The Smartest & 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.

The Smartest & Dumbest Things Sony Did in 2012

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!

The Smartest & Dumbest Things Sony Did in 2012

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 okay game. It should have been a great one. There's also no Crash Bandicoot.

Key Releases

All games were published, distributed, or developed by Sony Computer Entertainment

Jak and Daxter Collection - February 7th

Twisted Metal - February 14th

Uncharted: Golden Abyss - February 15th

Escape Plan - February 22nd

ModNation Racers: Road Trip - February 22nd

MLB 12: The Show - March 6th

Journey - March 13th

Starhawk - May 8th

Datura - May 8th

PixelJunk 4am - May 15th

Sorcery - May 22nd

Resistance: Burning Skies - May 29th

Gravity Rush - June 12th

Sound Shapes - August 7th

Papo & Yo - August 14th

Ratchet & Clank Collection - August 28th

LittleBigPlanet Vita - September 25th

Tokyo Jungle - September 25th

The Unfinished Swan - October 23rd

LittleBigPlanet Karting - November 6th

Wonderbook - November 13th

Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale - November 20th

Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault - November 22nd

Uncharted: Fight For Fortune - December 4th

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.