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What are PlayStation 3 owners buying?

by William Schwartz

KevinButlerModNation

Whether he was just bragging or wanted to get fanboys up in arms, Microsoft’s Aaron Greenberg announced a fairly staggering number from NPD data. Halo 3, has managed to outsell Resistance 1 and 2, Uncharted 1 + 2, Killzone 2, and God of War III combined. Sure, there’s alot left to be compared when you start talking sales and popularity. But, these are award winning titles. These are games that captured the hearts of critics and gamers who have played them. Yet, have apparently failed to reach the majority of PlayStation 3 owners consoles. Is it that there are just too many exclusives for PlayStation 3 owners to keep up with? Is it the economics of situation? It’s been postulated that many of the PS3 slims that have been sold recently were to people that just wanted to get a blu-ray player.

One thing is for certain though. Regardless of how much marketing that Sony does, if games that are of the level of quality of the titles mentioned by Greenberg don’t start hitting the numbers of games that are of equal or lesser quality, it’s an almost certainty that more developers will go the way of Insomniac and Bungie. Even with studios being gobbled up by Sony, the simple fact of the matter is the economics and development costs don’t make sense to close yourself off to one system, when games aren’t being sold on the system you are developing for. After all the fun and games it is a business.

So what are PlayStation 3 owners buying? The gap in console sales has closed. There should be no reason that games like God of War 3 and Uncharted 2 shouldn’t be able to rival the sales numbers of Halo 3. Especially when many regard those two games as two of the best this generation has to offer, and it is widely acknowledged that the PlayStation 3 is the most powerful console on the market capable of technical greatness that others are not. But, it can’t be all people that bought a Slim are just using it play Blu-ray. I think Jim Sterling of Destructoid was really on to something when he stated in an interview with Hip Hop Gamer that ‘while Sony is certainly capable of great things in the graphics department, it has some catching up to do in the gameplay department’ Maybe it’s just that simple, maybe people aren’t just looking for over the top graphics that look better than everything they have ever seen or come to expect from a gaming console. Maybe they want more. These comments by Greenberg got me to thinking about the games that he listed. Looking back, I loved each and every one of them. Personally, I think I got my monies worth. But for the non-enthusiast, for the person that puts gaming secondary to many things, are any of the games mentioned by Greenberg something that would grab hold of that person and convert them? I still don’t have an answer to that. It’s a tough question, it requires putting yourself into someone’s shoes that owns a PS3 and could care less if God of War is releasing and more so probably didn’t even hear about it.

I think the community aspect of the Xbox 360 comes into play greatly when you get to the bottom line of these figures. I know there have been times where I didn’t realize a game was about to release until talking to a friend via Xbox Live. Next thing you know I’m standing in the middle of a rainstorm waiting with all the other nerds at a midnight release. And with that you look at the major differences between the titles that are compared to Halo 3. One thing is constant, Halo 3 is the only game that still has an online community at or near the strength it did when it was first released. This staying power is value. The $60 spent towards 500 hours of fun, or more in some cases, provides these gamers with a lot of value. Plus lets not take away from Bungie here, they are a world class developer that really nows how to put together a multiplayer title. Once these gamers are hooked they are on it until the next one comes, and many times much longer. It’s hard to say as I don’t have that passion towards the multiplayer that many of the people that are still playing Halo 3 to this day do.

One would imagine that Sony’s answer to Microsoft’s killer app will be Gran Turismo 5. Hopefully we see the world come out to enjoy what has been so painstakingly waited for by the Sony faithful. But if a year from now Greenberg is still able to lump Gran Turismo 5 into that list, and Halo 3 outsold them all, that’ll really speak loudly. But that won’t happen, what’ll happen is a year from now a tweet saying Halo 3 and Halo Reach outsold all those game plus Gran Turismo 5. Because that’s just how trolls roll. No offense. I like trolls.

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