Gaming History 101

Know Your Roots

Completing the Cycle on Third Party Exclusives

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bayonetta2Recently I’ve seen a disturbing trend with contemporary console gamers, which is the hatred of console exclusives.  I don’t get this.  I get that there’s almost no reason to do so because from a business standpoint the publisher wants a game as available as possible, the developer definitely wants as many gamers to get their hands on the game and enjoy the fruits of its labors, and gamers definitely want everything available to them.  I also know that most gamers hate to hear about all the development studios that close on an annual basis and if the console exclusivity amounts mitigate or remove the risk of releasing a new game, I can admit I would probably “sell out” too.  There are also benefits to exclusivity that can include getting the highest quality game for that console because all resources will be dedicated to that single piece of hardware and lets not forget the fact that in cases like Bayonetta 2, it was the only way certain games would see the light of day.  Without third party exclusives there’s little that differentiates these consoles from one another – don’t get into that stupid “who has more ‘p’s debate” either, I can’t stand it and almost no one can visually see the difference.  If we get more third party console exclusives we may also get more games coming out because development studios don’t have to worry about supporting each and every version that releases and can move onto the next big project without worrying about those first month sales.

sfvThere was a time when third party exclusives were an ongoing way of life.  My cousin wanted to play Mortal Kombat with blood just as much as I wanted to play Super Mario World, but the reality was we just had to deal with the hardware we had.  Aladdin was different on the Genesis and the SNES and to this day can spark an unwinnable debate that will go for hours.  In the end the purpose for the argument, and most likely what side you are on, has to do with which one you played growing up.  It all makes business sense when you think about it.  Microsoft wants Rise of the Tomb Raider so that in fall 2015 they can compete with Uncharted 4 just as Sony hedges its bets on the fighter community with Street Fighter V while Microsoft tries to close its grip on first person shooters with Titanfall.  It keeps things interesting coming off of the nearly identical worlds that were the late Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 days.  Lets face it, those two consoles were nearly identical in the end, with your preference coming down to trivial facts like which one still worked or which one was hooked up to your main television.  I don’t like that, I want differentiation.  Give me exclusive content, give me exclusive games, give me sides to pick when deciding which is best.  This is exclusivity.

rottrI know many will complain that they cannot afford to purchase multiple consoles and that plenty others will argue that gamers should be able to play whatever they want provided the hardware can sustain it, but if that was true you may risk to see the end of competition.  The Playstation 4 had a clear lead over the Xbox One right out of the gate and that lead has continued for nearly the last year, so if it weren’t for console exclusives and the need to push into the marketplace, the Xbox One would be forced out and you would have to play every game on a Playstation 4.  I don’t like that, especially because as of late I’m growing more fond of my Xbox One (I own both).  Also, what’s to get you to buy an Xbox One if all of the games are on PS4?  Before the majority group, PS4 owners, gets all snarky and asks what’s wrong with that, realize that if that logic held true you would have no Playstation 4 because the Playstation 3 would have been forced out of the market by the Xbox 360 long ago.  Competition is good, exclusivity is good, and gaming is better for it.  Keep that in mind every time you jump into an online board and complain that it’s the worst thing in the world that your console isn’t getting a game you want.  Without that fact, we wouldn’t have competition.

Written by Fred Rojas

December 16, 2014 at 2:39 pm

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