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.

riseofthetombraider2015On 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.

nomansskyPlaying 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.

Bio Card Paul

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!

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7 comments

  1. Clarity is the name of the game. No one likes feeling lied to, or deceived with a clever use of words. On a personal level, I don’t like when cross-platform titles offer console exclusive content at all. It’s harmful to the consumer as it can easily make someone regret their $400 console of choice decision over a very small amount of content to begin with. If it’s clearly marketed as timed content, that’s one thing, but alienating consumers completely over a multiplayer skin, a new map, or worse, verbal deception, isn’t good for any of us but the ones making money.

    1. If they are clear to say “this is a timed exclusive, it will be on other platform within a year(or X months) from the initial release” that’s ok, not great, but ok. When they don’t say or act like it shouldn’t matter then it is bad.

      I’ve not seen one exclusive that has made me sway from my preferred platform. If it doesn’t come to it then I don’t play it. I would not buy any platform just to play one game. In fact I own the PS4 and Xbone but won’t buy Rise of the Tomb Raider until it comes to PS4 just because I played the Tomb Raider reboot on PS3 and would prefer to continue playing the series on that platform.

  2. Unless the exclusive is really awesome, I tend to buy a game based on what console I’ll play it on more. Excluding FFXIV, most of my multiplayer is on Xbox 360 or Xbox One. Therefore my multiplayer games tend to lean towards Xbox. My RPGs, my story games, my “Shut up and leave me alone so I can enjoy the game” games tend to go to Sony. And then Wii U gets all of my Nintendo love and my “You know, this could be fun with the gamepad…” games.

    I’ll admit to sometimes wanting an exclusive here or there because of costumes, but it’s very rare. Really, my OCD decides my console more than others. I started Mass Effect on Xbox, therefore I will always play Mass Effect on Xbox. I picked up RE4 on PS3, therefore I will always play RE games on the Playstation if I have a chance (though I will break down and buy an Xbox version for multiplayer if it’s on an insane sale, like what I got RE6 for). But really exclusives don’t bother me too much. About the only time it’ll factor into my decision is if I’m pretty convinced the graphic/sound quality of all versions are fairly similar, it’s not apart of a franchise with existing games I’ve already played, and I’m standing in front of a game case looking for the most bang for my buck. If Sony offers me an additional 60 minutes of gameplay for the same price as the Xbox version that doesn’t, yeah, I’ll pick up the Sony one for the same price.

    1. I hate to admit it, but that’s what swayed me to purchase Watch Dogs for PS4 instead of Xbox One. Those whopping 60 minutes of gameplay. And I ended up disappointed in the game enough to not even finish it before trading it off. =\

      1. Yeah that’s what’s kept me on PS3 for Assassin’s Creed despite the fact that I have several friends that play it on Xbox. I enjoy the story content and I want those extra missions.

        I’m still a bit sore that Bayonetta is only on Wii U, but I’m happy that the game is getting packaged with the original one so I can sate my OCD. Most of all I’m just happy that it’s got a sequel at all, fucking loved the game.

        I do hate that it always feels like some kind of contest, and not even a good one. The consoles want to entice you to buy it for their system, but it feels like half the time they don’t even offer good exclusives anymore. Feels like 90% of the time now it’s some kind of costume or other deal. If you’re going to make me choose between consoles and try to bribe me, then damn it, take me out somewhere nice. No cheap dinner, I’m a lady! Give me some missions, give me some in-game credit. I don’t want another pretty skirt, I want something that makes me want to get through the game instead of feeling like a cheap whore!

  3. Exclusives have existed since the days of the Atari 2600, Intellivision, and Colecovision. But over the last 15 years there have been more and more that have felt almost like bribes. A number of things should be done when third-party exclusives happen. The first is transparency. Publishers aren’t fooling anyone with the drivel that they hope will pass for announcements. They should just come right out, and tell their customers the truth. In the case of Tomb Raider, that should have been “Microsoft footed the bill, and that is why it is going to be on Xbox One.”. But they didn’t, and so in many people’s minds they not only insulted their intelligence, but they lied to their faces too.

    It makes a situation a lot more heated because of the lack of honesty. A lot of people might say, “Ok, but this is just video games, not something important.” But the thing is, it is still a business. When you are in any business, and you aren’t honest with your customers, they may choose to stop shopping with you. Because you’ve lost their trust. It’s no different than a lot of the other controversy happening in gaming this week. Trust has to be earned. In every part of life, including business.

    Another thing that will annoy your customers is when you have established a game series as an exclusive, or a multiplatform one. But then all of a sudden change that. Again, another part of this Tomb Raider misfire. Had the first one only been an Xbox 360 or Xbox One exclusive, more people would have shrugged at this news. But it wasn’t. It was on both Sony, and Microsoft consoles as well as on Windows. So again, customers feel like screaming “Betrayal!” (To quote a famous internet personality)

    Sega, and Platinum ran into this with the Bayonetta ordeal. The fact that Nintendo’s financing was the only way Platinum could see it made was the ONLY reason the heat cooled. Even then a lot of customers weren’t happy about it. But at least in that instance they could put it behind them.

    It all goes back to honesty.

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