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Launch Retail Exclusives: Minor Role

If you have been on N4G for more than five minutes you would realise there is a constant war that has been brewing since the dawn of time. This war has really amplified with the release of two new systems coming sometime in November. I keep seeing N4G users and gaming journalists compare the PS4 launch titles with the Xbox One launch titles and which one you should get. Except this comparison has one fundamental flaw. It ignores the third party (non-exclusive) games.

I am an advocate for exclusives selling systems. We usually see articles about how the days of the exclusive games are over because of the rise of Call of Duty and other such third party games, which has never made any real sense to me. For example you buy X system over another because X has, in your eyes, better exclusive games or content.

But at launch things are vastly different as exclusives retail games are usually in the minority. Each exclusive retail game isn’t just competing against their equal on the other side of the fence. They are also competing with the third party game. For example Ryse/Dead Island/Forza isn’t just competing with Killzone/Knack/Drive Club. Each game is competing against Ghosts, Battlefield 4, Black Flag……. What I have noticed is that users and journalists compare (for argument sake) Dead Island and Knack or Killzone and Ryse and use that comparison as a reason why you should go for X system over Y. That isn’t entirely a true comparison as you should add the third party element into that comparison

Launch systems are not cheap. The PS4, here in the UK, cost £349 which then goes up to £400 with a game. The Xbox One is even more expensive with it costing £429 (comes with FIFA for the pre-order bundle) or another game for over £470. This is not cheap and this cost affects game sales across the board. There isn’t going to be a huge amount of people are able or want to buy more than one game at launch. Games are not cheap. The big three know this and are showing their understanding by their big push for indie developers. Indie games are relatively cheap and can be very important for a launch. When you have completed or bored of X game which you just shelled out £400+ just so you can play it right now, another game at £50 seems/and is a bit steep. Indie developers (and to an extent F2P) provide an alternative option to a consumer that is less taxing to their wallets. Yet I rarely see this indie impact being discussed here on N4G. Sony’s indie focused conference, at Gamescom, was often poo-poohed and seen as a weakness, yet it should be seen as a strength. They gave a reason to people to choose a PS4 version over an Xbox One version of a third party game. They were basically saying you can by X game from Y company but buy our version as you can also buy Z games without feeling the pinch.

It is annoying to see people compare two systems saying X has a better line up than Y when in fact that doesn’t really matter as the more anticipated games are third party (i.e. on both systems). What both Microsoft and Sony have done is create a small but broad range of titles just to fill in the gaps that are left by the third party. Knack is the more child friendly platform game, Forza is the more sim style racing game, Killzone is the sci-fi shooter and Ryse is the hack and slash. These games don’t appeal on a mass market scale (more of a case can be made for Killzone because it is an FPS). At the end of the day system buyers are more likely to get Battlefield, Call of Duty, Watchdog and Assassin’s Creed than any other first party game because these games have more mass market appeal.

So how do people choice a system/which version to buy when the exclusives are just filling the gaps? It is fundamentally down to a couple of things; cost, past history, value for money and services (which also is involved in value for money). The vast majority of people will look at these factors in deciding which version of a third party game to get. It isn’t really about what or how many retail exclusive are available at launch (that does come into a play but in a much smaller way than publications and users think). It boils down to value for money (both short and long term).

Thoughts are much appreciated.

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HammadTheBeast1733d ago

The two major games for each system (Titanfall and Second Son) aren't even at launch.

And surprisingly, both companies haven't revealed what their A-team is working on, Naughty Dog/SSM/Media Molecule, and Black Tusk still haven't shown what their working on.

admiralvic1733d ago

Well the PS4 has Killzone, which is just as much a major game as Second Son. Especially since I will probably get more gameplay out of it (no doubt with the free map packs) than Second Son anyway.

Skips1733d ago (Edited 1733d ago )

Pretty much... Every single studio from Sony has been confirmed to be working on exclusives for PS4. Granted, lots of the exclusives Sony has shown has been from 3rd party/indie, so I know for certain we don't even know a fraction of the exclusives they have planned for PS4. Here's link from Neogaf that shows what Sony might have in store...

And on MS's side, we got a little tease about their Black Tusk game, and we've still yet to learn what MS's "Kids and Lifestyle Entertainment" studio, and "Playful Learning" studio is working on. Or even Soho Productions (Devs of Kinect Sesame Street TV)...

Anyways, I still have a lot of exclusives to play on PS3... lol

So far, I've played GOW Ascension, Ni No Kuni, Sly 4, The Last Of Us, Tales Of Xillia, and I'm about to pick up Dragon's Crown... Then comes Puppeteer, Beyond Two Souls, and Gran Tursmo 6. Not sure how everything's going on the green side of things when it comes to exclusives, but I got no shortage here. lol

One thing we all know for certain is, if Sony saved just two games, (Gran Turismo 6, and The Last Of Us for PS4 launch). X console vs. Y console launch games wouldn't even be a debate.

DigitalRaptor1732d ago (Edited 1732d ago )

This is what I don't get. Killzone: Shadow Fall is as big, feature rich and resonant as a game like Crysis. Yet, it's a shitty game to a certain number of people and something to actually laugh at, supposedly.

Killzone is a blockbuster. DriveClub is a new IP that already looks great and it's already shown a vast visual upgrade since E3, still with 3 months until it is pushed out the door.

A certain bunch on here are banking on a launch lineup to determine the superiority of a system over its entire life cycle and also acting as though the XB1 is the only system going to be getting third party exclusives. Never a good idea as a launch lineup has never indicated the rest of the games that come out over a system's lifespan.

They are also making the mistake of assuming that an indie game or a free-to-play game cannot provide a better experience than a AAA production, or equal it.

These guys don't know what Microsoft really has planned over the long-term as far as games are concerned, but we can look at a track record to make judgements, and we know for a fact that every single one of Sony's first party as well as second and third party development houses are making exclusives for them.

That sort of thing is easy for them to ignore as they're only looking what's directly in front of them and not ahead. Got to consider the long haul otherwise what are you really trying to argue?

DEATHxTHExKIDx1733d ago

Im w8ing till Infamous:SS comes out to get a PS4. Till then theres a lot of current gen games I want to play this year and next year.

zerocrossing1733d ago

My thoughts?

I guess focus tends solely to be set on console exclusives due to them being what typically sets two consoles apart (in the past at least) 3rd party titles aren't usually much of a decisive factor in console choices due to them being out on either console anyway, indie games on the other hand are a brand new factor to be taken into consideration, with both Sony and MS taking a different approach to how they handle indie games it'll be interesting to see how much of an impact it they actually make.

But honestly, when all is said and done, it really comes down to which company you happen to be a fan of (as per usual) as many gamers are willing to pass up interesting exclusives due to them being only available on the competitions platform, and with indie games often not even being taken into consideration during a console purchase, I'm really not sure how much impact indie games will make when it comes console sales.

iceman061732d ago

I agree. You come for the exclusives, and you stay for the promise of the company in delivering further exclusives. You enjoy the multiplatform games and indies along the way. If there are exclusives on another console, and you have the disposable income, you pick up the other and play those exclusives. At the end of the day, there will always be console allegiances due to favoring one's exclusives over the other. That doesn't diminish the other console's quality, IMO, it just attempts to validate your purchase and your individual experience.

trafalger1732d ago (Edited 1732d ago )

1) a launch line-up never really determines the fate of the system. they are usually bought solely by the hardcore crowd. many could be loyal fans but very few will buy either a ps4 or xbone based on its current line-ups alone.

2) exclusives do matter to a degree. they define a system. why many sony fans are arguing about the line-up on the xbone is m$ has a history of slowly pulling back on game support during the later years. so they see the ps4 as a long term investment. that's a fair point. however each generation is different. m$ pulled out of the original xbox just after 4 years. it was a sinking ship financially. on paper it was a better product but the ps2 had the market which means it had the games people wanted and earlier. the x360 on the other hand was a huge leap forward for m$. they got japan on there side with mainstream support like tekken, virtua fighter and final fantasy. tehy tried to moneyhat titles like lost oddyssey but japan is a unique market who seem very xenophobic when it comes to gaming. needless to say they got developers to support the xbox with key titles, which is huge over the original. the x360 also created parity with most 3rd party titles. that is why the ps3 had a hard time controlling the market like they did with the ps2. most software sold are not exclusives, its those multi-plat games.

3) an uphill battle m$ faces with the xbone is pricing and proving kinect is finally warranted. this is where the launch may hurt m$ since it will take time to prove the value in kinect.

4) sony knows the indie scene is where innovation leads. its far less risky taking chances on smaller projects. m$ will become aggressive in that market too and they will both try and get some sort of exclusive deals. sony already has a pub fund which means they will help them financially and in return require exclusivity either fully or timed. one big title is the witness which is a timed exclusive on the ps4. m$ has changed its indie policies and have leveled the playing field so it will be interesting to see what happens.

5) m$ is not afraid of spending money. they will moneyhat games but they should really try and get the ip. titanfall is getting the most hype out of every game announced. m$ will try and get a partnership to lock it down and keep it from coming to the ps4. who knows if they will succeed but they should really be trying to secure the ip. i think any non-1st party game should be playable on as many systems but this is how they all do business. capcom confirmed dead rising 3 will remain a xbone game. thats what m$ needs to confirm with its audience, that the xbone is not going to become like the x360 with timed exclusives. those are only short term gains. owning the rights to these ip's holds more long term gains. but nobody knows how successful any of these new ip's will be. so its a risk either way.

so far the ps4 has the upper hand in many categories but ironically enough it isn't the games. which is why sony fanboys are reluctant to talk about games and will concentrate there efforts on everything outside of the games right now. fanboys are always shifting the goalposts to serve there own interests.

as for which version to buy? i think when it comes to online gaming m$ will still lead the pack. they have more investment in that area. sony has said that is why they are now charging for online play with the ps4. they want to use that money to expand and improve the playststion network. however the ps4 could show the system is more powerful with multi-plat games. i doubt it will be that big of a gap and in reality how much does that really matter? it didn't seem to help the original xbox much and it didn't seem to matter that the ps3 was more powerful. besides, if you really care about that youd be playing them on the pc if you can.

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