Lair”, games with a fair share of problems on an execution of level, show a greater deal of identity and artistic merit than any “Halo” or “Mass Effect” could ever hope to achieve. However, the latter sell, while the former don’t. This tells me that gamers are backing the wrong horse, and are severely lacking in the taste department. There’s nothing wrong with Microsoft’s games, mind you, I love them as much as the next guy, but Sony is giving us more than just mind numbing action games… yet no one is paying attention to that difference.

"Gears of War 2" or "Killzone 2"? Do we really want to get stuck with this choice?

"Gears of War 2" or "Killzone 2" - do we really want to get stuck with this choice?

The second reason why this is a problem comes from the fact that Sony is the only of the three hardware console producers that has been paying a lot of money to produce quality content. And not just on a mainstream level, but also in small and medium-sized ventures, such as Q-Games’ (“PixelJunk Eden”) and ThatGameCompany’s (“flOw”, “flower”) downloadable titles. By not buying any of these games, gamers are saying it’s not worth producing and designing them, which will eventually lead Sony to stop sponsoring such ventures. Even if you do not agree that Sony’s games offer something more than Microsoft’s, you must concur that video-games need diversity and wealth of content. But if this trend continues there will be none, and there’s a very strong chance than in a few years time, you won’t get “The Last Guardian” or “Heavy Rain”-like games. Instead you will only have the choice to buy Microsoft’s “Halo’s” and “Gear’s of War” or Sony’s “Killzone’s” and “Resistance’s”, because companies will figure those are the only game-types people will buy. I don’t know about you, but that’s a prospect that doesn’t sound good to me.

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  • Comments (9)
  1. I knew I wasnt crazy!
    I actually saw the E3 Sony conference live on Gamespot and tought that sony was actually trying to make -if not top dogs- at least very competent and well designed games.
    Some of the most amazing games Ive seen the last year have been mostly Sony games, Little Big Planet and its hook on level design has me astounded as it is very basic for us humans to create (or build), and even destroy, as the game already allows it.
    Even when Killzone is another WW (or something) shooter, it is a visual spectacle as while Ive never played it, I really enjoyed watching it and showed the potential of the machine, that to most people means graphical prowress but to me it means: rendering building sized colossi on a 4 years old piece of hardware. So I can only dream of what someone with a little bit of creativity might be able to create in the coming years.
    Im thinkin of yet to be released Afrika, MGS4, Free Realms (my little brothers love it), and all those you mentioned.
    But on the other side I dont really think your grudge with gamers buying more Gears’o Wars than Little Tiny Planets comes from the real taste of one person. Its just that PS3 its extremely expensive and most of the time 100 dlls more its a lot to some people.
    So the Wii has motion controlers? Besides a few well done integrations in some games it remains a gimmick. Then there is the fact that even as pricing and hardware go people still fail to realize they are overpaying for an 8 years old, piece of hardware it probably costs like 20 dlls to produce nowdays, SO WHY are we still paying more than 200 dlls for it?
    As for Xbox… Well, we all know we have a few good games for it… Oh… Can only think of the Darkness… But Im sure theres more… Wait the Darkness was also on PS3… DAMN… Other than that I think its biggest hook is that it has a great online service despite some grudges. Its also a faulty piece of hardware but the big M did made ammends so not really a big complain right now.

    Cheers

  2. I liked it more when you start arguing with me for stating something similar to what you just posted here today: but I’m also glad that you reached a similar conclusion on your own.

    My greatest concern, at present, is the preservation of creative integrity in this industry, a valuable asset that Sony helped develop and mature as soon as the company pulled forward with the Computer Entertainment project. Even now, when that game development structure is compromised, we still see Sony dealing the higher cards in the console gaming universe: moreover, Sony is the only major player in the game industry whose logo can be seen on the main sponsor list at Independent Games Festival, of the oldest events promoting and supporting the finest independent videogame developers.

    It’s not a question of preference. It’s a question of thinking for oneself far beyond the mainstream media’s propaganda. This is the company that is actively investing on videogame artists, not on celebrities.

    • ruicraveirinha
    • June 30th, 2009

    Well, I guess you’re right, I am becoming a bit Bruno-like, which is preoccupying… I guess that opinions, like people, change and evolve; hopefully for the better 😉

    But there is still some difference in our opinions, as I am not wholly dismissive of Xbox360 games. I believe they have and should have a place in the industry as the leading front in a specific type/genre of game. I still like “Halo” and “Gears of War” as much as the next, yet I simply believe these should never serve as an excuse to overlook other games. They each have their own place in the medium. It simply stuns me that, matters of taste aside, Sony’s exclusives don’t sell, whether they be dowloadable or triple A. Games like “Uncharted” and “Metal Gear Solid 4”, not only have excellent production values and artistic assets, as they are polished entertainment games in their own merit. Why gamers buy so many of Microsoft’s batch and so little from Sony’s is a puzzle, and, as we both agree, a problem in the medium/long term.

    And I do not believe, that in this instance, the media is to blame. As far as I’m aware, the average rating of PS3 exclusives beats the one from Xbox360 (there’s a news bout that somewhere), so I do not agree with you on that. “MGS4”, “LBP”, “Uncharted” and well, “Resistance 2” and “Killzone 2”, all received high marks from major media outlets and magazines. So, there is a more complex reason behind all this. Perhaps, I’ll get back to this matter in the future.

    Cheers, sensei!

  3. I didn’t mean to imply that I had provided any influence over you…?

    My issue with the 360 is impossible to explain in a comment box. But I’ll tell you this: take a close look at what has happened to the videogame industry in the last 3 years; then see what changes have lead to the current situation. Analyse Microsoft’s marketing strategy as well as the values this company regards as prioritary; and may you find your own answer there!

    • ruicraveirinha
    • June 30th, 2009

    “I didn’t mean to imply that I had provided any influence over you…?”

    You did. Nobody said that was a bad thing, quite on the contrary 🙂

    • Coyote
    • July 1st, 2009

    There are a few issues with the stadistics you look:
    – It only takes into consideration US sales, which not only represent about a quarter of the total sales, but it also has very specific characteristics as a market.
    – In the US, the XBox 360 doubles the PS3 install base.
    – MS’ marketing machine is far more powerful than Sony’s in america. Even mainstream games like Killzone 2 had almost no advertisment, while Halo 3 looked like the Super Bowl. Marketing, like it or not, helps sales… While MS uses a lot of marketing, even in new IPs, Sony mostly trusts mouth to mouth marketing and brand recognizion…
    – Gamers in the US has different preferences than worldwide gamers. While in the US, Halo 3 sales surpasses MGS 4 sales by about 4 to 1, in Japan the ratio is about 10 to 1 to the other side, even multiplatform games (like Street Fighter 4 or Call of Duty 4) did better there on the PS3.

    I found that those estadistics are, if not wrong, completely out of date. Even if it only takes US into consideration, I find it hard to believe games like MGS4 never broke the 1 million mark (more like 1,5 millions*).

    I agree with some of your conclusions (except maybe that MS doesn’t have quality games in the not-so-mainstram lineup, which includes Braid, Sam & Max, The Dishwasher, Puzzle Quest, Viva Piñata, etc), but maybe you are using the wrong base to get there.

    * For all my estadistics I used http://vgchartz.com/… Its a good place to get some up to date data and comparisions

    • ruicraveirinha
    • July 1st, 2009

    Thanks for the remark.

    Just a slight note, those statistics aren’t “mine”, I simply reacted to a news article that came out on Destructoid, and made my analysis. I knew those were US numbers, though regretfully, I didn’t mention it. If it is, in fact, outdated, than my apologies for propagating Destructoid’s mistake. However, I think that perhaps the discrepancy between their numbers and “yours” has to do with the countability of console-pack sales (which Destructoid’s numbers dismiss, and with good reason). The numbers I used are referring to direct, in-box sales only.

    Nevertheless, these values are still exemplary when addressing the situation. Using the site you graciously referred:

    Halo 3 – 9.84 millions
    Gears of War – 5.90 millions
    Gears of War 2 – 4.95 millions
    Forza Motorsport 2 – 3.99 millions
    Fable II 2.87 Millions

    Total of Exclusive sales: 27.55 Millions

    compared to…

    Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots 4.06 Millions
    Resistance: Fall of Man 3.60 Millions
    MotorStorm 3.48 Millions
    Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune 2.46 Millions
    LittleBigPlanet 2.25 Millions

    Total of Exclusive sales: 15.85 Millions

    That’s almost a 2 to 1 situation. Considering their install base:

    Microsoft: 30.886 Millions
    Sony: 22.857 Millions

    That number become highly problematic as the difference between the 2 rounds about 25% advantage to Microsoft’s side, which is almost half of the discrepancy in exclusive sales.

    So, despite the inaccuracy of the news, the analysis rings true, even when considering console pack sales that severely bias the numbers (especially if you consider how much more Sony does it than Microsoft).

    Thanks a lot, cheers!

    • ninjawanda
    • July 1st, 2009

    Heavenly Sword DID sell over 1 million copies, check out the developers website, ninjatheory.com.

    • ruicraveirinha
    • July 1st, 2009

    Read the comments above, please.

    Thanks.

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