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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.
Competition creates better games to say exclusives should go is ludicrous. The quality of games we have are because of this constant competition plus you are asking for developers who may specialize in one console just to start making a bigger investment by making a mutiplatform game. Do you think Uncharted would have been as polished if it had been multiplatformed, what about Ratchet,God of War,Zelda, all these games help define the system and make them great yes it sucks that some people may not experience some games but the trade off is their excusives are of even greater importance.Would developers even try if there were no competition?
I understand the multiplatform issue, but that can be overcome with a little extra budget and time. However, not every game gets this, so you do raise a valid point.
Thou I do agree that it would be nice if every gamer could experience every game
But then who will feed the fanboys?
Good blog my friend.
I agree. It sucks that many gamers cant experience all great games, but a life without exclusives will never happen. Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo will keep paying money to keep games exclusive to get the edge over their competitors. And there are other problems like system capabilities, like how God of War 3 would have had many problems being made for 360 because of its size and scope, maybe even impossible. At first I only had a PS3, which luckily was the best with exclusives (in my opinion please dont yell at me). Now i have all 3 systems, and its really great being able to experience all the awesome games out there.
This is a business decision and a good one at that. halo is on xbox and its fun, if you want that then get an xbox. however infamous and demons souls, littlebigplanet, on the ps3. you want mario, samus? nintendo! If you can only afford one system, pick the one with the exclusives you want the most! its not a F U its an important part of game business! you want no more exclusives then all 3 major companies need to merge and make one console. Now you're dreaming my friend
No actually there need to be more console exclusives. Yes I said it more console exclusives. Think about it, what is really best for the industry? In a world of no exclusives, there would be no need to buy another console which means inevitably there would end up one console to rule them all. This would in turn lead to a monopoly in which pretty much every developer is in fact a company for that console maker.
Once a console manufacturer has claimed the throne as king they then get to decide prices for everything...Online play, game prices, console prices, DLC, peripherals, accessories, would all be priced to benefit that manufacturer.
Console exclusives mean that consumers who want to play a game have to purchase another system, which has other exclusives that they may not have played and bought, which in turn puts more money into the industry.
There will always be multi-platform games, but more exclusives only leads to more competition which leads to better games in the end...
Well, you all make interesting points. Now, if I may...
I don't support a one-console future. As nice as it would seem, the competition does this industry good. With three major manufacturers, they are more likely to push themselves to do better. As for how to keep that competition without console exclusives, the Big Three could focus on what extra experiences their console offers (e.g. Xbox Live Primetime, Home, Wii Ware, etc).
I don't know if every exclusive should go. I'm not that smart. But does a game only limits itself by appearing on a single platform. Is Halo any better because PS3 owners can't play it? Is it really fair to say to gamers, "Sorry, you can't enjoy LittleBigPlanet because you bought an Xbox"?
Other than that, you all raise valid points. Thanks for reading, and thanks to Annette for picking this blog.
I completely agree!! Wholeheartedly.
Exclusivity itself lends nothing to overall quality of the game, and I'm sick of people getting so excited about exclusive this and exclusive that on their console of choice. Can't we all just share and share alike?
I can't speak for other developers, but most of the Playstation exclusives are developed by studios that are wholly or partially owned by Sony. I believe Nintendo has its own studios as well. To ask Sony studios to cut a royalty check to Microsoft for selling games on their platform is ludicrous. It will never happen.
IMHO, there's nothing wrong with console makers providing incentive for gamers to choose their console by making exclusive games. What I dint understand us why or how third party developers like Valve or EA choose to publish on only one platform. Why limit your market? How much are they paying you and is it worth cutting your potential market in half?
At some point, I'll more than likely own all 3 consoles and play all of those games. I'm just waiting for a Halo Collection or a Super Mario Collection and I'm in.
Wow, someone finally agrees with me. And I must give you uber props for having a Foamy avatar.
Yeah, Valve's rabid PS3 hate is stupid and irrational. I don't really expect first party exclusives to stop, but I would really love to see some great third party exclusives like LittleBigPlanet and Heavy Rain make their way to the Xbox.
I understand why they do it but it still is a bummer for someone like me who can't afford to get every new console. I have a xbox 360 and a ps2. I can't shell out for a new ps3 now and a Wii. Maybe some day. In the mean time there are plenty of great games still out there to play.
I know. I would buy a PS3 in a heartbeat if I had the cash.
First off I would like to say, console exclusives should be viewed as inventions. After all it was invented by someone. Now there is the possibility of using it on different consoles to make more money, but if it's by the company itself, say Mario for Nintendo, they may rather keep Mario to be a big hit for that system and have more people buy their systems, rather then other competing consoles. So it all depends on who creates the characters and if they work for a certain gaming company or just want to be rich.
Personally, I don't find anything wrong with console exclusives seeing as it is necessary for "The Big Three" to have some in order to outsell the competition. It does suck wanting what you can't have due to having to buy a whole new system. However, if all game's were available on all console's some game's wouldn't work out particularly game's on the Wii. How are you going to play Super Mario Galaxy on the Xbox or PS3. Even then the Wii wouldn't be able to handle other game's such as Fallout 3. What i'm sensing that you want is a one console future which is a different subject entirely.
Even though we might not see eye to eye on this, good blog.