Valkyria Chronicles and the State of the Station
If Sony's system is going to succeed to the degree the PS2 has, and the PSone did before, it's going to need to please many niches. One big, fat, important niche, which has always helped push consoles, is the English-speaking gamer (whatever territory) who likes Japanese games, and there has been close to nothing to satisfy that niche yet on PS3 besides the woefully ignored Folklore and a small smattering of others (Disgaea 3, for instance).
This is exactly what Sony did with the PS2 and even the PS1! There were no RPGs. I remember being so pissed at Sony in 7th grade. I buy this shiny, new PlayStation, and the only RPG I get is Beyond the Beyond? Where the hell was Arc the Lad? Permanently in the vault, inexplicably. It wasn't until Wild ARMs and Suikoden (which were few and far between) that matters were partially ameliorated, and it took FFVII to assuage things entirely (though the translation was horrid). Until then, I had to contend myself with Toshinden (yuck) and European games I frankly was not that interested in (Destruction Derby, Wipeout... why did I bother buying this system at all, I wondered to myself). Later, the flood hit, and PSone became almost as treasured to me as my trusy SNES was in the era before (which, I might add, had the foresight to launch with an RPG, Final Fantasy IV, although we did miss out on many others, particularly FFV and the SNES Dragon Quests; Nintendo consoles have not released with RPGs since, and I think it's been a tremendous detriment, particularly on N64 and GameCube).
I played it a little smarter with PS2 and was not at all an early adopter because it was still the same absurd situation upon release; I waited for Ico and Final Fantasy X, the bonanza began, and I finally bought a system. PS2 turned into a great platform for this particular niche, and it still is, with Persona 4 coming out soon (in fact, it could be argued it is still basically the only console for this type of game, which is what needs to change), but it certainly didn't start out that way when Okage was one of the few RPGs and the quality level was sadly low.
We see the same thing happening this console generation, and with stiffer competition now from Microsoft, and Wii lapping the track over and over just on the strength of Wii-mote waggling, Sony really MUST step it up! How and when will this occur?
I did finally bite the hook myself, because I wanted to play the aforementioned (Disgaea, Folklore) and a handful of other faves (Hot Shots Golf, which I hope does not have the awful localization of the PS2 releases) and new non-Japanese stuff (LBP, Uncharted, Warhawk, Ratchet, maybe Resistance), but it was Valkyria Chronicles that really sealed the deal and made me think now was the time.
So, as I see it, Valkyria Chronicles is about a hell of a lot more than just Valkyria Chronicles. It SHOULD herald another draw of this system, which fully deserves to be around for the next 10 years, but it needs legs to stand on for that. A new focus should begin here and now, because a multi-tiered approach is what has always worked for Sony. Why they never discover this until 3 years into a system's lifespan, I don't know, but it's rancorously frustrating.
The other leg of this as of yet woefully unbalanced chair, which I will mention only as an aside, is the situation with multi-platform releases. Often the PS3 versions are inferior, which turns away the multi-console gamer (me). Not only does the PS3 need parity, it needs superiority. It's what its increased system specifications demand. If PS3 versions of multi-platform releases were always better, they'd sell more hardware based on the reputation the PS3 would develop as a rather elite (pardon the use of a hackneyed expression) system. Sony must also increase the volume (and not decrease the quality) of their exclusives and first-party releases. The promise of God of War "sometime" is not enough. Games like LBP and Killzone 2 are great, but there need to be more of them.
So that's what Valkyria Chronicles means to me--a hell of a lot, especially considering the arguable lack of good Japanese games on the 360 (which was to be expected anyway).