Console Exclusivity

Note to self…never write about games when you have a few readers.  Apparently, they don’t like that.  Or maybe it is game reviews they don’t like.  We’ll find out.

One more thing before I begin…yeah, I’ve been writing for four years but you wouldn’t know that if you went back to the oldest entry.  That’s because all the other entries are private.  I’ve never heard of anyone going back through the archives to read anything I wrote, so I just locked them.  Trust me, I didn’t sign up in August 2004…then not start writing until last year.

Anyway, today’s GameFAQs poll asks “which console maker’s exclusive games do you enjoy the most?”  The choices include Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft, no preference or “I can’t stand any console-exclusive games”.  One thing missing from today’s console wars is console-exclusivity.  Most hit titles come out on all three systems (or, at the very least, both the PS3 and Xbox 360).  This maximizes sales for a game, but doesn’t do anything to make any system a must-buy.  Instead of buying a console because of its games, people end up buying them for less-stellar reasons like graphical power.  Because there are no real games to buy a PS3 over an Xbox 360, for the most part, (and vice-versa), the console wars are more of a race to see which company can get their system out first.

Really, the only real game I’ve seen that’s console-exclusive and has not been made by Nintendo is Metal Gear Solid 4MGS4 has actually increased PS3 sales while making a ton of money on its own.  Sure, Sony has games like Jak & Dexter, Ratchet and Clank and Gran Turismo, but I don’t see them as system-sellers.  Gran Turismo might be, but I’m not entirely convinced.  In the previous generation, Sony had lots of exclusive games.  Grand Theft Auto III (and its sequels…although it was eventually released as collection for the Xbox), Final Fantasy X, Guitar Hero (the first one) and the Kingdom Hearts series…to name a few.  Those games were best-sellers and a lot of the reason why the PS2 did so well.  In the current generation, however, the future doesn’t look as bright.  Guitar Hero and Grand Theft Auto are both multi-console releases and, with the news that Final Fantasy XIII will be available on the 360, Sony doesn’t have a lot of reasons to buy its $500 console.  It has a hard drive and plays music?  So does the 360.  Because it plays blu-ray discs?  There needs to be more than that, especially for a game console.

While Sony has screwed up, Microsoft is in the same boat.  Sure, Halo made a ton of jack for the original Xbox but it eventually came out on PC.  Same with the 2nd one.  And isn’t it popular opinion that FPS games are better played on the PC?  I wouldn’t be surprised if the 3rd game is going the same route.  Other games like Bioware’s critically-acclaimed RPGs (Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Jade Empire, Mass Effect) and Gears of War also end up being ported to PC.  Fable is probably the worst offender of all.  Not only was it hyped to hell so that when it did come out, it was a major disappointment, but it was eventually ported to PC…which had bonus features!

With Microsoft releasing games for both PC and the 360, and Sony losing their exclusive titles, Nintendo is the only one that has stayed true.  Mario, Zelda, Pokemon, etc. are only available on Nintendo systems.  It’s one of the reasons Nintendo hasn’t been completely killed off by Sony and Microsoft, who focus on graphical power and extra entertainment features like blu-ray to sell their systems.  Nintendo focuses on games and, lo and behold, they are the best-selling system on the market right now.  The Wii is selling like hot cakes, despite its stupid name.  Sure, there are many reasons for Nintendo’s success, but one of them has to be console-exclusivity.  After all, many gamers grew up on Nintendo franchises.  Even if Nintendo’s systems are a disappointment, they always have a hardcore fanbase to fall back on.

Nintendo has shown that money does not lie in hardware, graphical power or what have you.  Those features help sell a system, but the real factor is the games.  Nintendo has that in spades, thanks to some exclusive titles.  If a gamer waits long enough, a Sony title will eventually be released on the Xbox 360.  Even on the 360, wait long enough and that game will go to PC.  Competition makes for a better market.  Hopefully, Microsoft and Sony will quit trying to sell entertainment devices or eye candy and start trying to sell game consoles.

Do not think this ends here…  The history of light and shadow will be written in blood!

2 thoughts on “Console Exclusivity

  1. All too true. That’s one thing to be said for PCs; they’re never going to be short on exclusive titles. I’d like to see a console try and tackle an Age of Empires title.


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