Facebook Files: Console Exclusivity – For Or Against?



Console exclusivity has been the touchiest topic this generation. Once upon a time, exclusives were designed either by first-parties or to suit the perceived demographic of a particular system. Now, when putting a game on every major platform is actually viable for the first time, certain publishers are still choosing to hold back in return for monetary compensation or assistance in other forms from console manufacturers. Is this a good thing or not?


Patrick wrote:

I’m all for console exclusivity. As a gamer I can see the benefits of being able to play any game that comes out, but it really makes the need for three consoles pointless. Console exclusivity seems to help push console gaming forward. Some companies seem to prefer the PS3 because it has more powerful hardware, while some companies prefer the 360 because its easier and more cost effective to program for.


I have found that console exclusivity has changed from the last generation to this generation. Consoles of the last generation seems to all have stereotypes you could classify them as. The X-Box was the FPS console. The PS2 was the RPG console. And the Gamecube was kinda the party console. Their exclusivity games seemed to help classify the systems and help people choose what console they want based off the kind of gamer they are.


Now console exclusivity seems to be more in the form of DLC and release dates. I bought a 360 because it had more of the games I wanted. Now though, almost all of the games that I bought a 360 for are out or coming out on the PS3. Exclusive console content (like the Joker being playable in Batman AA) help people who could buy it for either system, figure out which system they’d wanna buy it for. Exclusive content like that makes me think that gaming companies add more to their games for exclusive content, so it gives gamers more from the games.


Anton wrote: I have my reservations about exclusives. Obviously there are always going to be exclusives from first party developers. That can’t be avoided and that’s not what I’m concerned with. It’s exclusives from third party devs that concern me a bit. Especially with timed exclusives. Is it always the best thing for publisher, developer, and consumer?


For example, there were a few RPG games released on the Xbox 360 over the past couple of years that were later released on the PS3. Most notably Star Ocean: The Last Hope and Eternal Sonata (most notable to me, anyway). The reason I find this concerning is because the timed release may detract fans. Comparing both games on both consoles, the PS3 versions of both games have averaged higher scores from critics reviews, yet have sold fewer copies than the Xbox versions.


So, what I want to know is this good for the developer? They see sales either way, but would they possibly have had improved sales if both versions had been released at the same time? So, I don’t know what everyone else thinks, but I find that the consumer generally suffers with timed exclusives. Or maybe it’s just me who suffers. Sure, it’s not always the case and perhaps gamers should execute more patience for releases. Personally, I held out for both Eternal Sonata and Star Ocean. Still holding my breath for Tales of Vesperia, though.


Milki wrote:

I sometimes have this dream about only one console existing… and it can do everything that everyone’s demanding and it gets every game anyone wishes for, in every language wanted. Yeah, I have silly dreams like that.


I’m not sure what to think about exclusivity to be honest. As a gamer it annoys me a lot. I want to play Fragile badly, but I have no interest in owning a Wii at all. But well, it’s one game, it won’t make me buy a Wii… so I wonder, how many ppl actually buy a console just for one game they want to play? How many customers do you really gain with exclusivity?


Adam wrote:

A bit late to the "party" but I’d have to say I am for exclusives. I’ve always bought every system because they each have something to bring to the table. I would rather a company put every ounce of time they have into making a game all that it can be for whatever system they signed up for instead of spending any manpower making it cross platform.


I had a huge library of PS2 games compared to my Xbox last time around but I actually commend Microsoft for their efforts inside and outside of Japan to support games that they usually would not have last generation.


I happen to agree with Ishaan about the personalities of systems but not so much in the sense that people have mentioned: One system for FPS’s, etc. For example, last gen, Xbox had Live and it was a great online service compared to Sony’s, albeit free, online service.


I am probably one of the few people that does not mind having multiple systems to purchase. To bad it is so tempting for companies to cross platforms as it can bring them in extra cash. Down with timed releases that get extra content later on another system! Boooo.


Tim wrote:

I’m for console exclusives as well. Not just for the retail games, for what each system has to offer. Nintendo has its Virtual Console for old classics, and new time wasters. PSN is slowly dishing out more PSone classics as well, and slowly fleshing out its online components. X-box Live is paid sure, but the party system, communication and ease of everything makes it worth it. And the indie games that pop up on that are some really interesting and worth while games.


For or against console exclusivity? Keep in mind, we aren’t discussing first-party exclusives. You can check out the full discussion here. We’re also still discussing Metroid: Other M (albeit, a different topic from the storytelling portions).

Ishaan Sahdev
Ishaan specializes in game design/sales analysis. He's the former managing editor of Siliconera and wrote the book "The Legend of Zelda - A Complete Development History". He also used to moonlight as a professional manga editor. These days, his day job has nothing to do with games, but the two inform each other nonetheless.