The holidays are big business for video games. All the heavy hitters are out across all platforms and what separates consoles from each other in the rush are often times the few exclusives they can slide into the cracks of consumer mind share. That’s why in a year when Sony’s exclusive line-up is as light as winter’s first snow, it’s confounding that they aren’t pushing everything in their software arsenal.
Developer Arc System Works has been making some of the most beautiful, deep fighters for years now and Guilt Gear Xrd is the latest entry in their crown jewel franchise. Known recently for its latest offshoot, BlazBlue, rest assured that GG is their bread and butter. Being released exclusively to the PlayStation 3 and 4 this December with the exact date TBA, but has been promised for 2014, Guilty Gear could and should be an important catch for Sony. While the genre isn’t bound to push huge numbers, it can fill a niche for any curious gamer and like the well received Killer Instinct for the Xbox One, a great showcase for the console.
Featuring to-die-for 2D art mixed with state-of-the-art 3D effects in certain circumstances, a fully fleshed-out story mode with branching paths, tons of unique character choices, Guilt Gear Xrd is a no-brainer for any fighting game fan and will assuredly be played for years to come in all the top yearly tournaments such as EVO in Las Vegas.
The fact of the matter is every exclusive counts right now, particularly in the face of the direct competition’s line-up. Although this is the second holiday season for the fledgling consoles, it’s the first where each has had the time to work out any kinks in their platform and have a sufficient choice of bundles available to would be purchasers. Of the three new consoles, Sony definitely has the weakest exclusive line-up by paper count, so why isn’t Guilty Gear getting the exclusive distinction from PlayStation brass? Why not capitalize on this momentum and help it stand out from the crowd in a busy holiday season?
It turns out that this isn’t just a one-game problem, either, as none of the PlayStation holiday exclusives are seeing much of a push from the company. DriveClub releases in the next few weeks and, despite the year delay, there’s been nary a peep of marketing for the beautiful racing offering. Likewise for the disgustingly charming, would-be mascot, Sackboy, and its latest playground style romp, Little Big Planet 3. Marketing for software is once again becoming a problem for Sony exclusives, as it was last generation and it’s growing increasingly puzzling.
In trying to seek answers, we can only come up with more questions. Is it due to Sony hemorrhaging money as a company everywhere but in the gaming division? Is it a lack of perceived need due to sales being favourable in everything PlayStation 4? Is it a lack of faith in said line-up or something else entirely? Despite being a third-party offering available on the competition’s system as well, the recently released Destiny from Bungie has seen more of a marketing push from Sony, which is both smart and strange. Marrying to a huge release to increase public perception is intelligent marketing, but the game hardly needed any more of a push from Sony in this regard, especially at the cost of the brands I’ve listed above.
Complacency is never admirable and, if PlayStation wishes to keep its momentum, they’ll need every advantage they can get. The big AAA releases are going to grab a majority of the headlines, but having something available for every gamer in every genre is equally important. Guilty Gear Xrd fills a need and Sony is doing it and their other holiday exclusives a disservice with a lack of marketing voice.
For more information on Guilt Gear Xrd and all things PlayStation, keep it locked to PlayStation Enthusiast for all your updates. Here is the latest trailer for the aforementioned release from this year’s Tokyo Games Show: