Sony claims they have largest first-party division

Marketing Head John Koller of Sony Computer Entertainment of America today claimed their first party development team is larger than Microsoft's and Nintendo's combined.

"Our development studios - the Worldwide Studios team - is as large as Microsoft and Nintendo's combined," said Koller at GDC via VG247.

Unlike Microsoft, Sony have chose to concentrate their efforts on first party studios to secure their exclusive titles, whereas Microsoft have reached out and secured themselves as the favourite platform for third parties, along with timed exclusives and fully exclusive DLC for the Xbox 360.

Again, Nintendo have a much stronger third party following the huge success of the Wii, originally doubted by many development studios at first, wary of gimmick controls. However, the huge success of Wii Sports bundled with the console made it an instant hit, and developers have been quick to follow with copy-cat games taking advantage of the larger install base.

Koller continued saying that the first party roster will include a range of fresh ideas and undoubted franchises:

"We have a tremendously creative group, and a line-up for the next few years that will bring a lot of new IP to the market, but will also being a lot of [tried and tested] franchises and new iterations to the PS3 in particular, but also PSP."

2009 looks promising for both the PS3 and PSP with a line up full of exclusive first party games; God of War 3, InFamous, Heavy Rain arriving on PS3 and LittleBigPlanet, Motorstorm and Buzz: Brain of the UK for PSP.

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Definitely got the largest, dunno if it's bigger than Nintendo and MS combined though.

I'd like to see MS invest in more 1st party, it means guaranteed exclusives and people learning to work 1:1 with the console. I know they axed some studios recently, but they were more PC focussed. I'm talking bulking up console 1st party. Less money spent on exclusive DLC and 3rd party timed exclusives and more on creating new studios would be good IMO.

I doubt Nintendo will ever "expand" they seem really defensive of just having their small core 1st party team who do make really good games, and then leave everything else to 3rd parties who've generally unfortunately never really got going on Nintendo platforms.