Unfortunately, we are living in a day and age where the major console contenders are trying to win over players by garnering exclusive content, or maybe its just getting more pronounced. Sony just published a video(shown above) to show off their exclusives with Destiny. In fact, there are so many exclusives that there is an entire webpage to detail all of the game’s exclusives to the PlayStation platform.
Recently, Microsoft inserted its foot into its mouth, and subsequently tripped over it, by announcing the upcoming Rise of the Tomb Raider as a console exclusive. Quickly they had to clarify that stance by telling everyone that it is a “timed” exclusive and that they don’t own the rights to the franchise. This leaves it wide open for Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix to port the game to other platforms at a later date.
When a new game or intellectual property is announced as an exclusive I don’t think much of it. Look at series such as Halo and Uncharted that are exclusive to Xbox and PlayStation, respectively (although Halo was originally available on PC, but started out as a Mac game…but I digress). Since those properties are wholly owned by the console’s company, I see no issue with their exclusivity.
On a certain level, I also don’t see a problem with timed exclusives. Rise of the Tomb Raider could still come to other platforms and given that it would be likely to make a large amount of money by doing so, I expect that it will happen. Take Mass Effect as a prime example. It was a PC and Xbox exclusive until after the release of Mass Effect 2. Then Mass Effect 2 was ported to the PS3. Mass Effect 3 was directly released to Xbox 360, PS3, and PC followed by the original Mass Effect being ported to PS3. Yes it took years but it did happen – eventually.
What does bother me is how the exclusives are being handled and announced. Rise of the Tomb Raider was but one example. The darling of this year’s E3, No Man’s Sky, is another one that irked me. There was a lot of talk about that game being a PS4 exclusive only to have it later come out that a PC port will be coming at some point.
Where Microsoft had a failure of clarity, Sony was direct to point out that titles were ‘first to console’ on PlayStation. It is just that simple to make an announcement more sound. Instead of trying to grandstand about what you are presenting, be clear and concise. As much as I believe in Phil Spencer, this was one case where he did not handle things as well as he could have.
Playing devil’s advocate…exclusives and their accompanying deals could be lucrative for gamers and studios. Just hear me out before you scroll down to the reply section of the article. Exclusivity can help keep the lights on for smaller studios and Hello Games with No Man’s Sky fits this example as well. Think about how a studio of only four people is going to get enough money together to get their game made. Granted, Sony probably did not give them enough to pay every bill but that game and company may have folded without their support. For gamers, it could come down to not only a game never being released but possibly how much it costs when it is released.
Regardless of how we see or feel about exclusives, they will continue. How much they change our buying patterns is yet to be seen. Are you going to by Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare for Xbox One just because they get the DLC before the PS4? Will you buy Destiny of the PS4 to get the exclusive strike missions that won’t be available on Xbox One until a year later? Or are you loyal to your platform of choice and are going to keep investing in it as such?
Many of my points are speculative and opinionated but I’ve based them on the facts I’ve seen and what I can make of them. None of us can change the course ahead of us when it comes to exclusives. We can only guide our vessels as best we can through these strange waters ahead.
Paul Novak is a self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing in the west side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet. Found here at What’s Your Tag? and on the Twitter @dudewantshisrug. Game on with Team XBRO!