Does Exclusivity Still Matter?
Posted on Sunday, October 13 @ 12:00:00 PST by Alex_Osborn
The big decision for gamers this holiday season who don't have the luxury of being able to throw a grand (or more) into their precious hobby is whether to buy a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One... or (possibly) Wii U. Back in the day, when console exclusives were far more prevalent, the decision may have been a bit more clear-cut; however, with both Xbox One and PS4 offering so much more than just a drive in which to insert your game, there are several other factors to weigh. Not only that, but many exclusive franchises have made the multiplatform jump, leaving very little content bound behind a single side of the fence.
Of course, Nintendo is a completely different story, as the company's latest console has relatively little third-party support and must rely heavily on its first-party content to drive sales. It hasn't been working out all that well for them so far, which not only calls into question the selling power of Nintendo's core franchises, but the viability of exclusive titles in general.
Let's take a look at the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One launch lineups, for example. Sony's got a batch of exclusive downloadable games ready to go on day one, but aside from that, there's just Killzone: Shadow Fall, Knack, and the promise of inFamous: Second Son sometime early next year. The case isn't very different for Microsoft, as Ryse, Dead Rising 3, and Forza Motorsport 5 lead the charge for Xbox One. Granted, launch lineups are rarely ever something to write home about, as the killer titles are bound to come later in each console's life cycle.
Maybe that's why I'm waiting. I haven't decided one way or the other the console I will buy first because neither platform manufacturer has compelling exclusive software to drive my purchasing decision. Sure, a new Halo for Xbox One may pull me toward Microsoft's side, but we have yet to see anything on this game aside from a brief teaser. Plus, there's Ready at Dawn's PS4-exclusive The Order: 1886 to consider, along with what Naughty Dog has in the works. But again, there still isn't a whole lot to go on.
I'm sure many of you have gone through the same thought process, but unlike me, you've made a decision one way or the other. Perhaps you'll end up getting both consoles in the end anyway, so it won't be that big of a deal for you, or perhaps... exclusive titles just aren't as important as they once were.
Remember having to buy a Nintendo 64 just to play Super Mario 64, or a PlayStation just so you could experience Final Fantasy VII, VIII, IX, and Metal Gear Solid? Or even an Xbox just for Halo: Combat Evolved, a GameCube for Metroid Prime, or a PS2 for Grand Theft Auto III and well... dozens of other exclusives? In prior generations, consoles were defined by their exclusive titles, but that really isn't the case anymore. Look at the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. While yes, games like The Last of Us and Halo 4 are key titles you can only play on one console, the vast majority of the greatest games this generation are available on both. From the Mass Effect trilogy, to BioShock, Red Dead Redemption, and The Elder Scrolls games, the list of amazing multiplats goes on and on.
That trend not only appears to be continuing, but ramping up as we transition into the next generation of gaming. Exclusivity has been relegated to downloadable content or early access, as we see fewer and fewer games tied to any one console indefinitely. So instead of pouring all their resources into first-party games, Sony and Microsoft have been building up their online ecosystems. Maybe you're going with PlayStation 4 because you're obsessed with your trophy level, or maybe you're going with Xbox One because that's where you know all your Call of Duty friends will be. Perhaps Kinect tickles your fancy. Or maybe you despise the idea of a motion camera so much that you've sworn off the Xbox platform entirely.
There are so many things to consider when picking up a new console in today's day and age, and while exclusive games still play a part in most gamers' decision, something tells me it is shrinking at an exponential rate. I may be holding out for more info on exclusive titles, but something tells me I'm in the minority.
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