Something, something Darkside


CRank: 5Score: 0

Buying up 3rd party exclusivity is a band aid on a severed artery

Before I begin let me apologise for the slightly grotesque imagery in the title, I recently finished God of War: Ascension and now I’m having trouble conjuring up tasteful metaphors. Ok, we’ve been hearing a lot of rumors suggesting Microsoft may be as much as “six months behind” as far as first party production of Xbox 3 content is concerned. Apparently their solution is “aggressively trying to sign exclusive games for Durango” (source ). I can’t be the only one that sees the problem with this practice, apart from coming across as a little spiteful (paying for content to NOT be on other platforms)?

It’s just not sustainable in the long term. There’s always been very little incentive for 3rd party developers to make exclusive games and, with a new console generation looming, now there’s even less. This will not only make the acquisition of permanent exclusivity nearly impossible, it will also make it VERY expensive. We have seen such costs in the current generation with Microsoft paying an eye-gouging amount of money to get GTA 4 on their console and that was only with timed-exclusive content. To go around buying up content from the few studios willing to sell their soul is an effective method in the short term. However it’s all money that should be going toward investing in first party studios, ensuring Xbox has enough exclusive content, not just now but for the foreseeable future too. Nobody wants a console that in few years time could see a dire lack of support from first parties, even if the multiplatform titles are there, to some it’s just not enough.

There’s a lot more reasons that 3rd party devs should stay platform agnostic in the coming generation, chief of which would be the low initial install base. Even after taking a ‘donation’ from a console manufacturer games will struggle to sell in the first years of a console’s life on only one platform, meaning that devs might not turn a profit and could even risk closure. Also when starting a new IP you want it to establish itself with as many gamers as possible and making the game exclusive basically cuts out a large chunk of your target audience. This must have been in the mind of Bungie when deciding to put Destiny out across all platforms.

To put it briefly, an investment in first party studios is better than a one-off payment to secure a 3rd party exclusive or timed-exclusive. Parading your cash around is a temporary fix for a problem that will eventually bleed through onto the face of your unsuspecting fans.

The story is too old to be commented.
dedicatedtogamers1816d ago

Nice blog. Especially with skyrocketing dev costs, 3rd party exclusives are gonna be rare.

"It’s just not sustainable in the long term."

Sadly, that doesn't matter. Last gen, Microsoft suckered people in during the first few years of the 360 with tons of awesome exclusives, both 1st party and 3rd party. Then they gradually backed off until we're left with annual installments of Forza, Halo, Gears, Fable, and nothing else. Yet, it worked for them.

Mark my word: unless they are absolutely stupid, Microsoft is going to go crazy at E3 this year and next year. They will announce quite a number of exclusives and timed exclusives. People will go "see?!?! I TOLD YOU!" Gamers who were doubting the Xbox brand will come around, and loyal Xbox fans will shout this "triumph" from the rooftops. Yet, that will be it. Their development support will gradually die off until only a few big-name games a year are left.

jessupj1814d ago


They suckered people in this gen doing what you mentioned, so why not do it again? To this day there are still fanboys defending them when they released 2 exclusives last year and 1 exclusive this year. It's uncomprehending. Sadly, I think the core fans will easily forgive MS for abandoning them, because MS is only going to do it again.

As a gamer, Sony has never let me down. While they're a company and still want to make a profit they've always focused on the games.

I hope next gen people support the company that's for the gamers.

Statix1816d ago

Hopefully, Microsoft will eventually realize that it's more economical in the long term to invest in first-party studios, and internally develop exclusive titles, rather than to pay 3rd-party studios to not make games on other platforms. That way, it'd be a win-win scenario for all parties, as Microsoft gets more exclusive games, 3rd-party studios get more reach, and Playstation gamers don't miss out on any games they would've otherwise been able to play.

EZMickey1815d ago

Its not entirely that black and white.

Paying for exclusivity in certain circumstances is advantageous. Where the new generation of consoles is concerned, it can attract a larger install base than it may have otherwise.

What some people consider "being suckered in", where marketing is concerned, is known as establishing a brand.

Quite honestly, the majority of earning and spending video game consumers are bought by companies this way. Its a valid and practical strategy and one would be foolish to think it a permanent one.

colonel1791814d ago

I have a feeling that Microsoft will make an announcement that will take everybody off guard regarding games. Either is Final Fantasy Versus XIII coming to next Xbox or a big game (like GTA) being timed exclusive. This is the start of a generation and I don't see how Microsoft will not play as dirty as they always have.

jessupj1814d ago

Their dirty tricks scare me a little.

As long as Sony is successful and has plenty of money to invest in us gamers I don't mind so much.