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Watching the course of the PlayStation 3's life has been interesting. Things are getting much better for the system in terms of media playback, and we can now name a few must-have titles for the system such as Resistance: Fall of Man, MotorStorm, and Virtua Fighter 5. The problem is the hardware still isn't selling as well as its competitors; the 360 and especially the Wii are strengthening their lead month after month. This is bad news if Microsoft and Nintendo are able to use their higher installed base and deep pockets to woo away developers: something Microsoft has been trying when with Namco Bandai with great success. According to Level Up, Namco Bandai has just made a very telling move: the next-generation Katamari Damacy game Beautiful Katamari may be a 360 exclusive. 老域名购买

The original title was a PS2 exclusive, as was the sequel We Love Katamari. The portable version, Me and My Katamari, was only released on the PSP. While these games aren't exactly system-sellers, they are strongly tied into the Sony brand. Moving the next game over to Microsoft's platform is bad enough, but if N'Gai Croal's source is correct and the game is actually an exclusive, then Sony should begin to worry about their other star franchises.

Namco Bandai has already announced that Ace Combat 6 will be a 360 title, so the move isn't completely unprecedented. Pac-Man Championship Edition, the fun and competitive update to the classic Pac-Man formula, was also only released via the 360's Live Arcade service. While none of these games is a deal breaker or a system-seller by itself, together they give the 360 a strong roster of exclusive games from Namco Bandai and may cause long-time fans of these franchises to turn away from Sony.

Why would Sony have problems with developers? The answers are straightforward. By their own admission their platform is more expensive to develop for, the architecture is trickier, the online infrastructure isn't as strong or mature as Xbox Live, and the installed base is much lower. Until Sony sells many, many more PS3s or decides to write checks for games developers, we are looking at a platform with a higher cost of entry and lower possibility of sales. The PS3's early lack of momentum may be hard to overcome in this regard unless Sony is willing to dig deep into its pockets, a hard decision when the PS3 is already costing the company so dearly.

Success or failure for the PS3 may simply come down to how many developers and publishers are willing to weather this early rough patch, or how many will jump ship to the more accessible and profitable alternatives. Sony needs to start selling systems and writing checks, and it needs to begin soon.


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