System Exclusives: A Way Of The Past

26 06 2015

PastFuture_iStock

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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Diablo 3 Auction Houses – Good or Bad?

15 09 2011

Anybody that has played Diablo 2 for any length of time knows that buying items and gold farming killed the economy in Diablo 2. It was easily available to purchase all of the elite items in Diablo 2 from an outside third party company for relatively cheap. This made for a poor experience for those who did not buy items and combined with other problems completely wrecked the overall economy of the game.

Therefore I can see why many critics and gamers are in upheaval over the recent announcement that Diablo 3 will have an in-game real money auction house. Some are going as far to state that the sanctity of the game is now in question and how this addition will ruin the economy of the game and more specifically their experience will be tainted because users ‘will be allowed to buy the best gear in the game and quickly become an elite player’.

I however believe this is ludicrous and since I am as big of a Diablo fan as any I would like to tell these raging fans to settle down. More specifically let’s get into why I believe this addition won’t be a catastrophic failure and could be a great addition if handled well by Blizzard.

Let’s first get one thing established, yes, selling and buying of items was a disaster and ruined the economy in Diablo 2 and if auction houses exist in that same environment in Diablo 3 it would most likely ruin that economy as well. However that is not the case we can not assume that the same problems that plagued Diablo 2 will exist in Diablo 3. The main reason it was a problem in Diablo 2 was due to the fact that item duping was so prevalent as was the practice of running bots to MF certain areas in order to rapidly find these high tier items. This resulted in an abundance of these items that ordinarily would have not been in the economy nor would the most casual player ever get a chance to see or find such an item. Basic economics tells us that with the abundance of these elite items the value was lowered making it easily accessible for even the most casual fan to simply purchase these uber elite items either in game or from an outside source whose main goal was to rip off players and make a profit.

It’s fair to say that with the release of StarCraft 2 and the revamped Battle.net that while this may not be impossible these instances will be severely reduced when Diablo 3 is also released. Just by the nature of their scarcity these elite items will always have an intrinsic value that players want to obtain and would pay to get it. So I am an advocate of Blizzard taking over this role rather than have an unreliable third party form around the game whose only interest is profits. These companies that formed around Diablo 2 were a nuisance and a black eye to most of the community and its nice to see that Blizzard saw this eye sore and ensured that the same would not happen to Diablo 3.

I can not see how giving the player the choice to use or not to use real money auction houses will vastly influence the game as long as the scarcity of the items remains the same. Not to mention this will not influence the early adopters anyways as you will not be able to purchase these highly coveted items until much later in the overall economy of the game since players will first have to find these items.

The only way I see it largely influencing the game is during PvP as I can see how it would be frustrating to see a player who has simply purchased all the best gear while you spent hours upon hours looking for items. However that is a choice and a choice that I believe is fair. Not to mention we have no clue whether or not these auction house will be apart of PvP or not. But that leads to my last point if this feature still bothers you then you can also make a choice and choose to have an isolated experience and not play with people or restrict the people you play with to only include those who don’t use real money auction houses.

All in all I refuse to make brash judgments based on an addition to a game that we for one don’t have all of the details for and two that we have yet to see implemented in a real world experience and three condemn the new game based on the problems the previous game had.

I would be curious to know what you think of this announcement and if you think it’s a good or bad idea. Let me know in the comments section below.





System Exclusives: Revisited

23 02 2011

I wrote not too long ago on how I saw the future of system exclusives slowly fading away. Since that article we have seen a few trends like the announcement of Insomniac Games going multiplatform and the more recent announcement that Valve is now developing for the PlayStation 3 that heavily supports my thoughts that system exclusives are becoming a thing of the past.

Instead what we are seeing take the place of system exclusives is exclusive content on par with what Sony and Electronic Arts so adamantly announced during E3 along with what Activision and Microsoft made sure to tie up with timed exclusive Call of Duty DLC.

We have already seen this model in action this year when Mass Effect 2, previously an Xbox 360 exclusive, released on the PlayStation 3 earlier this year. As well as when Dead Space Extraction was packaged with the PlayStation 3 version of Dead Space 2 or even on a smaller scale when Kratos was announced for Mortal Kombat exclusively on the PlayStation 3 version of the game.

This obviously excludes first party developers, in fact in this new model I see first party developers becoming more meaningful and much more important than they were in the past. Why? Because as these third party exclusives dry up the game console companies will need an alternate way to differentiate their console from the competition. Thus putting a larger emphasis on first party developers and forcing the game console companies to evaluate good talent and shore up what would be third party developers they believe will set their console apart.

I see this model continuing to flourish and eventually becoming the new wave that replaces system exclusives as companies realize that they need to be represented in both if not all of the current game console systems in order to be relevant and profitable in today’s crowded market while still giving a specific platform leverage.

How do you see the future of system exclusives?





Why The Move Will Succeed and Kinect Will Not

5 10 2010

The PlayStation Move has officially been released and with that the next step in motion controlled gaming has been unleashed. It’s a new war between two giant hardware manufactures that may have already been won by a third manufacturer many years ago.

Whether or not a victory has already been won with the release of the PlayStation Move and the upcoming release of Kinect Microsoft and Sony are directly competing with each other for a slice of that Nintendo success. Here is why I believe the PlayStation Move will succeed and Kinect will not.

In order to declare a winner we must first define what success is. Is it units sold? Is it attachment percent? Or maybe its related software sales? In the context of this article my definition of success is none of the above but instead will be which device I think will provide a superior gaming experience.

Personally as a gamer when I play I need that tactile feedback an actual controller provides. This will not be possible with Kinect and because of that I believe the interactive function which is a cornerstone in all games will suffer. PlayStation Move on the other hand can provide that feedback while tracking your movements on a more precise level granting an even more interactive experience.

Speaking of games PlayStation appears to be more serious about supporting games with this motion technology take Killzone 3 and Heavy Rain for instance where as Microsoft is taking compatibility out of major franchises like Fable 3. Also despite being announced after Kinect PlayStation Move has announced many more titles including first party titles. While on the other hand Kinect has fewer titles and the one exciting title is a third party developed game.

Not to mention the games that are scheduled to release for the PlayStation Move appear to be more of the games I want to play. One great example of this is Dead Space: Extraction, granted it was previously released on the Wii but it will now be introduced to a whole new audience and will provide value to PlayStation 3 owners who plan on purchasing the game. Kinect on the other hand is having a difficult time being implemented into games or the way it is being implemented is just not something I see myself playing. The PlayStation Move also provides a good variety of games, from the Wii like clones of Sports Championship to a more in-depth title like the aforementioned Dead Space: Extraction. At this point I just don’t see that diversity with Kinect.

In my eyes PlayStation Move seems to be more of a game platform obviously due to its similarities with the Wii where Kinect while it has incredible tech and possibility appears in its current form to just be a concept. This is why I believe the PlayStation Move will be successful and Kinect will not.

Which motion controlled device do you think will succeed?  Do you plan on purchasing either of them?





My Extra Life

12 07 2010

Extra Life is a 24 hour charity gaming marathon started by Sarcastic Gamer that raises money to help heal kids. The past two years it has raised over 250k (1/4 million) dollars that all went to the Texas Children’s Hospital. This year Extra Life is back and with a new development. In 2010 gamers will still will be raising money for kids with life threatening illnesses but instead of going to the prestigous Texas Children’s Hospital 100% of the funds will go directly to the local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital of your choice. This means that your amazing efforts will directly benefit your local community regardless of where you reside.

I have participated in this event in the past but this year my passion to help has been significantly increased by events that have occurred in my own life. As some of you may be aware my now four month old son required heart surgery at 3 weeks old. As a parent this was one of the most difficult situations I have been through however throughout the entire process our local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Central California, not only took excellent care of our son but informed and helped us through the process as well. I have no doubt they saved my son’s life and I will be eternally grateful for that. Now I say this not as a sad story or to gain sympathy as my son has recovered extremely well and is completely healthy today. But rather to illustrate just one of the thousands of stories about the wonderful facility that helped my son and thousands like him and continue to help children who are still fighting and will continue to fight.

For those reasons and many more I feel the least I could do is attempt to help a hospital that has given so much to me which will in turn help another family or child. So this year on October 16th 2010 I will be participating in Extra Life 2010 hopefully joined and supported by you. Yes, I am talking to YOU.

Now comes your part. You may be thinking how can I help or why should I help I don’t have children? Well lets face it we all have someone we know who has been struck with a serious illness plus no one likes to see children suffer. Not to mention you never know your efforts now could help you, a friend or family member in the future. Take me for example, I never thought I would need the services at such a facility yet it was essential that I did. At the very least we all could use a little positive karma for helping.

Now that I have you convinced you can donate to my page specifically by clicking here (all proceeds will be going to Children’s Hospital of Central California) or you can sign up yourself by going here and raise funds for your community. If you plan on doing that be sure to sign up for our team by searching for “Beyond The D-Pad” under Find a Team in your account main menu. If all that seems to be too much then please at least help us spread the word by telling your friends, family, enemies and everyone you come in contact with. We need all the help we can get, Thank you!

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If you would like more information regarding Extra Life you can get that by going here. Alternatively if you have questions or concerns you can leave a comment below and I would be happy to help. Also if you have a story to tell on who you would like to dedicate your efforts to and in the process give hope to others or if you just want to express your support I encourage you to do so in the comments section below.





Unable to Game

16 05 2010

Throughout my childhood I was able to waste my days away locked in my room playing Kings Quest VI or the original Diablo much to my mothers demise. During these days school was just a part of the day where I could let my mind mingle with the clouds as they blew across the bright blue sky or better yet strategically plan out those faithful gaming binges. I didn’t have a care in the world besides of course which bag of CornNuts to eat during recess, Ranch or Chile Picante? The only thing I had in excess was time, so what better to do with it than play video games. I loved this period of my life and even then I knew this schedule would not last forever but I had no idea my life would soon be so demanding that I would be unable to game.

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PlayStation “Move”s in a New Direction

22 03 2010

Earlier this month at the annual Game Developers Conference (GDC) Sony officially announced their new motion controller hardware the PlayStation ‘Move’. The concept has been known about since E3 2009 however until now the name and any games has all been a mystery. Now that I have a more concrete idea of what the ‘Move’ is and how it will work I must say I am disappointed.

I understand the need Sony felt to release a motion controlled device as the success of the Wii can not be over looked even Microsoft will be making the transition later this year with Project Natal. But back to the PlayStation, when this device was unveiled as a prototype we as gamers were promised a sleeker design along with a device that would offer something different then what the current market already has. What did we effectively get? A PSWii complete with wand and nuns chuck, I mean sub-controller. They did do a lot of work regarding the design of PlayStation Move, wait it looks exactly the same as it did in protégé form. I know what you may be thinking, I am just complaining about visual aspects and the important issue is that it functions correctly.

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