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History of Sony PlayStation’s Exclusive Games and Success

Since Sony entered the console market in 1994, its had great success as a software publisher. Much of their console success comes from Sony-owned studios and Sony published games. The original PlayStation had Gran Turismo, Crash Bandicoot, and Spyro the Dragon. While Crash and Spyro were trapped on the original PlayStation, Gran Turismo  persisted and became Sony’s best selling console series.

Along with its new consoles, Sony continued to produce popular exclusive games. The PlayStation 2 had God of War, Ratchet and Clank, and SOCOM. The PlayStation 3 had Uncharted, Resistance, Killzone, Infamous, and The Last of Us. The PlayStation 4 has Horizon, Bloodborne, and a newly relaunched God of War. With each console iteration, Sony continues to develop and publish incredible games only found on their hardware.

PlayStation 1: Cars and Monsters Mascots

According to Polyphony Digital, its series, Gran Turismo, has surpassed 77 million copies sold worldwide, becoming far and away the best selling Sony Franchise, with 20 million of those sales coming from the original PlayStation alone. Gran Turismo maintained momentum on every Sony console and Polyphony Digital became one of Sony’s marquee studios.

Gran Turismo PS1-PS4

Besides Gran Turismo, Sony published Spyro the Dragon  and Crash Bandicoot  on the original PlayStation, with both having multiple games in their respective series. Crash Bandicoot  was originally developed by Sony’s own Naughty Dog, which eventually became Sony’s best-known game developer in more recent years.

Naughty Dog released four Crash Bandicoot games on the PlayStation 1, three of which are platformers and the other a kart racer. The entire series sold over 15 million copies. Although Crash Bandicoot  games appeared on the PS2 and other consoles throughout the years, the games failed to capture the same magic as the originals and the series eventually got lost in the shuffle of so many other games. Crash would eventually reappear in a remaster from a non-Sony developer in 2017 with Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy.

The other animal mascot for the original PlayStation was everybody’s favorite purple dragon, Spyro. Although published by Sony exclusively for the PlayStation, the developer of the games, Insomniac Games, is a third-party studio, unlike Polyphony and Naughty Dog. According to the L.A. Times, the original Spyro  trilogy sold over 10 million games on the PlayStation 1.

With their original console, Sony seemed to be marked by animals and cars, simple concepts with understandable marketing and less story intricate games. The trend continued with the PS2.

PlayStation 2: Gods, Robots, and Soldiers

Insomniac Games moved on to Ratchet & Clank  with the launch of the PlayStation 2, where they released four games across four years. According to the L.A. Times, the Ratchet & Clank  series sold over 10 million copies during its PS2 prime time. Two series across two consoles, Insomniac games helped solidify themselves as a high-quality development studio. Unfortunately, not many developers are able to repeat similar success with different franchises across generations.

Ratchet & Clank PS2

Shooters haven’t always been the big franchises we have today. Sony’s SOCOM U.S. Navy Seals  series launched on the PS2 during the fall of 2002, around the same time as Ratchet & Clank. The series was developed by Zipper Interactive for the PS2. Although the studio eventually closed, they were responsible for the best selling first-party shooter on the console. The entire SOCOM  series on the PS2 sold over 5 million copies, according to The Magic Box.

Sony-owned Santa Monica Studio entered the gaming scene in 1999 but didn’t see mainstream success until God of War  launched a few years into the PS2’s lifecycle. Santa Monica Studio only released two God of War  games on the PS2 before moving onto the PlayStation 3 with God of War 3.

This series also marked a noted tonal shift in game direction as God of War  is known for its brutality and combat. Notable Sony franchises prior to this series could definitely be called cute, but the series protagonist, Kratos, is tasked with killing gods. God of War  focused on gameplay but it also sprinkled in a little bit of story, something which Sony would become known for with its next console.

PlayStation 3: Thrilling Narratives and Compelling Characters

Naughty Dog has always been a major part of Sony’s success in the gaming realm. They’ve had successful series on each console. With the launch of Uncharted in 2007, they catapulted to the top of Sony’s important first-party developer list.

The series would go on to become the benchmark for storytelling for the entire PS3 generation. Forbes has the sales of the first three games in the series at over 15 million, a number that would easily surpass 20 million with the launch of Uncharted 4  on the PS4. However, Uncharted  wasn’t the only series Naughty Dog developed for the PS3. The Last of Us  launched right before the PS4 during Summer 2014 and, yet again, set the bar for narrative in video games. Naughty Dog could only be outdone by themselves.

Uncharted 3 on PS3

Between its two series, Naughty Dog likely sold more than 20 million video games on the PS3 and well beyond 30 million with the inclusion of PS4 titles. The Last of Us  sold at least 7 million copies on the PS3 alone, according to PlayStation Lifestyle.

Naughty Dog wasn’t alone with its return to the stardom on the PS3 as Insomniac Games found another beloved series in the form of Resistance, a first-person shooter. While the Resistance  series never found as much success as Ratchet & Clank  or Spyro, they were still selling games that were branded by Sony’s publishing team.

At the same time, another first-person shooter, Killzone, gained popularity on the PS3. While the original Killzone  game released on the PS2, it wasn’t until the PS3 that it gained widespread popularity, with the Killzone  series including four games spanning across three consoles.

The last of the major PS3 era titles belongs to Sucker Punch. The studio found success with Sly Cooper  on the PS2, but the series was overshadowed by other PlayStation mascot duos, Ratchet & Clank  and Jak and DaxterSucker Punched launched Infamous  in 2009 and then followed it up quickly with Infamous 2  in 2011, both for the PS3. People liked the series but, similar to past Sucker Punch entries, didn’t find as much success as other PS3 counterparts.

PlayStation 4: Graphical Prowess and Continued Success

Many of the series that gained popularity on the PS3 received subsequent releases on the PS4. Killzone, Infamous, and Uncharted  were all featured on the PS4 with better graphics and the same kind of quality games that Sony fans are accustomed to.

Yet again, Naughty Dog found success with Uncharted 4  on the PS4 to no one’s surprise. As mentioned earlier, this release would get Naughty Dog over that 30 million sales mark across the Uncharted  and The Last of Us  series.

According to Sony’s own metrics, Uncharted 4 sold “more than 8.7 Million copies globally.” Naughty Dog has become the premiere and most-well known studios for Sony. As mentioned earlier, Polyphony Digital’s Gran Turismo  has sold more copies as a series and with single games, but those sales usually go unremarked from the gaming community.

However, Naughty Dog is featured in an article almost weekly. Sony released the first trailer for The Last of Us Part II  late in 2016 at their PlayStation Experience event. The trailer has over 7 million views on the official PlayStation YouTube channel alone.

Despite this success, in Spring 2017 another Sony-owned studio, Guerilla Games, stole the limelight in the form of Horizon Zero Dawn. Guerrilla Games, which is typically known for first-person shooters, released the third-person role-playing game that was met with both critical and commercial success. The PlayStation Blog shows that Horizon Zero Dawn  sold over 7.6 million copies in its first year. Not many games make it past 5 million sold, especially the first game in a new series. With one game, Guerrilla Games set themselves beside Naughty Dog as one of the best developers in Sony’s developer stable.

PS4 Into the Future

Not to be outdone, both Santa Monica Studio and Insomniac Games have games releasing in 2018. God of War, for the PS4, released on April 20, 2018 and is shaping up to be a classic as reviews go up, many people giving the game 10/10 or 5/5 stars. The game is a completely new entry in the series but features a reboot to the name.

Later in the year, Insomniac Games is releasing Spider-Man. While many developers have made Spider-Man games in the past, this is the first time Insomniac is taking control of the Marvel hero, which has high hopes given Insomniac’s experience with the superhero genre in its Infamous  series.

We know about three other major games set for release by Sony-owned studios this year. Ghosts of Tsushima, The Last of Us Part II, and Death Stranding  from Hideo Kojima, of Metal Gear Solid fame, will all be released on the PS4 in the near future. We don’t have any official dates for these games, but I imagine we will see them all before the PlayStation 5.

Sony’s first-party development studios and first-party published games seem to adhere to a higher quality, not found in many other places. We’ve come to expect excellence from Sony’s development teams and published games, the trend is likely to continue with their upcoming and future releases.

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History of Sony PlayStation’s Exclusive Games and Success

Since Sony entered the console market in 1994, its had great success as a software publisher. Much of their console success comes from Sony-owned studios and Sony published games. The original PlayStation had Gran Turismo, Crash Bandicoot, and Spyro the Dragon. While Crash and Spyro were trapped on the original PlayStation, Gran Turismo  persisted and became Sony’s best selling console series.

Along with its new consoles, Sony continued to produce popular exclusive games. The PlayStation 2 had God of War, Ratchet and Clank, and SOCOM. The PlayStation 3 had Uncharted, Resistance, Killzone, Infamous, and The Last of Us. The PlayStation 4 has Horizon, Bloodborne, and a newly relaunched God of War. With each console iteration, Sony continues to develop and publish incredible games only found on their hardware.

PlayStation 1: Cars and Monsters Mascots

According to Polyphony Digital, its series, Gran Turismo, has surpassed 77 million copies sold worldwide, becoming far and away the best selling Sony Franchise, with 20 million of those sales coming from the original PlayStation alone. Gran Turismo maintained momentum on every Sony console and Polyphony Digital became one of Sony’s marquee studios.

Gran Turismo PS1-PS4

Besides Gran Turismo, Sony published Spyro the Dragon  and Crash Bandicoot  on the original PlayStation, with both having multiple games in their respective series. Crash Bandicoot  was originally developed by Sony’s own Naughty Dog, which eventually became Sony’s best-known game developer in more recent years.

Naughty Dog released four Crash Bandicoot games on the PlayStation 1, three of which are platformers and the other a kart racer. The entire series sold over 15 million copies. Although Crash Bandicoot  games appeared on the PS2 and other consoles throughout the years, the games failed to capture the same magic as the originals and the series eventually got lost in the shuffle of so many other games. Crash would eventually reappear in a remaster from a non-Sony developer in 2017 with Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy.

The other animal mascot for the original PlayStation was everybody’s favorite purple dragon, Spyro. Although published by Sony exclusively for the PlayStation, the developer of the games, Insomniac Games, is a third-party studio, unlike Polyphony and Naughty Dog. According to the L.A. Times, the original Spyro  trilogy sold over 10 million games on the PlayStation 1.

With their original console, Sony seemed to be marked by animals and cars, simple concepts with understandable marketing and less story intricate games. The trend continued with the PS2.

PlayStation 2: Gods, Robots, and Soldiers

Insomniac Games moved on to Ratchet & Clank  with the launch of the PlayStation 2, where they released four games across four years. According to the L.A. Times, the Ratchet & Clank  series sold over 10 million copies during its PS2 prime time. Two series across two consoles, Insomniac games helped solidify themselves as a high-quality development studio. Unfortunately, not many developers are able to repeat similar success with different franchises across generations.

Ratchet & Clank PS2

Shooters haven’t always been the big franchises we have today. Sony’s SOCOM U.S. Navy Seals  series launched on the PS2 during the fall of 2002, around the same time as Ratchet & Clank. The series was developed by Zipper Interactive for the PS2. Although the studio eventually closed, they were responsible for the best selling first-party shooter on the console. The entire SOCOM  series on the PS2 sold over 5 million copies, according to The Magic Box.

Sony-owned Santa Monica Studio entered the gaming scene in 1999 but didn’t see mainstream success until God of War  launched a few years into the PS2’s lifecycle. Santa Monica Studio only released two God of War  games on the PS2 before moving onto the PlayStation 3 with God of War 3.

This series also marked a noted tonal shift in game direction as God of War  is known for its brutality and combat. Notable Sony franchises prior to this series could definitely be called cute, but the series protagonist, Kratos, is tasked with killing gods. God of War  focused on gameplay but it also sprinkled in a little bit of story, something which Sony would become known for with its next console.

PlayStation 3: Thrilling Narratives and Compelling Characters

Naughty Dog has always been a major part of Sony’s success in the gaming realm. They’ve had successful series on each console. With the launch of Uncharted in 2007, they catapulted to the top of Sony’s important first-party developer list.

The series would go on to become the benchmark for storytelling for the entire PS3 generation. Forbes has the sales of the first three games in the series at over 15 million, a number that would easily surpass 20 million with the launch of Uncharted 4  on the PS4. However, Uncharted  wasn’t the only series Naughty Dog developed for the PS3. The Last of Us  launched right before the PS4 during Summer 2014 and, yet again, set the bar for narrative in video games. Naughty Dog could only be outdone by themselves.

Uncharted 3 on PS3

Between its two series, Naughty Dog likely sold more than 20 million video games on the PS3 and well beyond 30 million with the inclusion of PS4 titles. The Last of Us  sold at least 7 million copies on the PS3 alone, according to PlayStation Lifestyle.

Naughty Dog wasn’t alone with its return to the stardom on the PS3 as Insomniac Games found another beloved series in the form of Resistance, a first-person shooter. While the Resistance  series never found as much success as Ratchet & Clank  or Spyro, they were still selling games that were branded by Sony’s publishing team.

At the same time, another first-person shooter, Killzone, gained popularity on the PS3. While the original Killzone  game released on the PS2, it wasn’t until the PS3 that it gained widespread popularity, with the Killzone  series including four games spanning across three consoles.

The last of the major PS3 era titles belongs to Sucker Punch. The studio found success with Sly Cooper  on the PS2, but the series was overshadowed by other PlayStation mascot duos, Ratchet & Clank  and Jak and DaxterSucker Punched launched Infamous  in 2009 and then followed it up quickly with Infamous 2  in 2011, both for the PS3. People liked the series but, similar to past Sucker Punch entries, didn’t find as much success as other PS3 counterparts.

PlayStation 4: Graphical Prowess and Continued Success

Many of the series that gained popularity on the PS3 received subsequent releases on the PS4. Killzone, Infamous, and Uncharted  were all featured on the PS4 with better graphics and the same kind of quality games that Sony fans are accustomed to.

Yet again, Naughty Dog found success with Uncharted 4  on the PS4 to no one’s surprise. As mentioned earlier, this release would get Naughty Dog over that 30 million sales mark across the Uncharted  and The Last of Us  series.

According to Sony’s own metrics, Uncharted 4 sold “more than 8.7 Million copies globally.” Naughty Dog has become the premiere and most-well known studios for Sony. As mentioned earlier, Polyphony Digital’s Gran Turismo  has sold more copies as a series and with single games, but those sales usually go unremarked from the gaming community.

However, Naughty Dog is featured in an article almost weekly. Sony released the first trailer for The Last of Us Part II  late in 2016 at their PlayStation Experience event. The trailer has over 7 million views on the official PlayStation YouTube channel alone.

Despite this success, in Spring 2017 another Sony-owned studio, Guerilla Games, stole the limelight in the form of Horizon Zero Dawn. Guerrilla Games, which is typically known for first-person shooters, released the third-person role-playing game that was met with both critical and commercial success. The PlayStation Blog shows that Horizon Zero Dawn  sold over 7.6 million copies in its first year. Not many games make it past 5 million sold, especially the first game in a new series. With one game, Guerrilla Games set themselves beside Naughty Dog as one of the best developers in Sony’s developer stable.

PS4 Into the Future

Not to be outdone, both Santa Monica Studio and Insomniac Games have games releasing in 2018. God of War, for the PS4, released on April 20, 2018 and is shaping up to be a classic as reviews go up, many people giving the game 10/10 or 5/5 stars. The game is a completely new entry in the series but features a reboot to the name.

Later in the year, Insomniac Games is releasing Spider-Man. While many developers have made Spider-Man games in the past, this is the first time Insomniac is taking control of the Marvel hero, which has high hopes given Insomniac’s experience with the superhero genre in its Infamous  series.

We know about three other major games set for release by Sony-owned studios this year. Ghosts of Tsushima, The Last of Us Part II, and Death Stranding  from Hideo Kojima, of Metal Gear Solid fame, will all be released on the PS4 in the near future. We don’t have any official dates for these games, but I imagine we will see them all before the PlayStation 5.

Sony’s first-party development studios and first-party published games seem to adhere to a higher quality, not found in many other places. We’ve come to expect excellence from Sony’s development teams and published games, the trend is likely to continue with their upcoming and future releases.

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