The Smartest And Dumbest Things Sony Did In 2012

We're currently taking a look back over 2012, not only at delivery foods we've ordered and personal mistakes we've made, but also what the major gaming companies have been up to. What have they pulled off? What did they bungle? We already ran down the list for Microsoft, and today it's good ol' Sony's turn.

Despite the fact that they released a new handheld system, Sony definitely felt like the most absent of the big three in 2012. While their system is not the oldest, Sony does feel like somewhat of a passive elder statesman right now, with none of their major franchises having games released this year or anytime soon. The Last of Us, while cool, still feels far away. They released a newer, smaller PS3 but hey: we've seen that magic trick before.

Then of course there's that aforementioned handheld, the accursed PlayStation Vita. With all the promise in the world, the fine folks at Sony found a way to not only miss the mark, but essentially make its big move in 2012 feel irrelevant. Don't worry though, there was definitely some good to be found from the juggernaut this year as well.

Smartest Moves

Indie Games on PSN While their lineup of new in-house games could definitely be considered weak, Sony tried to make up for it by scoring exclusives for some amazing indie games, including games that are being bandied about as Game of The Year candidates. If trips to GameStop were disappointing, great experiences were just a PSN login away. With the dreamy and sad autobiographical platformer Papo & Yo, the wondrous living painting The Unfinished Swan, and of course thatgamecompany's newest game-as-tone-poem Journey, you had a triptych of titles that truly left a mark on 2012.

PlayStation Plus' Instant Games Speaking of its great roster of downloadable titles, how about Sony's generous and fun updates to its premium service Playstation Plus, which now has features that make the choice between it and Xbox Live Gold simple. Not only do they offer a bunch of new games for download on launch day, they also offered their Plus subscribers access to a pretty wild amount of FREE games, including The Walking Dead Ep. 1 & 2, Infamous 2, LittleBigPlanet 2 and much more — with presumably even more to come. Thanks Sony!

Dumbest Moves

PS Vita Oh Vita, how frustrating you are. As has been said at length on this site, the Vita itself has potential to be a great handheld system. It looks great and has the guts to deliver "console quality" gaming, or at least a worthy approximation of it. What it doesn't have is good games. It's quickly become a refuge for cast offs and unsettlingly poor adaptations of Sony's major franchises. Attempts at Uncharted and Resistance games were mediocre at best, and the "port" of Black Ops II is being widely ridiculed. Sony has also saddled Vita users with cruel hidden costs for things like memory cards. With a functionally empty schedule for the immediate future, the Vita is not in a good place.

PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale Super Sony Smash Brothers Fun-Time FanFic Hour is not necessarily a bad game — you'll notice that we gave it a "YES" in our review. But considering that it was Sony's one really big in-house game of the year, it is definitely a disappointment. And if you even begin to compare it to the rival series that everyone always compares it to — either in sales or critical reaction — the difference becomes very, very clear. PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale is an OK game. It should have been a great one. There's also no Crash Bandicoot.


All games were published, distributed or developed by Sony Computer Entertainment Jak and Daxter Collection - February 7 Twisted Metal - February 14 Uncharted: Golden Abyss - February 15 Escape Plan - February 22 ModNation Racers: Road Trip - February 22 MLB 12: The Show - March 6 Journey - March 13 Starhawk - May 8 Datura - May 8 PixelJunk 4am - May 15 Sorcery - May 22 Resistance: Burning Skies - May 29 Sound Shapes - August 7 Papo & Yo - August 14 Ratchet & Clank Collection - August 28 LittleBigPlanet Vita - September 25 Tokyo Jungle - September 25 The Unfinished Swan - October 23 LittleBigPlanet Karting - November 6 Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale - November 20 Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault - November 22 Uncharted: Fight For Fortune - December 4

For these Year In Review segments, we'll be taking a look at what major gaming companies did in 2012, with summaries of their biggest news and releases, best and worst decisions, and complete lists of the games they were a part of. Check back later in the week for another company. If you check on your phone too then you'll be checking on two screens.


    On the plus side... I really liked Starhawk. But, compared to the last 4 years, I'd have to say its probably Sony's weakest aside from PS+

    It seemed like Sony made a big effort this year but it felt like too little too late. I think we're too close to the end of the current console cycle to really get excited about the PS3, and the Vita doesn't seem to be faring very well (which I personally put down to the decline of dedicated handheld gaming devices in a Smartphone/Tablet world).

      well then why is the 3DS selling so well?

        Is it? I remember it having such a lacklustre launch that Nintendo cut the price and issued partial refunds to their early adopters.

        Sales were up for the first year in the US compared to the original DS but since then interest has dropped off considerably. It has a software attach rate of about 2.5 titles per console, which affects it's profitability. Sales of ~23 million units after nearly 2 years on the market actually seems rather sluggish considering Nintendo is the only place to go for Super Mario Bros, Metroid and Pokemon, especially when you compare it to previous handhelds.

        If you disagree that handhelds in general are in decline, I'd like to see your basis for that viewpoint.

          I love that this comment was downvoted, but no one actually responded with any counter arguments.

          Lol, and this one too.

          Last edited 11/02/13 12:50 pm

    As an xbox user, I really envy the 'artistic' style games Playstation gets...

    edited: comment and vitriol not relevant : didnt see this was under the playstation category

    Last edited 12/12/12 2:13 pm

    What about the fact they started putting unremovable ads in the dashboard?

    That's pretty annoying right there.

    One reason alone that I'll definitely be skipping the PS4.

    Last edited 12/12/12 2:20 pm

      if you hate unremovable ads, you are not gonna like xbox any better...

        there's an adblocker that gets rid of them on 360

        Not gonna buy an xbox either, but that really sucks to hear.

        I'm a PC man. I'm not saying PC is better, but you do have a lot more control.

      So you dont use: google, xbox, free games, facebook, twitter, watch TV..... the list goes on, marketing and advertising is a fact of life, get used to it.

      I dont support or encourage these things but i know they arent going anywhere.

        I use facebook. On PC there's not really ads to speak of. Nothing as prominent as position nr 1 in my games folder on the PS3.

        By using these devices you are supporting them. I vote with my $$$. When a company starts making decisions that I disagree with, then I stop giving them my money. We should all do this. If enough people do, they will change their ways.

        The company exists to make money. Choosing whether to give them yours or not, is the only way you can influence what they do.

          Arm chair activism doesn't accomplish anything, remember the on disc dlc fiasco? Looks like capcom are still in business and doing fine.

          Not really ads in pc, you're classic, I needed a good chuckle, so apparently you don't use any free software and Facebook are the worst for in your faceadvertising. Do you have foxtel? Paying for advertising there too

            Of course I don't have foxtel! Why the heck would you pay for tv, and then have more ads foisted on you for the privilege!

            Anyway if it's a problem for you then... nothing really. I don't care. You live your life the way you want to. I'll do the same.

            While Capcom aren't doing as rosy as you indicate, the on-disc DLC issue is only one of many reasons for this, not the primary one.


    Last edited 12/12/12 2:18 pm

    I take issue with calling Uncharted Golden Abyss 'mediocre' when it has a reviewer metacritic score of 80%. I agree that Resistance Burning Skies was sub-par (metacritic 60%) and that BLOPS Declassified was bad (31%).

    I think Vita's price (including memory cards) is dragging it back from getting the install base it needs for publishers to really take a punt on it. It's not dead yet by any means but everyone agrees it is behind where it needs to be to be a success.

    PS+ was a great move and seems to be getting people onto the concept of subscription gaming (aside from MMOs).

      PS+ has really come into it's own, I hear only good things. I prefer the Xbox 360 and Xbox Live to the PS3 and the PSN/SEN but Microsoft are really going to have to step up their game if they expect people to keep paying for gold memberships.

    People need to stop complaining about the lack of Crash in All Stars, it's Activiosion's fault. I reckon this was a pretty good year for Sony, but the mistakes keep bringing them down.

    Last edited 12/12/12 3:52 pm

      The thing is that there's not much point to doing an 'all-stars' game when half the cast barely represents Sony at all. The reason the Smash Bros. series succeeds (other than being a really good series, of course) is that it's a complete celebration of the Nintendo brand across the years. While All-Stars does okay at representing the current era (and a bit of the PS2 era), there's very little representation of the PSX/1 era, other than Spike, Sweet Tooth and PaRappa.

      You can argue that it's Activision's fault for not allowing Sony to use Crash, or Square-Enix for not allowing the use of Lara Croft, or X's fault for not allowing the use of Y. But in the end, Sony was unable to secure these characters for what is supposed to be a celebration of the PlayStation brand and its life-cycle. Without these characters (and worse, with 3rd-party stand-ins that barely represent the brand such as New-Coke Dante, Ninja Raiden and the Big Daddy), All-Stars just seems lackluster as a celebration of the PlayStation brand, regardless of how good or bad the game actually is.

    Its disappointing that the Vita has been so badly handled, a great system but let down by average games, having to pay a lot just for essential memory and the price point of the system.

      Having to pay that much more for the memory is what's really put me off buying one.

    Pull the plug on the Vita already. Seeing how long it is taking them to do it, I can only assume the decision makers at Sony must be into the Japanese 'shame fetish' thing, wanting to wait until it becomes a complete joke first.

    *Yawn*, sorry guys I've been playing my Vita all night.

    How about releasing a cheaper Super Slim PS3? I thought that was smart move by Sony.

      The price didn't change, nor did the price of the old slim go down.

    "Attempts at Uncharted and Resistance games were mediocre at best"

    Yeah, nah, this is wrong... Uncharted was highly acclaimed. Say what you want about Resistance, but do not slag Golden Abyss, it is the greatest mobile game ever made and a technical marvel...

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