Payoffs have existed in all industries for a very very long time. You can't argue they exist, but do they do any good for the end user?
The most recent gaming related payoff centered around Microsoft and Rockstar, with a $50 million purse headed to the developer for the exclusive rights to publish two episodic packs for Grand Theft Auto IV for the Xbox 360. Many can argue this is good for gamers, but Loot Ninja disagrees.
While I'm sure Rockstar could put the money to good use, developers should never show favor to one side of a multiplatform game. It they are going to favor one console over another they should just make it exclusive and make the best game possible. No one wants to play a substandard version of any game.
Since they can't get anything through reputation and trust, they have to buy their way through or financially infiltrate everything.
Microsoft did not pay off Paramount or Dreamworks, they don't need to they have their download service as backup. Microsoft's download and the most successful yet, they have no motives to pay anyone off.
Why do PS3 fanboys search and search and think and think of reasons why PS3 games run like crap compared to their 360 counterpart, face it you wasted $600 on an inferior machine which receives inferior games.
Killzone 2 looks average, but all of you are drooling. If you want to see real next-gen go look at Gears of War screens or Mass Effect screens from the campaign, that is what a high production value game should look like. For the money they have invested on Killzone 2 it should look photo real, but it doesn't even come close, much less pass Gears. They won't even break even on that game ever!
Hey douche bag below me: Come back when you have real proof Microsoft paid anyone. Their download service doesn't depend upon either format. If Microsoft did fork out the cash I hope Blu-Ray dies and the PS3 dies with them. HD-DVD for the win this holiday season, there is no denying that now. Quit your crying.
So you don't think Sony pays Konami and Square to keep MGS and FF exclusive on the PS3? How naive are you? It's part of the game.
Dirty politicians have been using payoff strategies for decades to stay ahead or to gain a lead, why would MS, be any different? Its an effective and arguably underhanded tactic but in the end its business.
MS wants to gain market share this generation, and the most direct way is to pump money into the process. Perhaps other companies do this too, but MS looks to be one of the most overt cases in a long time.
Is it better for the industry? Depends on what your outlook is. I could care less if a game on the PS3 goes to another console, indeed, I prefer for a good gaming experience to be available to all people who share my hobby regardless of the system they own. Some people like bragging rights over "exclusives", so they will say that this sort of activity is just fine.
The gaming industry has proven itself to be very lucrative, and as such this is just the beginning of this sort of thing. Get used to this, I am sure this isn't the last we will see of this type of story.