Exclusives play an important role in the lifecycle of a console. Exclusives are what really sets apart a console and demonstrates its power. Many console manufacturers own a variety of different studios known as first-party studios which develop exclusive games for their platform to captivate and mesmerize the audience with their game so that the audience prefers their platform instead of the other. Exclusivity importance goes back to the original PlayStation era, which brought about a lot of new exclusive games for its platform. The trend continued with PlayStation 2 along with when Microsoft’s Xbox and Nintendo’s GameCube joined in on the fight for exclusives.
Most third-party developers also bring exclusives to one platform, some in the form of timed DLC content, some having extra minutes of exclusive gameplay content whereas some also develop for single console or a platform exclusively. EA’s recent title, Titanfall, can be an example of that. Coming to PC, Xbox One and Xbox 360, the title can be dubbed as a console exclusive locked to Microsoft’s platform.
Exclusivity also matters and depends on how strong the console is in a territory. Almost many of the JRPGs that are developed end on Sony’s platform as exclusives, many of which are not localized and never make it out of Japan. This is because Sony’s hold in Japan, its home ground and developers make their titles exclusive to the dominant console in the region, which helps them cut the cost of development and devkits for the other platform. We have seen a lot of new exclusive IPs from Sony this generation. Exclusives like Resistance series from Insomniac games, inFamous series from Sucker Punch, Heavy Rain from Quantic Dream, Journey, an indie title from thatgamecompany, which was also nominated as Game Of The Year 2012 and the critically acclaimed Uncharted series and the recent new addition The Last Of Us from Naughty Dog along with many other titles.
Sony’s number of exclusives are no doubt top of the line and got better and better this generation. Exclusives also end up after the developer sees on which platform it really has the freedom on developing. David Cage, Head of Quantic Dream Studio, in an interview said that Heavy Rain could’ve ended on Microsoft’s Xbox 360 as well but Microsoft refused citing concerns about its child kidnapping storyline. Beyond: Two Souls is the recent new exclusive by Quantic Dream for the PlayStation 3 system which is due out on October 8.
Exclusives do end up on different platforms sometimes like Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, a PlayStation 2 exclusive also ended up on Nintendo’s 3DS, Xbox 360 as part of the HD Collection and on PS Vita as part of the HD collection. Final Fantasy XV, previously known as Final Fantasy VersusXIII was first an exclusive title for the PlayStation 3 system but this year it was announced that the title will be coming to both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One along with the name change to Final Fantasy XV.
Of course exclusives do drive up sales of consoles but according to Sony’s own Vice President of Publisher and Developer relations, Adam Boyes, it isn’t fundamentally productive to either console makers or developers. In a candid keynote address at IndieCade, Adam Boyes while acknowledging that console exclusives might drive up sales of the consoles, he also said:
Right now exclusives are just a way for [console makers] to brag louder…
Nobody gains from exclusivity in perpetuity.
He then compared console manufacturers to car dealerships. Where exclusive title developers for the platform are high-end mechanics who are capable of “fine tuning” the title to the platform and bringing in real innovation. Although he said that he doesn’t see long-term exclusivity fitting with his analogy. “Developers now have the option to deliver on a huge number of platforms,” stated Boyes. “We want developers to be successful.”
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