On Monday morning, Microsoft made the surprise announcement that "Final Fantasy XIII", formerly a Sony Playstation 3 exclusive, would be available day and date for Xbox 360 in North America and Europe.
It was possibly the biggest "surprise" announcement at the E3 Business & Media Summit in Los Angeles, but it also signifies another exclusive title shifting camps since the next generation of consoles were announced back in 2005.
"Assassin's Creed", "Grand Theft Auto IV", "Devil May Cry 4", "Ace Combat 6", "Virtua Fighter 4", "Resident Evil 5"* are all titles that Microsoft has secured over time, bringing once hyped "only-on-Playstation" franchises to their console.
Multi-platform development seems like the only answer large publishers can come up with now that budgets on their major titles are soaring to unbelieveable heights. Yet, as many were sure that Final Fantasy XIII would never jump ship and assume multi-platform status, the announcement shouldn't really surprise after the Game Developers Conference announcement that any game created using Crystal Tools could be ported easily to PC and 360.
To be fair, Sony has attempted to turn the tables and seek prior Microsoft exclusives but without the same impact. Timed exclusivity of Unreal Tournament 3 and Haze have not influenced hardware sales, instead being met with mixed reception by critics. Although "Bioshock" has recently been released from Microsoft exclusivity, it was no where to be seen during the Sony Press Conference. As last year's near unanimous Game of the Year, it would have been impressive to highlight some of the new features for the PS3 version, yet Sony didn't take the opportunity to do so.
The only major exclusive (by a third party publisher) left in the Sony bag belongs to Konami as "Metal Gear Solid 4" remains the tactical espionage action adventure of the year. But as the year continues to progress, and the final sales numbers of MGS 4 come out, we could only wonder if that exclusivity will continue.