Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Death of the Exclusive

The fight for console exclusives rages on

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.

1 comment:

Franklin said...

Nice article, Jose. I thought you brought up a bunch of great points. While I think Microsoft has been benefiting from these 'no longer exclusives', I think gamers are benefiting even more. Of course, there are still a few key exclusives for each system that will give a good reason to own both.

If you don't own both systems, you should take a look at this Stacker 2 contest going on. If you win you can get a PS3 or 360 (your choice), a copy of Rise of the Argonauts, a year's supply of 6 Hour Power energy shots, and more. Check out all the contest details here

Let me know if you have any questions about the contest or the drink. If you enter the contest, let me know and I'll definitely vote for your design too. I hope you don't mind me commenting on your blog, by the way. Good luck.

Franklin Keane