Are Exclusive Games As Important Now As They Were In Past?

Note: [All opinions expressed herein are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of GamerXChange]

I remember when I was younger exclusive games were all the rage, you were either in the Mario camp or the Sonic The Hedgehog camp, I resided in the Sonic camp, I was a true sucker for “Blast Processing”, whatever that was…I’ve still never figured it out, but it sounded cool. Even though the Super Nintendo eventually outsold the Sega Genesis, there was a time when the Genesis was actually doing better and one of the reasons for this was the exclusives, you could make a case for the incredible advertising Sega was doing at the time, Sega does, what NintenDONT is pure brilliance. Now days it seems that people use exclusives to defend their preferred console, but I personally think the day of the exclusive game actually being as relevant as in the past, is over.

Don’t get me wrong, I still think exclusives are somewhat important but I don’t feel like they carry the same weight as in the past. I believe that currently each console has maybe two or three marketable exclusives that are even worth talking about, from Nintendo you have Mario, Zelda and probably Metroid, from Sony you have Uncharted, God Of War and Gran Turismo and from Microsoft you have Halo, Gears Of War and the Forza Motorsport series. Those are the exclusives that do the best for their respective consoles. I think that pretty much every other exclusive is “nice” but not really something worth owning a particular console for. I believe this generation is all about third-party multiplatform games, the day of the exclusive being the main reason to own a console are at an end, these companies are now going out of their way to prove that multiplatform games are better on their particular console.

All you have to do is look at recent E3’s to see this trend, although it isn’t completely new. Earlier I was talking about the Sega Genesis versus the Super Nintendo, well for a pre teen or teenager it is my opinion that at the time that Sonic The Hedgehog 2 came out, the Sega Genesis was definitely the “cool” console to own, but it wasn’t just about Sonic. The Sega Genesis offered a better experience with a new violent game called Mortal Kombat, you see the Genesis version had blood and gore and the Super Nintendo version did not. This was pretty much the start of one company getting the better product, even though the game itself was multiplatform, I’m not sure if Sega paid extra for this, or if it was something they just allowed, either way it was a very smart move on their part and gave Sega a leg up in the competition for a little while.

We live in the day and age where everything old is new again, things I grew up with like Transformers, GI-Joe and Batman are all being remade. People revisit ideas that worked in the past in an attempt to capitalize on something that was popular in the past, essentially hoping that lightning strikes twice and they can make some money. Obviously Nintendo relies a lot on their first party games, or they have in the past, but they desperately are reaching out for third-party support. They are so keen on getting this support, that they are going to be the first company releasing a new console, which is slated to come out sometime next year. Nintendo could have easily shown some more first party titles that will be available to the Wii U, but they chose to focus on third-party games that are multiplatform, Nintendo wants to prove to people that they have a viable console for those types of games, the biggest talk following the Wii U’s announcement at E3 was that they would have Assassins Creed, Batman Arkham City and Darksiders 2.

Nintendo isn’t the only company trying to convince people that multiplatform titles are not only on their console, but better on their console. Sony shelled out big money to get exclusive content first on Battlefield 3, this was in response to Microsoft paying up for exclusive rights to the Call Of Duty map packs. If you have an Xbox 360, you can get the Call Of Duty maps one full month in advance of the competitors, this is a huge bonus because millions of people play Call Of Duty and getting content first is something that could sway a person who owned all the consoles to buy the Xbox 360 version. Sony also paid out to Ubisoft in order to get a full copy of the first Assassins Creed on the same Blu-Ray as the new Assassins Creed Revelations. Microsoft countered by locking up first dibs on The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim. So if you own an Xbox 360 you’ll get the option to buy DLC one full month ahead of the competition. These little moves are like a game of chess, but it’s clear the big three game companies are wanting to prove how much better multiplatform titles are on their particular console.

All you have to do is look at numbers to see why this is happening, the biggest selling games on both the PS3 and Xbox 360 are Call Of Duty titles, but Grand Theft Auto isn’t far behind. We’ve actually seen less exclusives this year from Microsoft and Nintendo than in any other year this generation, Yet the Xbox 360 is still selling like crazy and people in North America are pre-ordering games like Modern Warfare 3, Battlefield 3, Skyrim, and Batman Arkham City at a record setting pace. Sony on the other hand has touted their long list of exclusive titles, that probably were very expensive to make, and have seen very little in the way of sales for 80% of those games, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Sony follow suit a bit and try to get some more exclusive content on multiplatform games and scale back their exclusives a tad bit. It only makes sense from a business standpoint to invest what is going to make your company the most money, while spending the least amount of money. I’m sure it costs less to lock in something exclusive for a bit then to produce and market an exclusive game, especially in this economy. We have seen these companies take less and less risk.

I think at the end of the day exclusives is something that fanboys fight about on forums, it’s not really what pushes consoles anymore. People just want to be able to play great titles on their preferred console. The future of gaming is going to look vastly different in my opinion, I think third-party exclusives are done and we will see people locking down exclusive content on multiplatform games. Exclusive games are fun to talk up, but at the end of the day they rarely deliver what we expect or hype up and definitely aren’t going to be as important as some of these key third-party games. Embrace the future, it’s already here.

One Response to “Are Exclusive Games As Important Now As They Were In Past?”

  1. Nice article. It’s funny how I can’t just snap off the exclusive titles for Playstation and Xbox, but Nintendo stays tried and true with all of theirs. They have characters that will stand the test of time, and also ones that really show off the atmosphere of what they strive to do with their games. And you know, those characters LOOK like exclusives. Look like mascots or something that will represent the console. Master Chief barely looks like a mascot… Nathan Drake looks like a human… Crash Bandicoot looked like one, but…
    Guess I’ll just file one more concept under nostalgia and move on with my life.

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