Let's talk Halo.

First released in 2001 as an Xbox launch title, Halo: Combat Evolved was a huge hit and has been cited by more than one person as the secret to the Xbox's success. First-person shooters always do well, and Halo was no exception. There was, however, a catch. Halo CE was an Xbox exclusive. Getting a piece of one of the best sci-fi adventures in years meant dropping $299 on a brand new shiny Xbox.

And you know what? That's bulls***.

Ever since the dawn of gaming, console exclusives have been a constant pain in our collective rears. Mario doesn't appear outside Nintendo systems. Master Chief goes only with Microsoft products. Ratchet & Clank's adventures are confined to consoles made by Sony. If you want to experience all of these great series, well, that's too bad. You have the equally unattractive options of shelling out to buy all three consoles or saving your money and missing out. It's such a shame that so many gamers don't get to experience a series just because it's on a system which they don't have. Besides, appearing on only one console doesn't help a game. It's a corporate f*** you.


The sad part is that console exclusives work. Killer apps sell hardware. Who knows how many people bought an Xbox 360 only for Halo 3? Heck, the only reason I still keep my Wii is for Super Mario Galaxy. The Big Three have a death grip on us, and they know it.

Of course, gamers aren't the only ones getting screwed over. Developers usually get the short end of the stick in terms of lost revenue. This wasn't such a huge deal back in the days of small development teams, but it's practically criminal today. Making games has ballooned into a million-dollar enterprise, and the simple fact of the matter is that many games do not make a lot of money. The average game costs $15 million to make. Some games don't even recoup that. These days, developers and publishers alike are always looking for ways to make more money off their games (see EA's "Cerberus Network" shenanigans with Mass Effect 2). Having their games confined to a single system is a huge financial burden that overburdened developers shouldn't have to shoulder.

She doesn't put up with any shenanigans.

Console exclusives are really a terrible practice, and the three companies are not above exploiting it. Gamers lose out and developers lose out. The only winners are the hardware companies. But, do they really need more money? Consoles will still sell without exclusives. Gamers are dedicated to their hobby, and they'll still buy consoles.

So, my request to Nintendo/Microsoft/Sony is simple. No more exclusives. I understand that they'll need some kind of victory over each other for corporate cheerleading, but there are other ways. Devil May Cry set a great example by making its special edition available only to PS3 owners. Gabe Newell, the head of Valve who is notorious for his irrational hatred of all things Sony, finally gave up at E3 and admitted that Portal 2 will be coming to the PS3. Things like that show how the industry is making real progress away from immature rivalries. There's certainly hope for the future.

Console exlcusives are at best a hinderance, and at worst an financial punch in the gut. They're bad for everyone. Well, everyone except for the Big Three, but the only loyalty I owe Microsoft is a middle finger for bricking my Xbox outside the warranty. In the end, exclusives need to go. Give 'em the boot.

Like so.