In the past, goliaths of the gaming industry like Sony and Microsoft loved to pitch their stable of “exclusive” titles. Fans reveled at the chance to lord these games over others who didn’t own the same console. These games helped move units, and were used as deal breakers when gamers debated between buying one console or another. But are they still relevant?
For better or worse, consoles are no longer sold solely on the premise that you can play fun games, they have become media hubs. Apps, online features, and peripherals like the Kinect have changed the playing field. So do we still need exclusive games as well? With everything else that is tacked onto consoles, are games even our biggest worry anymore? This paradigm shift began to rear its head last gen, where paying subscription fees for services like Xbox Live, in order to access other services such as Netflix became a dealbreaker.
This generation we have seen less exclusive titles and more exclusive DLC, leaving some gamers a bit upset. This seems less like a marketing tactic, and to some, seems more like a punishment. One example is the recent outcry from Bungie fans, who feel “abandoned” as a result of their timed exclusive deals with Sony.
Personally, exclusives played absolutely no part in my decision for this gen. I chose to go with the PS4 because at the beginning of the “Next Gen” launch cycle, it seemed to offer quality gameplay at a competitive price point. They seem to have remedied their mistakes from the PS3’s launch, delivering a hefty over priced piece of machinery without an impressive opening stable of games, and it seems that those are the very mistakes Microsoft made this gen. Perhaps if all exclusives were done away with, console manufacturers would be forced to deliver us the best deal for our money, and the most accessible for devs to create games for.
Is exclusive becoming just that? Exclusive? Keeping gamers at odds rather than actually adding value to a console? Should Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony focus on building more fun, accessible (both on a development level and consumer level) consoles, rather than depending on nostalgia inducing games or exclusives to make sales?