PlayStation has always relied heavily on first-party exclusives, and that’s more true now than ever. Over the past decade or so, Sony has taken its first-party portfolio to new heights, and on the face of it, it’s only going to get better. Nobody knows what the future holds, so here we are fully focused on the present. We’ll be looking at all of Sony’s currently active first-party franchises and ranking them.
“Currently active” is a pretty nebulous term – it can mean a number of things, and no one can be entirely sure which franchises are active and which aren’t unless they are aware of Sony’s plans, that we, of course, are not. For the purposes of this feature, we’re only looking at franchises that have had recent entries or have new upcoming installments that have been officially announced – or, you know, both.
#ten. MLB THE SHOW
MLB The Show has never been one of Sony’s biggest mainstream franchises, but while it lacks the aura and sheen of PlayStation’s blockbuster cinematic experiences, there’s no denying how much it has been admirably consistent. Year after year, MLB The Show provides excellent baseball sims, making significant iterative improvements, adding great new content and features, and generally responding quite well to player feedback. Now the series has expanded beyond the confines of PlayStation, making its second appearance on Xbox and its first on Switch with the upcoming MLB The Show 23. It remains to be seen how this shapes the future of the series, but it’s certainly done enough to warrant some optimism.
#9. astro robot
robot astro is far from a traditional franchise for Sony. Based on the robot cast first introduced in the 2013 PS4 title The game roomthe franchise debuted as a PSVR exclusive with the excellent Astro Bot Rescue Missionbefore making a second appearance as a PS5 pack-in game with Astro’s Playroom, which, while effectively a playable DualSense tech demo, was a delightful game in its own right. It’s very much on the fringe of the PlayStation family, at least as far as the mainstream market is concerned, but robot astro has been an absolute delight with each of his offerings. Here’s hoping we get a full-fledged new entry in the not-too-distant future.
#8. RATCHET AND RATCHET
Ratchet and Clank is two decades old at this point, making it one of the oldest and oldest franchises on this list. Sure, Insomniac’s action-platformer series has had its fair share of ups and downs, and those downs have been pretty forgettable (if we put it mildly) – but when Ratchet and Clank running at full speed, as it did last year Flaw apart, there is nothing else like it. Humor, charm, gorgeous visuals, enjoyable action, imaginative weaponry – when this series ticks all of those boxes, it’s impossible not to fall in love with it.
#7. GRAN TURISMO
Gran Turismo is the oldest franchise on this list, but by the same token, it’s also the only one to be a PlayStation mainstay for as long as the two have been around. From the days of the PS1 until today, Gran Turismo was a flagship franchise for Sony, and for most of its life the series was the standard bearer of the racing sim genre. Yes, he has tripped more than once in recent years, with Gran Turismo Sports in particular being a low point, and yes, Gran Turismo 7 monetization and connectivity issues made it difficult to launch, but the future still looks solid. Why? Because as a game, GT7 has been the best in this series for a long, long time, and if Polyphony Digital can fix the issues based on player feedback, it could get even better.
In many ways, Unexplored is the model of Sony’s current proprietary model. In his early years (with Uncharted 2 in particular), Naughty Dog’s franchise has stunned audiences with its jaw-dropping action, top-notch visuals, cinematic storytelling, and the success Sony has enjoyed as a result has brought about immense change not only for Sony as a developer and publisher, but the industry as a whole. Sure, Unexplored the immense legacy only exists because the games justify it. Of course, at the moment it is not known when we will have a new Unexplored game, or if Naughty Dog is even going to develop it – we just got the The Legacy of Thieves Collection however, it is something.
#5. THE GHOST OF TSUSHIMA
With Sly Cooper and infamous two franchises spawning multiple entries that have seen their fair share of critical and commercial success, Sucker Punch has contributed a lot to PlayStation history over the years, but the studio has never really broken into the forefront like other studios. Sony did – until very, very recently. Ghost of Tsushima launched in 2020, and while it was always almost guaranteed to succeed, no one could have predicted it would be like successful as he was. Within months of its launch, the game sold millions and Sony signed off on a film adaptation, all thanks to the widespread (and well-deserved) praise the game itself received from critics and public. With Ghost of TsushimaSucker Punch has now become one of PlayStation’s first first-party studios.
Horizon was at Guerrilla Games was Ghost of Tsushima was at Sucker Punch. Sure, Killzone was very successful and during the PS3 years was one of Sony’s most important franchises, but it could never come close to the level of success that Horizon did. In more ways than one, it was the exact opposite of what Guerrilla had previously been known for, and it was truly amazing. Horizon Zero Dawn sold a ton, rated extremely well, and has now spawned a sequel which has also been rated extremely well and will likely sell a ton as well. With Horizon Call of the Mountain in preparation for PSVR2 and a co-op Horizon A game heavily rumored to be in development, it’s clear that this has quickly become one of Sony’s biggest franchises in a very short period of time.
#3. MARVEL’S SPIDER-MAN
Much like Guerrilla Games and Sucker Punch, Insomniac has also reached new heights in the PS4 era. Marvel’s Spiderman, however, turned out to be an entirely different beast – and it’s not hard to see why. Not only is it one of Insomniac’s best and biggest games to date, it also carries one of the most popular licenses in the world – it’s a deadly combination that has resulted in critical acclaim. and stellar commercial, rapidly rotating Spider Man into a flagship franchise for Sony.
#2. THE LAST OF US
Yes Unexplored laying the groundwork for Sony’s first model, The last of us built the first floor of the building above it. PlayStation’s first release is very strongly associated with cinematic and scripted action-adventure games with a very particular style, and it was The last of us who put this plan in place. The last of us part 2 also caused a stir, albeit in a totally different way, and improved and expanded the series in exciting ways, both from a gameplay and storytelling perspective. With HBO’s upcoming adaptation, the series’ cache will only grow, and if Sony releases the Factions standalone game and the rumored The last of us 1 remake in the years to come, fans will have more than enough to look forward to.
#1. GOD OF THE WAR
It’s amazing that God of the war is even on this list, because for quite a while it seemed like the show had no future. god of war ascension seemed like the final nail in the coffin for the aging series, but 2018’s soft reboot turned the tide completely. God of the war was not only revitalized, it enjoyed critical and commercial success on a level it had never had before – which is saying a lot, as it was massively successful even before its reinvention. It’s a series that started out strong, got better with subsequent sequels, and when it started to slip, it instantly came back with an exciting reimagining that heralds even bigger things to come. For all these reasons and more, God of the war is the undisputed king of PlayStation.