With the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man at their side, Sony is primed for victory and success this Holiday season.
Ever since the launch of the PS4, Sony has followed a bit of a pattern as far as spacing out its own releases for the console go- usually, Sony will launch them earlier in the year, and leave Holiday season to third party games, and the large multiplats of the year, most of which it signs bundling, advertising, and marketing and branding deals with. So, games like Bloodborne, Uncharted, Horizon, and God of War launch early in the year- and Holiday is left for things like Destiny, Call of Duty, and Star Wars Battlefront.
Sony has launched some minor exclusives in the back half of the years on occasion- LittleBigPlanet 3 launched near the Holidays in 2014, while Gran Turismo Sport was an October release last year- but on the whole, it is clear that they have largely ceded the second half of the year to third parties, and are content to put their games out at a time of the year that most other companies typically avoid.
"So, games like Bloodborne, Uncharted, Horizon, and God of War launch early in the year- and Holiday is left for things like Destiny, Call of Duty, and Star Wars Battlefront."
Which is why their lineup this year has been so interesting- they have already put out Shadow of the Colossus, God of War, and Detroit this year, but arguably their biggest game of the year, the one that will almost certainly sell the most out of all their exclusives, has been saved for the second half. You know what game I am talking about- Marvel’s Spider-Man for the PS4, developed by Insomniac Games.
Spider-Man is the most popular superhero in the world. He’s the face of Marvel, itself an ascendant brand that is currently enjoying a surge of popularity the world over, with the MCU incarnation of Spider-Man in particular having won fans and adoration worldwide. What I am trying to say is, releasing a quality Spider-Man game right now would be akin to releasing a quality Batman game after The Dark Knight in 2008. That ended up happening- and Batman: Arkham became one of the most lucrative franchises in the industry.
Except, and this here is the coup de etat, Spider-Man is a PS4 exclusive- which means Sony stands to gain entirely from this. On Marvel’s end, the assurance they get is that they are on the biggest install base in the gaming market of the moment, and that they get all the financial and marketing backing and muscle of Sony, as well as the development talents of Sony WWS- you can see why both parties signed up for this deal in the first place.
"Releasing a quality Spider-Man game right now would be akin to releasing a quality Batman game after The Dark Knight in 2008. That ended up happening- and Batman: Arkham became one of the most lucrative franchises in the industry."
So, here we are, going into this Holiday season, with Sony exclusively getting a Spider-Man game. If said game ends up being even above average quality- basically a low 80s Metascore or above- it will meet with explosive success. Millions worldwide will probably end up buying a PS4 just so they can play the brand new open world Spider-Man game.
Which means that Sony has a deadly weapon in their arsenal going into this Holiday season. While it isn’t as lethal as Smash Bros., which combines all Nintendo IP into one game, and Pokemon, which is the biggest media franchise in the world (yes, bigger than Marvel and Star Wars), Sony has another advantage on its side- it has multiple third party games sewn up for the year, with exclusive marketing and branding rights to boot.
So, not only will PS4 be advertised as the only place to play the new Spider-Man game- which I have to imagine will do well with critics, after all, Sony Worldwide Studios are on fire right now- but it will also be advertised as the best place to play some of the biggest and most anticipated games of the year, such as the elephant in the room that will be Red Dead Redemption 2. With the combined might of Red Dead, Call of Duty, Spider-Man, plus games from earlier this year such as Monster Hunter, and of course, God of War, there is no way that the PS4 isn’t primed for an explosive Holiday season this year- far beyond at least the Xbox One (the Switch’s true potential will ultimately come down to how Nintendo chooses to play its pricing this Holiday. If the Switch gets a meaningful bundle or price drop, it is likely to outperform even the PS4).
"So, not only will PS4 be advertised as the only place to play the new Spider-Man game- which I have to imagine will do well with critics, after all, Sony Worldwide Studios are on fire right now- but it will also be advertised as the best place to play some of the biggest and most anticipated games of the year."
Speaking of pricing, though, that’s another weapon up Sony’s arsenal- they can drop the price, at least of the PS4 Slim, if not also the PS4 Pro, and see more units move that way. We already know that they did something like this last year, when the price of the PS4 Slim was dropped to just $199 in November, causing stock shortages for a four year old console as a result of just how many it ended up selling. If Sony were to do something like that again- not even go lower, just drop the price of the system to $199- and advertise Red Dead, FIFA, and Spider-Man aggressively, this Holiday season is bound to be an incredible showing for them.
As I said last week too, though, in the end, no matter what, Sony will end up doing well even if they are not aggressive. The sheer strength of their lineup is too much to ignore- they’re bound to do well. And, of course, Microsoft and Nintendo will end up doing well, too, because in their own way, they are each primed for the end of the year shopping rush as well. In such a case, it won’t matter who really wins- although it must be said, Sony has certainly put itself in the best spot to outdo the competition, if nothing else.
Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, GamingBolt as an organization.