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Sony's First Party Studios exclusive games

We’re fast approaching the halfway point of 2016, and what a year it has already been for video games. In the next few weeks alone, a period of the year typically quiet, we’re inundated with a plethora of notable new titles.

It’s going to be hard to find enough time in the day to play everything, but that really isn’t a terrible problem to have. After all, it wasn’t long ago that this generation of consoles barely had a single purpose developed game to play between them. That’s a distant memory now though, as this console generation is beginning to build momentum with a host of games that include critically acclaimed new IPs and long awaited sequels.

Sea of Thieves Xbox One Exclusive

Perhaps most significantly, over the last 12 months, Sony and Microsoft’s first party game studios have finally begun to roll out some notable exclusive titles. Microsoft was certainly quicker off the mark having delivered Halo 5 Guardians, Quantum Break and Forza Motorsport since last year’s E3 conference. The speed at which Microsoft’s first party studios have produced content has certainly been impressive, though hardly surprising.

The Xbox One’s near-disastrous launch back in 2013 has meant the console needed to have something to bolster its appeal in the face of PS4’s steamrolling commercial success. Clearly, Microsoft identified PlayStation’s lack of exclusive games as an opportunity to regain lost ground in the race for console supremacy, and Microsoft has concentrated its efforts on bulking out its game library.

Xbox One speech about exclusives

“The greatest games lineup in Xbox history” is a slogan Microsoft has bullishly reiterated but has the critical reception to its latest exclusive titles really echoed that statement? Given the lukewarm reception to both Halo 5 and Quantum Break, and the delay/cancellation of Scalebound and Fable Legends, the answer is probably not. Of course, we still have Gears of War 4 to come which does look stunning and is expected to become the systems best-selling game so far. Yet, in the wake of Microsoft’s emphatic statement of intent, having to rely on Gears of War 4 to save blushes is a little concerning. At the moment, it rather feels as though Microsoft’s current list of Xbox One exclusives are a mediocre hand of cards, and awaiting the potential success of Gears of War 4 is like trying to win the game on the river.

Sony’s first party game showing has been near lackadaisical by comparison, but then Sony has hardly needed to rush content given the consoles astonishing number of units sold. Even so, two of last year’s surprise packages were both PlayStation exclusives of superlative quality. Sony rather strangely made little fuss of them prior to launch, but both Bloodborne and Until Dawn eventually went on to win significant praise among critics and sell very respectively. Sony’s lack of any significant marketing campaign indicates they slightly underestimated the potential of both titles, but the PlayStation community certainly welcomed the addition of two diverse and interesting games. They’ve unquestionably added a string to PS4’s bow, though the more recent PS4 exclusives have really begun to demonstrate the pedigree of Sony’s first party game studios.

Bloodborne

Insomniac Games latest iteration of the classic Ratchet and Clank series released last month to rave reviews; another surprise success, the response to Ratchet & Clank has been overwhelming positive despite a fairly low key launch. Hitting retail shelves at a low price point and without much in the way of a decent marketing build-up, Ratchet & Clank has proved a unanimous success, not only commercially but also in its rejuvenation of the 3D platform genre. Intentionally or not, Sony has once again earned the adoration of the gaming community by delivering a gameplay experience the industry has been sorely lacking for years.

Ratchet and Clank is a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously; a breath of fresh air, its nostalgia has won over gamers. That being said, Ratchet and Clank’s success is founded on superb gameplay, slick visuals and brilliant writing; it simply is just a very good game. Sure, it’s been given a helping hand by a growing interest in rekindling the platforming genre and the franchises prior reputation, but its success has ultimately been down to its superb quality. Ratchet and Clank has given an unexpected extra dimension to PS4’s growing library not present on Xbox One.

Ratchet almost crashing

There isn’t much you can say about Uncharted 4 that hasn’t been said already. It’s a brilliant game and one that it has lived up to, if not exceeded the majority of expectation since its launch. Naughty Dog doesn’t seem to miss, and Uncharted has once again moved the goal posts in respect to what video games can achieve through its sublime presentation. Uncharted is PlayStation’s hallmark franchise; it is to PlayStation what Halo is to Xbox, but where Halo 5 dropped the ball, Uncharted 4 has set new benchmarks in video gaming standards. A franchise name will only take a game so far, the rest is entirely dependent on quality, and Naughty Dog hasn’t disappointed. Rather than justify a console’s existence, exclusive content is supposed to drive console sales, and that’s exactly what Uncharted 4 is going to do for PS4.

El Dorado Treasure

The importance of exclusive content has been a hotly debated topic in recent years, especially given the impressive sales of both Xbox One and PS4 despite their near-identical games libraries. Yet, exclusive content does matter; it is what has defined console gaming since the dawn of their popularity back in the 1980s, and has put it at the forefront of the industry. Competition drives quality and the investment in first-party content results in a better standard of games for the consumer.

The inescapable truth is that Sony’s first party game studios have shown superior quality in the face of mediocre Microsoft’s Xbox One exclusives. Forget the disappointment of The Order 1886; the future now looks very bright for Sony. After all, its most reputed game studios have still to deliver their own titles, a host of which are highly anticipated new IPs such as The Last Guardian, Horizon Zero Dawn, and Sony Bend’s new title. The booming success of Sony’s most recent games and the promise of its future offerings absolutely give the PS4 an edge over the competition. The consoles ecosystem continues to look the more appealing of its rivals, and where before it was merely marketing spin in; Sony’s first party game content is starting to give real weight to PS4’s superiority.


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Alex Gibson
Alex has a degree in English writing and Political studies - An avid gamer since a young age; his favourite games are typically third person action games and RPG's. When he isn't gaming, or writing about the industry Alex is out riding motorbikes or playing sport. Follow on Twitter @scribegibson
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  • dead fanboy

    Xbox One has better exclusives. PlayStation 4 has been very weak in that category. Lets compare:
    Xbox One top exclusives
    1. Halo 5: Guardians
    2. Quantum Break
    3. Forza Motorsport 6
    4. Rare Replay
    5. Killer Instinct season 3
    6. Ori and the Blind Forest
    7. Forza Horizon 2
    8. Sunset Overdrive
    9. Dead Rising 3
    10. Raiden V
    11. Halo MCC
    12. Ryse: Son of Rome
    13. D4: Dreams Don’t Die
    14. Gears of War ultimate edition
    15. Titanfall

    • andy

      And when you cut out the games that are actually exclusive, not HD
      remasters (because we can’t count those on PS4 either right?) and not
      360 and PC games you have about 3 or 4 games.
      Specifically your numbers 1, 3, (2 disappointing sequels on “next gen” yet again and one technically on PC too), 8, what the hell is Raiden V and its number 10??? and yep that is about it.

      Oh crap, so actually 2 games. You left out Forza 5, another ACTUAL Xbone exclusive but like you did, the less said about that one, the better.
      Off the top of my head
      PS4 Actual Exclusives (not “top” as you put it which is more embarrassing when you look at your list, seriously Halo 5 at the top spot, yet another letdown by 343i trying to carry Bungie’s torch???)

      Killzone Shadowfall
      Knack
      Driveclub
      Infamous Second Son
      Bloodborne
      Until Dawn
      Alienation
      Uncharted 4

      Following my own rules I obviously can’t list the tonnes and tonnes of quality games like for example the critically acclaimed Resogun (on PS3 and Vita now also) or collections or QUALITY remasters like Uncharted Nathan Drake Collection (not like the mess that 343i, the guys that are the helm of the Halo franchise now, managed to botch up so bad).

      The point I am making is why would anybody play most the games on your list on Xbone when they can play them substantially better, even at an industry standard of at least 1080p, on PC???
      Most people would agree with what I am saying. Why? Because they would be running out to buy an Xbone right now if it exclusively had that many critically acclaimed masterpieces you have convinced yourself it has. Wake up.

      Oh, The Order 1886 the PS4’s QB, forgot that one.

      • angh

        Good post, but to be precise:
        xbox one full exclusives total:

        [Import] Azito x Tatsunoko Legends (Hamster)
        Forza Motorsport 5 (Microsoft)
        Forza Motorsport 6 (Microsoft)
        Halo: The Master Chief Collection (Microsoft)
        Halo 5: Guardians (Microsoft)
        Powerstar Golf (Microsoft)
        Rare Replay (Microsoft)
        Sunset Overdrive (Microsoft)

        ps4 full exclusives total (without remastered):

        Bloodborne (SIE)
        [Import | English] Dead or Alive Xtreme 3: Fortune (Koei Tecmo)
        Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance (NIS America)
        Driveclub (SIE)
        Earth Defense Force 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair (XSEED Games)
        [Import] God Eater Off Shot Cross-Play Pack & Anime Vol. 1-7 (Bandai Namco)
        inFAMOUS: Second Son (SIE)
        Killzone: Shadow Fall (SIE)
        Knack (SIE)
        Kromaia Omega (Rising Star Games)
        Megadimension Neptunia VII (Idea Factory International)
        Omega Quintet (Idea Factory International)
        Onechanbara Z2: Chaos (XSEED Games)
        The Order: 1886 (SIE)
        Ratchet & Clank (SIE)
        Tearaway Unfolded (SIE)
        Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (SIE)
        Until Dawn (SIE)
        The Witch and the Hundred Knight: Revival Edition (NIS America)

      • LordCancer Kain

        i was thinking i guess disgaea series is just utter garbage because it never gets a mention but raiden 5 does because that is obviously a system seller. these list are always incomplete, cherry picked like the bible. maybe it’s because xbox gamers never had an interest in japanese games like tales of which is why vesperia sold so poorly and namco refused to make any sequel for box.

        EDIT: REALLY, that gets censored? i am outta here.

      • angh

        actually, this list is full and I should remove halo: mcc as it is a remaster. As well Forza 5 and 6 is not much of the difference. I included links to source where all of them are listed, but someone removed them leaving my comment without context and explanation – I guess no point staying here.
        Maybe someone would like to see it and maybe this wont be deleted – gematsu dot com / exclusives / ps4, gematsu dot com / exclusives / xbox-one

        Admin edit: Sorry about that, links are auto removed.

    • Martin Sørensen

      First, even i have both consoles and like Xbox One more than PS4 you are not right, PS4 has a lot more and better games, here is half the list of PS4 only games.

      Ace Combat 7
      Akiba’s Trip
      Alienation
      Amplitude Music
      Armello
      Axiom Verge
      Basement Crawl
      Battlezone
      Blacklight
      Bloodborne
      Boundless
      Brawlhalla
      Broken Age
      Brutal
      Darkest Dungeon
      Day of the Tentacle
      Daylight Survival
      Deep Down
      Detroit
      Digimon Story
      Disgaea 5
      Danganronpa V3
      DJMax Respect
      Doki-Doki Universe
      Dragon’s Dogma
      Dragon Quest Builders
      Dragon Quest Heroes
      Dragon Quest Heroes II
      Dragon Quest XI
      Drawn to Death
      Dreams
      Driveclub
      Dungeon Defenders II
      Dungeons 2
      Enter the Gungeon
      Eve: Valkyrie
      Fat Princess
      Final Fantasy VII
      Final Fantasy XIV
      Firewatch
      The Forest
      Forgotten Memories
      Futuridium
      Galak-Z: T
      Gauntlet: Slayer Edition
      GlowTag
      Godzilla
      Grand Kingdom
      Gran Turismo 7
      Gran Turismo Sport
      Gravity Rush 2
      Gravity Rush
      GRIP
      Guilty Gear
      Guns of Icarus
      Guns Up!
      H-Hour: World’s Elite
      Heart and Soul
      Hellblade
      Helldivers
      Hohokum
      Hollowpoint
      Hotline Miami 2
      Hotshots Golf
      Horizon Zero Dawn
      Hunger
      Infamous First
      Infamous Second Son
      Invisible, Inc.
      Kick Off Revival
      Kill Strain
      Killing Floor 2
      Killzone Shadow Fall
      The King of Fighters XIV
      Kingdom Hearts HD
      Kingdom Under Fire II
      Knack
      The Last of Us Remastered
      The Last Guardian
      Liege
      LittleBigPlanet 3
      Manifold Garden
      MatterFall
      Megadimension Neptunia VII
      Mercenary Kings
      MLB 14
      MLB 15
      MLB 16
      Mystery Chronicle
      Ni no Kuni II
      Ni-Oh
      Nier
      No Man’s Sky
      Nobunaga’s Ambition
      Nuclear Throne
      Omega Quinte
      Orcs Must Die!
      The Order: 1886
      Paragon
      Persona 5
      Phantasy Star
      Pix the Cat
      PlanetSide 2
      The Playroom
      Pyre Party
      QuickDraw
      Ray’s The Dead
      Ratchet & Clank
      Resogun
      Rime
      Rocketbirds 2

      Ok i stop here the list are to long

    • Ryo Shenmue

      Halo 5 is the worst of the entire series. Quantum Break is not a game, it’s a bad web-series. Forza 6 is identical to the previous game. Killer Instinct is a mediocre free to play beat’em up, Sunset Overdrive is mediocre, Dead Rising 3 is average, Ryse is pathetic, Titanfall is average at best. PS4 has 63 more exclusives than X1 and they’re all 10 times superior to any Xbox One game. 63 without counting the ones coming out from june to the end of 2016.

    • xboxmaster

      1. Halo 5: Guardians – worst halo game

      2. Quantum Break – not exclusive

      3. Forza Motorsport 6 – not exclusive

      4. Rare Replay – really? not exclusive

      5. Killer Instinct season 3 – not exclusive

      6. Ori and the Blind Forest – not exclusive

      7. Forza Horizon 2 – not exclusive, also on 360

      8. Sunset Overdrive too bad no one bought it

      9. Dead Rising 3 – not exclusive

      10. Raiden V – the fuck is this shit? LOL

      11. Halo MCC – not exclusive, also on 360

      12. Ryse: Son of Rome – not exclusive

      13. D4: Dreams Don’t Die – not exclusive

      14. Gears of War ultimate edition – not exclusive

      15. Titanfall – not exclusive

  • KashIsKlay

    Really now. Forza > Driveclub, Gears ultimate > The Order, Halo 5 > Killzone, Ratchet and Clank and Sunset Overdrive were both great. Quantum Break isn’t as good as uncharted but it’s still a good game. I’m going to say Killer Instinct is better than SFV currently. Bloodborne is amazing but Ori won over it. At this point in time you can’t really say that the quality is better because it really isn’t.

    There is the last guardian and Horizon, but Scalebound, Gears 4, ReCore, Sea of Thieves are other titles are on the way.

    • Martin Sørensen

      I like Driveclub much better than Forza, Forza lags and play very bad online. Driveclub run smooth like butter. I haven’t played halo 5 so can’t say, but Killzone is a very good game, and the franchise is much better than the whole Halo one. The only game that i think where Xbox has the best is exclusive is the Gears of War serie.

      • KashIsKlay

        No killzone has never been better than halo. Halo didn’t get usurped until CoD4 came out and to this day very few fps are better than halo. Driveclub runs smooth now but not at launch. Forza does not lag online unless you have a terrible connection. That is a lie.

    • BlacKJesu5

      Okay xbox fanboy. ..the titles on the way you mention don’t even have gameplay videos

      • KashIsKlay

        I own both consoles chill out because I stated the truth. ReCore and Sea of thieves do not but scalebound has gameplay videos. The last guardian has gameplay videos?

      • BlacKJesu5

        Yes it does actually lol…and besides the comparison stopped once you ran out of the 5 xb1 exclusives

      • KashIsKlay

        I didn’t run out. I proved my point. There was no need to continue.

      • BlacKJesu5

        What point? That because you are an xbox fanboy…your opionions are skewed? Halo 5 was slightly better than kill zone but they both sucked….comparing gears to order is dumb….sunset was Terrible….forza driveclub is kinda moot and killer instinct isn’t relevant

      • KashIsKlay

        I proved my point you’re salty. Stop being a fanboy because it’s not what you want to hear. Show me that you’ve owned other consoles besides sony and then maybe I’ll give a **** about what you have to say. Peace

    • Ryo Shenmue

      PS4 has completely destroyed Xbox One and you’re leaving out the fact that PS4 has 63 more exclusives compared to X1. 63….from every genre. Quantum Break is not a game, it’s a shitty web-series with shooting mechanics that are not better than Max Payne 3. Uncharted 4 is one of the 20 best games ever made. Get real, kid.

      • KashIsKlay

        You’re a fanboy. I have owned consoles from all the console makers. I doubt you can say the same. I stated facts, you haven’t even played Quantum Break. Don’t take what you hear as fact. Grow up

  • Stealth

    Yeah but it still is not better than what Nintendo is doing on a first party exclusive front. Nintendo has won GOTY from most publications for the last 5 years and journalists think Nintendo is running away with it.

    This is like fighting over second place, who cares

    • BlacKJesu5

      I don’t care about most nintendo games….and the wiiu can fight for 5th

    • 7thlevel JR

      no new first party sony or xbox game has surpassed 3d world according to metacritic

  • Bobby Griffin

    Sony has no great exclusives this gen. Only more of the same either sequels or reboots. THE Xbox has new Ip’s and sequels the media helps Sony by giving ratings that’s don’t deserve Uncharted was good but deserve a 8 just because it was predictable and more of the same no risk what so ever. Ryse was better and so was Quantom Break,Tomb Raider ,Sunset Overdrive and Forza . They talk mess about the gears beta being more of the same but reward Uncharted for the same thing. The media killed Ryse for qte but praised Uncharted for the same. I’VE been a gamer for along time and own every console but this bias is killing gaming

    • Ryo Shenmue

      Stop writing bullshit and get a dose of reality. Xbox One has the same games every year and PS4 has some of the most legendary games ever made. You’re an idiot.