Sony and Nintendo have studied each other over the years and formed patterns to combat against each other.
Nintendo relied strongly on superior first-party offerings, while Sony created strong third-party relationships and offered a wide variety of exclusive titles.
A change of strategy is now being made according to the Examiner, to quote:
This generation, Sony has become much more reliant on the prospect of first-party offerings to bring in the gamers. Uncharted, InFamous, Killzone 2, LittleBigPlanet, two Resistance titles, Ratchet and Clank, etc, have become the mainstay titles to the PS3.
Thankfully, the first-party offerings from Sony have been amazing. Introducing several new franchises from established developers, Sony has been able to create a lineup strong enough to rival that of Nintendo. On the flipside, Sony doesn't have the in with the third-party developers.
This biggest, and by far one of the best games this generation, third-party title Sony has exclusive rights to is Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. After MGS4, we have scrapings of major releases.
Several niche titles have seen release like Disgaea 3 and the under loved Valkyria Chronicles. Sony had to make a shift and start crafting AAA first-party titles to counteract the sluggish third-party support.
If Sony became Nintendo, then who became Sony? Simple: Microsoft. Microsoft took advantage of their one year lead and built a strong online community via Xbox Live and hooked every third-party developer they could.
Whether it was by paying for exclusives or just landing them, Microsoft captured every development team they needed for success. Any major multiplatform third-party title released this generation was developed on the Xbox 360 first - minus Final Fantasy XIII. Sony has had to get the hand-me-downs and these titles often felt incomplete or didn't run properly on the hardware.
Microsoft created an easy to use architecture for the Xbox 360 and it allows developers an easier time for development, while many have claimed the PS3 is too difficult to develop for. This sounds a lot like the PlayStation vs Nintendo 64 days. The CD format was much easier to use and offered more space compared to the massive N64 cart.
Nintendo is still the same Nintendo we have always known. They continue making the games they like to make and the third-party developers abandon ship very quickly.
Unlike the last few consoles, third-party developers are staying around a bit longer with Nintendo, mostly thanks to the massive sales numbers the Wii has put up. With so many Wii consoles in homes, third-party teams are putting out more games, though mostly low-grade awful titles, and every so often we find a gem among them.
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