I'd like to mention at first that this thread is totally subjective, it is my own opinion and you have as much right to disagree with it as I have to point out certain events. The bottom line however is that I am not biased nor waging a war against PlayStation
Secondly, a disclaimer: I used to LOVE PlayStation brand as much as the most zealous cows nowadays do. I've bought my first PS on July 28, 1998 - the date which I won't ever forget - along with Resident Evil 2, also a game which I won't ever forget. I used to subscribe to Official PlayStation Magazine back in the day as well.
But I also can't help but notice certain trends and the idea of this thread has been going in and around my head for quite some time now.
Do you know what made PS1 such an amazing console - when we talk about its 1st party - in the first place?
For me, the answer is obvious - its British 1st party studios which had an amazing aura surrounding them, those studios made Sony a distinctive entity of its own, oozing certain kind of class - unparalelled by anyone else at the time.
I'm talking mainly about Psygnosis, SCE London, SCE Cambridge Studio and Team Soho.
Actually, the decline of Sony's 1st party first occured during PS2 era which heavily relied on 3rd party exclusives. That is not to say there weren't any interesting 1st party Sony exclusives back then, but Sony's 1st party power certainly began to somewhat diminish back then.
The best example of it is Sony Cambridge Studio which was considered one of the best during PS1 era having created such unanimously acclaimed masterpieces as MediEvil 1 and to lesser extent its sequel. During PS2 era they've fallen from AAA-quality reptuation to A-quality at best, then they were reduced to shovelware/PSP ports developers' status, and now they don't exist anymore, they're restructured into Guerrilla Cambridge which isn't a proper studio.
Don't even get me started on Psygnosis and how much did it inject into PS1. I could go on and on about it - to no end.
The bottom line is, current Sony's 1st party roster is a FAR CRY from its heyday from PS1 era! It lacks that British refinement and classiness, sophistication.
Apart from Naughty Dog, there isn't anything spectacular in there anymore, IMO (key word). And I'm talking about proper studios making tangible games, not some make-believe vaporware.
I'm sick and tired of listening how Sony's 1st party supposedly gives them edge and at the same time they're given perpetual benefit of the doubt based solely on the fact that it represents PlayStation brand and therefore it must be special, and at the same time you totally forget that PlayStation brand used to be several levels above what it currently does, it had soul, so to speak...Of course, on the other hand, I am more than willing to give Sony's 1st party credit when it's due, but I couldn't have shaken the inescapable feeling that something is missing in Sony for several years.
This British contingent was a welcome breath of fresh air, a brilliant alternative to what later become an oversatured market with bro-shooters of little to no variety. NOW IT'S ALL BUT NON-EXISTENT. I'D LIKE YOU TO PROVE ME WRONG! Only Media Molecule remained. I don't count Evolution Studios, they have very limited impact, work in a very limited capacity (only racing games) and don't feel distinctively British.
I just feel that in the 90s / early 00s, their British studios constituted a significant backbone of Sony, now not anymore, and its lack is really detrimental to Sony.
I'd be delighted if some of you took these pink glasses off and judged exclusived based on their own merits.
That's my two cents.
But anyway, yeah, I do strongly believe that Sony's UK studios constituted the backbone of PlayStation which also paved the way for its success in Europe. It is sad that the nostalgia remained, yet the studios aren't there anymore.
Flame me if you want, but let's remember who started playing when, or who started loving PlayStation first.