System Exclusives: A Way Of The Past

26 06 2015

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I’ve written a lot about system exclusives and how I believe the landscape is changing from what we as gamers have seen in the past. If E3 this year is of any indication, which I believe it is, then we may finally see the shift in philosophy that I’ve seen coming for a few years.

While the advances in technology, production value, and expectation have given us gamers a more immerse experience it has also ballooned budgets on the developer side. A misstep no longer is a small setback but instead could cost the company millions. So why would they exclude a possible section of their customer base by having a title exclusive to one system?

We have seen this portrayed more and more over the past years with titles like Mass Effect, Final Fantasy, Grand Theft Auto and more recently Titanfall losing their exclusivity rights and become multiplatform. It appears developers haven’t been wrong either as you look at the top ten rated games of last year a vast majority of them are multiplatform titles and not exclusives.

This transition has left Sony and Microsoft so starved for exclusive content that instead of titles being a system exclusive we now have timed exclusives like that of the new Tomb Raider game Rise of the Tomb Raider for Microsoft or Sony’s timed exclusive  No Man’s Sky. I saw this coming a long time ago as I wrote about it 6 years ago when I saw system exclusives falling to the waste side.

What will the new landscape look like? Well like I mentioned in a previous post when I revisited this topic 4 years ago, its exclusive content. We have already seen this develop over the past year with Destiny and Batman: Arkham Knight and the exclusive content for PlayStation users or with Dragon Age: Inquisition’s timed DLC for Microsoft users.

Obviously this excludes first party developers but in my eyes this makes these developers even more important in this current landscape of gaming. Sony and Microsoft need to do an even better job of recognizing talented teams to add to their holdings as the games they produce will be a large factor in differentiating themselves from their competition as titles like Uncharted, Halo and even the newer Bloodbourne have proved.

Without these third party exclusives to fall back on I believe Sony and Microsoft beyond looking for quality developers to shore up, or providing exclusive content to their system need something more to further differentiate their platform. These systems are no longer ‘just’ platforms to play games on but an entertainment hub in your living room and if either of these companies want to pull ahead this is where I see the most ground can be made.

I personally turn my PlayStation on more to watch Netflix, HBO Go, Amazon Instant Video than to play games. Therefore these collaborations with the companies listed above and others such as Hulu Plus, Spotify, NFL, NBA and the recently announced PlayStation Vue will be the future game changers.

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