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The pros and cons of console exclusivity.

There's a debate that often arises amongst gamers as to whether or not console exclusive games are such a good idea anymore, seeing as how many who purchase only one console will inevitably miss out on the exclusive games only available on another. It's also reasonable to argue that (in theory) many developers may be receiving only a fraction of the profits they might have earned had their game been a multiplat title, then again, without console exclusivity what purpose do multiple platforms like the PS4, Xbox One or Wii U hold other than being three consoles that perform slightly differently? The whole point of having a console exclusive game or franchise in the first place was to entice consumers by offering content that isn't available elsewhere, so if one console were capable of playing each and every game available then what function would the existence of multiple consoles serve?

There are certainly pros to having only one console, for one thing it would put an end to this ridiculous "console war" and may even bring gamers as a community closer together. Then again if console exclusivity were to become a thing of the past, and each and every console were capable of playing any game regardless of the publisher or developer, then consoles would become less about "content" and more about "features". In fact this is already happening to an extent, due to multiplat AAA titles being the "driving force" of the industry right now, now more than ever we're seeing console developers attempting to differentiate their platform from the competitions by offering unique features, such as content sharing, access to social/media networks, the implementation of Skype and TV functionality. Eventually though one console would become the dominant force, most likely through becoming a "all-in-one entertainment system" if that were to happen then there would be very little reason for other consoles to exist since they'd effectively be inferior products, thus the dominant console developer would gain complete and total monopoly over the distribution of any and all videogames released on console. But is that really healthy for the industry? Remember when Microsoft tried to implement draconian DRM, attempting to block the sales of used games and dictate when and how we play our games? Well if a console company were to have complete control over what content is available and how we access it then what stops such disastrous policies from actually being forced upon us? I'm in no way trying to demonize Microsoft, it's just that most gamers know about the Xbox One policy debacle so that helps better illustrate my point.

The quality of multiplat titles is also something that needs to taken into consideration because they are often held back from being quite as good as they could have been in order to perform well on each console. We know that certain exclusives like Uncharted or The Last Of Us wouldn't have been possible on a console with architecture inferior to that of the PS3, if these games were developed as multplat titles it's reasonable to assume they wouldn't have looked quite so good or played quite so well. It's the games that are developed with a single consoles architecture in mind that often perform better than those created to be multiplat titles.

When Sega first set about challenging Nintendo it was through their exclusive Sonic franchise that they were able to compete, but had Nintendo also had access to Sonic there would have been little reason if any for consumers to purchase a Sega genesis console. Games like The Last Of Us, Halo and Mario exist as proof that exclusive games are still viable in the current industry and can be incredibly successful if done well, but are these so called "system sellers" as necessary as they once were? for games like Mario or The Legend of Zelda is it even possible for them to remain unchanged if they were to appear on a non Nintendo system? Given the current industries obsession with mass appeal it's very likely that these franchises and many like them would undergo a drastic overhauls in order to make them more "appealing" and "accessible" this would probably be enough to bring a few newcomers to the franchise, but it would inevitably alienate many long time fans.

With the announcement of Valve's Steam Machine, and it's ability to play any and all games available on the Steam service through (SOS) aka the "Steam Operating System" many believe it has the potential to change the videogame console landscape, whether or not the Steam Machine will make a significant splash in the mainstream is debatable but in my opinion, due to it's PC like nature and digital content focus it's certainly worth taking notice of.

To paraphrase a comment made by Ben (Yahtzee) Croshaw, of Zero Punctuation fame "having a game exist to support a console is akin to having the words on a page exist solely to support the pages they were printed on"

I agree with the statement above, and I'm pretty sure that if you really take the time to think about it mostly everyone would come to agree. But it is worth remembering why exclusive games became a thing in the first place. You see books and videogames do have some similarities, printed words much like games on a disc require a platform which they can be experienced through before they can be enjoyed, the pages in a book are as much a platform as a console. Although the key difference being that books are capable of displaying any text and any story, where as games require a console with compatible architecture before they can be played, the main difference being is there's no need for separate companies to develop multiple versions of books as a platform because printed text is compatible with every kind of book, where as certain games can't be played on certain consoles due to incompatibility architecture.

Personally I'm not completely apposed to having a single console that can play any game, there really isn't so much need for exclusionary exclusivity anymore, but is the industry really ready for that yet? I mean if there was such a console would there be any need for competitors to release their own seeing as how their console would perform practically the same with the only real differences being the features they offer? Also if there was to be only one console then who would the developer be? Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, Valve? Heck it could even be from a completely new developer. But then who's to stop the company that develops the only console required to play games from implementing restrictive policies due to there being no direct competition?

So after all that being said, I'm honestly no closer to deciding whether not console exclusivity is so necessary any more. But what do you think? do we still need multiple consoles with exclusive content? or is it time now to do away with all that and just have one console capable of playing all games regardless of the publisher or developer?

As always thanks for reading my blog.

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FogLight1705d ago

Sadly, there will be exclusives in gaming industry, and if it will ever die then it is still WAY too early for the console exclusivity to die off.

Also, there is something that I would to address about certain... games that had "problems" related to exclusivity. Wasn't Bioshock 1 exclusive to Xbox 360 then it ported to PS3 later? Why was it an exclusive in the first place? Also, Bayonetta 2 incident when it was announced that it was announced for Wii U only. That was kind of a stab to the back to loyal fans who owned Sony and Microsoft's consoles. Nintendo did finance when Sega didn't so it is understandable but still, Bayonetta wasn't on Nintendo's consoles at all.

This should be added in "exclusive games" discussion. Not all games are perfect when they become exclusives.

zerocrossing1705d ago

The thing is though, games switching console exclusivity is pretty common, for example the Final Fantasy franchise for a long time was a Nintendo exclusive before Sony got a hold of it, so as much as I sympathise with those who are disappointed this is nothing new. Yes it's a shame for those who want to play Bayonetta 2 and can't, but neither Nintendo nor sega have any obligation to them.

Anyway thanks for commenting!

FogLight1705d ago (Edited 1705d ago )

That is another good example. I just kind of confused about Bioshock 1 supposed "exclusivity". On the other hand, Bayonetta 2 has a good reason for being Wii U exclusive. Along with Final Fantasy and Sony consoles (At least not anymore since XIII and XV are for Xbox consoles).

What about Kingdom Hearts III? It is odd that there won't be Kingdom Hearts I and II in both Xbox consoles, even HD ReMixes are exclusive to PS3 so Square Enix are kind of doing a mistake there in my opinion for people who never played Kingdom Hearts series. Xbox isn't even doing well in Japan.

memots1704d ago


Bioshock was on PC and i never played it on the 360, To me that is not exclusive. Beside exclusive is a word getting tossed around a lot and is starting to lose its shine.

Titanfall i am playing it on PC not sure how this would be the Console seller since anyone with a semi-decent pc would be able to play it.

gamejediben1704d ago

There is a solution for this dilemma and even mentioning this word can get me HUGE NEGATIVE BUBBLES but here goes:

It's called *whispers* Omnigaming... and its awesome.

It's really simple and cost effective if you do it right:

At the beginning of any given console generation you just choose the console that seems most appealing to you and buy that. Last gen, I chose the PS2 over the Dreamcast, Xbox and GameCube.

Then after 2 years, the prices on all the others will dramatically decline. In 2002 the Dreamcast was the cheapest as it had been discontinued by then. So I bought one for $40 and a bunch of the best games for fractions of the price they launched at.

Then a year later I got an Xbox and played a bunch of Halo and KotOR. Again, for much cheaper than they launched at. Finally I got a GameCube in 2004 and played through Zelda Wind Waker, Super Smash Bros, Rogue Squadron II and many others.

Patience is the key and soon you will have a huge backlog of awesome titles to play that you payed less than half price to buy.

As far as PC gaming goes, I build a new PC every 4 years for about $1,000 and I buy all the multiplatform games on steam sales for dirt cheap.

Omnigaming. It's the only way to play.

zerocrossing1704d ago

Thanks for commenting.

Well that's certainly a valid strategy, but it still doesn't answer the question as to whether or not console exclusive games are even necessary now.

gamejediben1704d ago

I kinda figured the necessity of console exclusives are self evident. I mean, each console developer creates their own unique environment and the competition between them is what continues to drive innovation in the industry.

And to put it bluntly, whether they are necessary or not is irrelevant because these huge companies got profits to generate... and profit's not gonna generate itself. No matter what we think, these companies are gonna keep making exclusives.

I'm just sayin', even though the fanboys might hate us, we omnigamers get the best of all worlds.

We are the PC gaming master race.
We are the brotherhood of the N.
We are the M$ hoard.
We are the Sony faithful.
And we still mourn the knights of Sega.

We will still be here when all of them are gone. And we will remember...For we are the Omnigamers.

DigitalRaptor1702d ago (Edited 1702d ago )

I'm sorry mate, but Omnigaming is the option that sees you submitting to every company and their games even if they may or may not appeal to you. It's just an excuse to put across the point that you're more of a "true gamer".

I do game on many platforms, but I don't consider myself an omnigamer, because I dedicate my time to certain platforms more than others. And in reality, you're only going to ever play a handful of each platform's games.

Here's a video that perfectly sums up omnigamers that brag about it:

gamejediben1702d ago

So let me get this straight: the guy who made this video claims Omnigamers own and play less games than single platform owners and also claims that us omnigamers are inferior to fanboys because we aren't devoted enough. That about right?

I personally own over 3,000 games, many are complete in box and I have been playing something like 25 or so games so far this year but I'm somehow less of a gamer because I don't submit to only one company and give all my loyalty to them...

I couldn't possibly disagree more. Just yesterday I was playing a session of Battlefield 3 on PC with the best graphics available and then switched to playing GameCube games on my Wii and this morning I'm playing Ni no Kuni on PS3. Compared to the average fanboy, I think I've got it good.

I don't think I'm a more "true" gamer but I do think I have more flexibility. For me, its all about freedom. I hate being confined to one thing. If I had the eat Chinese food every meal, I'd get sick of it. Variety is the spice of life and gaming is no exception.

DigitalRaptor1702d ago (Edited 1702d ago )

No dude, he's talking about the ones that brag about it as if it makes them more of a "true gamer" by default. Kind of a judgement on others who choose to only buy one or two systems for personal reasons.

A true gamer plays what they personally want (not what they think makes them a "better" gamer), and kudos to you. It seems that is what you do. Sorry if I what I was saying seemed offensive to you.

SnakeCQC1704d ago

consoles exclusives are important and need to exist. The best imho come from sony first party there simply arent games like heavy rain and god of war because pc devs etc wont take a chance on them.

zerocrossing1704d ago

Putting a stop to console exclusive games wouldn't mean that games like Heavy Rain or God of War would no longer get developed, it would just mean that they would end up on all platforms instead of just one, the big question I'm asking is, if that was the case would we really need multiple consoles to choose from? Since they would all function pretty much the same way par a few special features?

SnakeCQC1703d ago

sony funds those studios because they are exclucives and are unique games. Lets say around the time those studios began exclusives where hypothetically banned by law. DO you think the studios would still exist? and if you think they did do you honestly think they'd be as great as they are now(advanced motion capture tech, hollywood actors involvement)?

Bladesfist1703d ago

You make it sound like heavy rain and god of war are incredibly risky new concepts. Not even close. PC is the home of innovation.

SnakeCQC1703d ago

What games exist on pc that match heavy rain, god of war, uncharted, the last of us???? in terms of production values they are amazing. Ive been heavily pc gaming for the last 3 or so years and havent really come across anything that matches sony exclusives.

Pandamobile1703d ago

If production value is your only measure of innovation, then look no further than games like Battlefield 3-4, Crysis 3, Bioshock: Infinite, etc.

If you're actually looking for innovation in the console market, you're doing it wrong. Consoles are primarily mass-media devices. They are the mainstream.

Pandamobile1703d ago

Lol what? You think Heavy Rain and God of War are too risky for PC?!

God of War is about as safe as it gets for a publisher. Heavy Rain is a different story, but the amount of niche games on PC dwarfs consoles.

SnakeCQC1703d ago

name examples of sony exclusive games on the "master race" pc platform

Pandamobile1703d ago

What does that even mean?

Ravenor1703d ago

I think he might have some brain issues.

I enjoy God of War, Uncharted and The last of Us as much as the next guy. No one can say with a straight face that these games are lacking in the polish and quality department.

What everyone who plays and enjoys games from more than one platform is trying to say is that Sony exclusives are not great transcendental experiences no one has ever had before. They are NEVER that, not one. Please for the love of god, stop, STOP, STOP! Putting games like Uncharted or God of War on a pedestal, they are great games but they aren't innovative and they aren't wholly unique experiences.

Zizi1702d ago

In my opinion, exclusivity distinguishes one console over another. If exclusivity dies, that means that there are no differences anymore. So, what's the point of, for instance, choosing PlayStation 4 over Xbox One--if they are the same in terms of games?

Well, I guess that's all I can say about exclusivity.

Ghostdogg1700d ago

I think if exclusives were to be a thing of the past then it might indirectly hurt the industry. It would probably bring gamers closer together but of course there would be those that would talk about who has the better version of whatever game. I remember when Street Fighter 2 came out for Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo all I would hear is how their version was arcade perfect or how certain characters said their special moves. So getting rid of console exclusivity is probably not the right thing to do.