Since they entered the gaming industry with the NES in 1985, Nintendo has been on top with their game development. They redefined video games with revolutionary classic titles like Mario, Metroid, Kirby and Zelda. No other video game developer (aside from Sega in the past) even came close to Nintendo’s greatness.
Sony debuted in video game industry a decade later with the Playstation. They quietly built the largest first-party development core in the industry, even bigger than Nintendo. As a result, Sony and their games are quickly rising to the top. Can they dethrone Nintendo and become the top video game developer? Here are a couple of reasons why Sony can overtake Nintendo in game development.
Nintendo has been relying on their old franchises for years. You hardly see any new hardcore franchises from them as they would rather reinvent Mario, Metroid, Kirby and Zelda. Sony, on the other hand, is constantly coming up with new franchises for their Playstation platforms with the latest being Resistance, LittleBigPlanet and Uncharted. Although Sony franchises don’t have the same critical acclaim as Nintendo’s, the gap is quickly closing.
Partnership with Smaller Studios
Sony is better than Nintendo when working with smaller development studios. Their partnership with Media Molecule (LittleBigPlanet), helped create one of the best franchises in recent years for Sony. Oddly enough, Nintendo also had a shot with Media Molecule before Sony snatched them up. Other partnerships with small companies like Q-Games (PixelJunk series), Queasy Games (Everyday Shooter) and Thatgamecompany (Flower) gave the Playstation Network downloadable service a distinct advantage against WiiWare.
Sony also has a leg up on Nintendo with online gameplay. In spite of both services being free, the online for Sony is light years ahead of Nintendo. This has more to do with Nintendo and their strictness towards exposing online to children than Sony. With online multiplayer being more prominent than ever before, Sony is easily beating Nintendo in that department.
Nintendo took a chance with the Wii by not equipping it with high-definition technology. Although Nintendo’s stance resulted in record-breaking sales, their game development has slowed visually as a result. So while Nintendo is stuck developing Nintendo Wii games that look the same as Nintendo Gamecube titles, Sony managed to get the upper hand thanks to the power of the Playstation 3 and their shared technology between the internal studios.
Finally, Sony’s development studios span the globe with facilities in Europe, Japan and North America. Aside from Retro Studios in North America, Nintendo mainly relies on their Japanese development studios. With a bigger and more diverse group of developers, Sony can develop a larger range of quality titles. This may be Sony’s biggest advantage in catching up to Nintendo as the best video game developer.