The usual selling point for consoles is the fact that each platform holder has a handful of first party games that are, and likely will forever be exclusive to those platforms. Sony has its Uncharted, God of War, Killzone et al, with Microsoft boasting Forza, Gears of War and Halo. They’re the sort of games that can get people to buy consoles. It seems that the third party exclusive is back on the rise.
It’s nothing new. In the 8-bit era, Nintendo was king of the 3rd party exclusives. They had fierce contracts that kept developers tethered to their hardware for years – making things difficult for SEGA’s Master System and Atari’s 7200. Developers stuck with Nintendo though, because they wanted access to the system’s millions of users.
When SEGA kicked off their 16 bit Genesis with much more favourable terms, the 3rd party market shifted considerably, and both their and Nintendo’s 16 bit machines were home to 3rd party exclusives and pseudo exclusives; the SNES got Street Fighter 2 Turbo, the Genesis got Street Fighter II: Special Championship Edition.
The next few gens also had a strong 3rd party exclusive market; and PlayStation was home to most of them; Metal Gear, Tekken, Tomb Raider. Microsoft’s Xbox got things like Knights of the Old Republic and Jade Empire.
In the last generation it shifted again, and most publishers stuck to playing it safe and releasing their games on both the 360 and the PS3: Grand Theft Auto, Bioshock, Assassin’s Creed, Battlefield,Elder Scrolls, Tomb Raider, Final Fantasy etc all made their way to both systems.
This generation though, we may be looking at a new rise in third party exclusives as backroom deals make way for console exclusive third party games. Rise of the Tomb Raider is increasingly looking like it’ll only be on the Xbox One, and Street Fighter V is almost certainly bound to PlayStation.
If this continues it’s possible that your very favourite games might be locked to a single system. How important are 3rd part exclusives? Would they make you purchase a system for a single game or series of games? I know that if Street Fighter wasn’t headed to PC, and I didn’t have a PlayStation, I’d have to get one.
Are there any games that if they became a third party exclusive would make you consider a new console – or do you think this sort of locking out by platform doesn’t really help anyone (except enrich developers at the cost of gamers)?
Last Updated: December 12, 2014
Alien Emperor Trevor
December 12, 2014 at 10:36
Street Figter V? No more making fun of games like Goat Sim.
Viking Of Divinity
December 12, 2014 at 10:40
It’s a neccessary Evil needed to help distinguish the Two Major Consoles. First Party developers can only make so many games in this bloated AAA industry, And creating a new IP is very Risky, The Genral Populous just want more of the same… So It makes perfect sense for Sony and MS to throw Money at existing franchises, with existing fan bases to make them exclusive to their own platform.
We may not like or agree with it, but it’s the reality we have to deal with.
December 12, 2014 at 10:40
From a commercial point of view, exclusives are stupid. For the developer that is. It takes one game to bomb as an exclusive on the XB or PS, and that developer is toast. If it is spread evenly over all platforms, sales will prevent even a crappy game from closing down a studio.
From the console’s perspective, you would have to make a hell of a lot of exclusives in order for a majority of people to defect, AND expect people to stay loyal. That is to say until the rival brings out even more spectacular exclusives.
So the answer is simple, boys and girls – Save your allowance money, and buy both when they are released 😀