Editorial: Exclusivity

Good day LusiReaders! In the current generation of gaming console exclusivity has become more and more widespread. Now it seems that not one major game release can go by without something, be it an item, mission, or extra character, exclusive to either the PC/360/PS3. Before we pass judgement on exclusivity, let us first look at the good, the bad, and the ugly sides of it.

SoulCalibur V Ezio Screenshot
Speaking of exclusive characters….

The Good

Exclusivity can be a good thing, and before you go blasting me in the comments here me out. Let us use the example of many fighting games having console character exclusives, in Soul Calibur IV gamers on the XBox 360 were given the console exclusive character Yoda, while PlayStation 3 owners were given Darth Vader. This idea at the time seemed really cool. It gave console owners a feeling of being in an exclusive club only other similar console owners could be in. It gave them pride to own a 360/PS3. The choices even fit the console design as well with Yoda’s color plate of white/green and Darth Vaders being red/black. Exclusivity gives some gamers a better reason to pick one game system over the other. But that idea, while very nice and good looking on paper, can turn very bad and sour.

The Bad, and The Ugly

Continuing with the Soul Calibur IV example, after about a year or so of Yoda/Darth Vader being console exclusive Namco finally did away with the exclusivity and put Yoda on the PS3 and Vader on the 360. This made all the unhappy Soul Calibur fanboys, it also sparked a lot of talk in the industry about timed exclusivity. For those who do not know, timed exclusivity is when one company is paid by a first party developer ie. Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft, to have content exclusive to their console, otherwise known as exclusive DLC. Now the way Namco handled the Yoda/Vader exclusivity was not the best, but they are not the worst at dealing with it, a couple other companies are. As much as I love The Elder Scrolls and Fallout series Bethesda is one of those companies that just handles exclusive DLC completely wrong.

The Pitt is for lovers…

First they release the DLC on the 360, ok timed exclusives that is ok for now, then it takes them between three to six months to bring DLC to the PC, then it takes over a YEAR to bring it to the PlayStation 3.I understand taking time to fix bugs or whatever you need to do, but over a year! The amount of time a console gets to have exclusive content makes no sense at all, especially when it is major story DLC which happens in the case of the Fallout and Elder Scrolls series. A third of the player base is missing out on story content because of one or two companies paying another to keep it off the other console. What is the point in that, the company behind the DLC could be making even more money if they would come out on all three consoles simultaneously. Along the same lines as timed exclusives, day one DLC seems to be a horrible love child of exclusives and money mongering. Day one DLC is almost a slap in the face to every gamer who purchases a game on the day it releases.

In conclusion, exclusivity is probably not the best idea the industry has come up with in the most recent console cycle. With fractured player bases and timed exclusivity deals what could have been an interesting and innovative way of playing games was quickly and far too easily corrupted by wealth and greed. However there are companies that do the exclusivity and simultaneous release dance quite well. Square Enix had a lot of exclusive in game content for Final Fantasy XIII-2 when it launched, and none of it was story content. All FFXIII-2 DLC story content was released on the same day for both consoles, and then over a short period of time the non-story exclusive content was released on all consoles. For once this generation Square Enix gets something right. Why cannot all companies do that? Why does it have to be a Japanese company setting the example for the west? EA, Bethesda, and Activision could learn a thing or two if they took a leaf from Square’s book.

But what do you think readers? Is this exclusivity truly a bad thing? Is there something to be gained by exclusivity? Should there be more or less exclusivity? Let me know in the comments.

7 comments

  1. “Good day LusiReaders! In the current generation of gaming console exclusivity has become more and more widespread.”

    A silly claim. In previous generations console exclusivity was comprised of the games themselves, rather than some crappy horse armour…

  2. I don’t believe there is any good reason to have exclusive content on a system. This may be because I own a PS3 and generally have to wait for extra content (if I get it at all), but I want to chat to my friends at work about it.

    We don’t all own the same system, so by the time the content filters down to the last system, the rest have moved on to something new.

  3. The exclusive content of this generation is invariably content that I seldom want and never miss.

  4. I would probably have close to a dozen vouchers for extra launch content that I have never even bothered to redeem.

  5. This is the generation that has had less console exclusivity content if you ask me. Guess you had to be alive for the whole “Genesis does what Nintendon’t” affair. Kids tha grew up with Nintendo and those who grew up with Sega had completely different gaming childhoods.

    On a completely unrelated note, it freaking scares me how much the concept of DLC has permeated the industry. Freaking kids that started gaming this generation don’t even know (or probably care) about those times where games used to ship finished. I was listening to some kids talking about what version of DMC3 to get or something for their retrogaming (yeah, cause PS2 is retrogaming now…geez) and one dude goes “You should totally get the Special Edition man, it has all the DLC already on the disc”. It scares me what the industry will do once everyone that knows how stuff used to be stops gaming, dies or just won’t give a fuck anymore.

  6. @Epy:

    ‘Guess you had to be alive for the whole “Genesis does what Nintendon’t” affair. Kids tha grew up with Nintendo and those who grew up with Sega had completely different gaming childhoods.’

    Yup. I had a Super Nintendo, and my neighbour had a Genesis. Both systems had completely different games, and there was virtually no chance that something available for one system was also available for the other. Only a VERY small selection of games made it to both platforms (mostly fighters). By and large, there was no crossover to speak of.

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