Published on August 26th, 2014 | by Mica Rose


The Problem with Console Exclusive Games

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Since the beginning of gaming, consoles have been sold on the games that were exclusively available to play on them. From Sonic the Hedgehog on the Sega Mega Drive to Pokémon on the Nintendo Gameboy; if you didn’t have the right console, you simply couldn’t play it.

The industry has evolved over time, the majority of studios and publishers are no longer under the umbrella of the bigger companies so they have the freedom and choice to cater for all platforms on the market. For example, studios like Rockstar, Bethesda and Ubisoft make games for both Xbox and PlayStation meaning their titles reach a wider fan base. These studios will in general only restrict their exclusivity deals to extras and preorder bonuses, giving players on each side missions and content that are unique to their console of choice.

PlayStation Exclusive

There will always be, however, studios that are child companies to Microsoft and Sony. The games they produce, such as Gears of War on Xbox and Uncharted on PlayStation will always be restricted to their respective consoles. This, it seems, is a central part of the marketing for consoles and can sway a gamer’s decision on which one to commit a hefty chunk of their pay check to. From a business standpoint, I can understand the need for the exclusivity; however the gamer in me can’t help but lament the fact that my fellow console players can’t enjoy some of my favourite games (and me, theirs) without shelling out for an extra gadget. The saving grace of this however, is that those who stick with one brand are less likely to be disappointed by these types of exclusives. They may like the look of Nathan Drake, but those who have always been with Xbox will be unlikely to lament the fact that Uncharted 4 will never be coming to Xbox One, likewise with PlayStation fans and Halo: The Master Chief Collection.

Xbox Exclusive
The problem arises however, when studios take a franchise popular on both consoles and decide to make it exclusive to one of them. The 2013 reboot of Tomb Raider restored hope to the franchise after fans thought the series had lost its spark. Many were highly anticipating the release of the new gen follow up Rise of the Tomb Raider, until it was announced that it would be an Xbox One exclusive. This alienates the PlayStation fans; it’s hard to miss a game or character you have never played or knew, but when the money men decide that you can’t go back to that world or that story unless you fork out £400+, then it tarnishes it. It’s almost like a parent taking a beloved toy and giving it to the kid next door so you can’t play with it again (or at least until they’re done with it).

It goes both ways though; PlayStation players aren’t the only ones missing out. The new Silent Hill game, Silent Hills, will be a PlayStation 4 exclusive, leaving the Xbox One fans of the franchise in the dark on how the collaboration with Guillermo del Toro will pan out. Unlike Rise of the Tomb Raider, however, this one isn’t a timed exclusive, so there isn’t even a glimmer of hope of it arriving on other consoles at this stage. It begs the question, who are exclusive games really benefitting? It certainly isn’t the players; the fact that I can play a game that others can’t just because they’re on another console doesn’t fill me with a sense of importance. For me games should be as inclusive as possible, everyone who wants to, should be able to enjoy them.

In the simplest form, it would be like being unable to watch a highly anticipated film because it was made by a rival company to your brand of DVD player. Sounds ridiculous, right?

Mica Rose
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