If this console generation has taught us anything, it’s that third-party exclusives are quickly becoming a thing of the past. In the past we learned it from games like Grand Theft Auto IV and Final Fantasy XIII, and today we learned it from Mass Effect 2.
While those first two were setbacks for Sony’s platform, losing Mass Effect 2 is much more damaging to the Xbox 360. Let me explain.
To begin, ME2 was the 360’s top-rated exclusive, above high-profile first-party games like Gears of War, Halo 3, Forza 3, and Fable II, no small feat considering how well-regarded each of those games is. In fact, the only game that outranks it overall is the multiplatform GTA IV.
Of course, the loss of true third-party exclusives means that it’s become more and more important to create interesting new properties and develop in-house talent. Unfortunately for Microsoft, they fall well short in this department. While they’re stacking up this holday season with Halo: Reach and Fable III, and we know that Gears of War 3 will be coming next April, it’s slim pickings after that.
Quite frankly, that’s just about the entirety of their first-party lineup. Forza and Crackdown have already released games earlier this year/late last year, but they didn’t exactly post door-busting sales figures.
Sony, on the other hand, has an enormous lineup of first-party games that cater to a variety of audiences that will be releasing this holiday season and throughout all of 2011. Just this year we’ll be seeing Gran Turismo 5, LittleBigPlanet 2, and the Sly Cooper Collection. Next year we can expect a new Twisted Metal, InFamous 2, Killzone 3, SOCOM 4, Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One, and Resistance 3.
Need more? The Uncharted series continually sets benchmarks in game design and cinematic storytelling. MLB: The Show is the top-rated baseball sim year in and year out. Heavy Rain stuck it’s neck out to deliver an experience unlike any other — a risk that was rewarded nicely. Finally, few games are as emotionally affecting as Team Ico’s, and The Last Guardian looks to be no different.
Coupled with affordable hardware via the PS3 Slim, Sony’s never been sitting prettier. If you’ve got the cash to buy either a PS3 or 360 and are sitting on the fence, the choice is becoming easier by the day.