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.
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.
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.