Game Exclusivity

I’m a PC gamer first and foremost. And so when you see a game out there that goes multi-platform, the PC generally has the best version of it and thus I don’t feel the need to buy Assassin’s Creed 3 or Farcry 3 on a console, I would buy those on a PC because it is just better. When I buy a console, I am looking for games that are different, that have exclusives, and this has been one of the reasons I’ve continued with Nintendo even though I will admit the console isn’t as good as it once was.

I feel more and more disappointed by the fact that exclusivity seems to be going away. More and more, companies are trying to ship games on as many consoles as possible, and in reality this is making me like the games less and less. I am actually less inclined to buy Batman: Arkham City because it is on Wii U, PS3, X360 and PC than if I were to buy a title that was only on one… for example, I am more interested in Halo 4 than I am Call of Duty, though I’ll be honest in saying my interest in either is low just because I don’t care about shooters.

It’s odd though, Console developers used to live and die off of exclusive titles. If you didn’t have the titles, you wouldn’t do well. It had nothing to do with getting the cross platform titles at all. For example, PS1 didn’t really trounce N64 and the Sega Saturn because they had the likes of Tony Hawk Pro Skater, they won because they were the only system to get Final Fantasy VII, Metal Gear Solid and Gran Turismo. Super Nintendo won because of the hundreds of exclusives it had, not because it had a version of Mortal Kombat. Don’t get me wrong, Mortal Kombat and Tony Hawk didn’t hurt, they just did create a reason to have them.

Yet today, I feel that when Sony and Microsoft announce their systems they are trying to be as similar to their competition as possible which means getting the same games on them as everyone else has. They aren’t trying to get customers, they are trying not to lose customers, and this is a bit of a shame. On Nintendo’s side, they aren’t really trying to get exclusives either, they are just doing their own thing as they always have and kinda hope everyone else comes around eventually which doesn’t really worked out either. This may have worked back in the days of the NES where there just wasn’t competition but this is a bad habit for today’s world.

Even so, Nintendo has a built in exclusive system already. They have more exclusive titles coming in house than either Sony or Microsoft produce in house and maybe combined. Not only that, all of them are really good. The one place they have traditionally struggled has been the mature crowd games which is why the Nintendo consoles always get this “kiddy” image. They do have games that tend to be enjoyed by the mature crowd like Metroid, Fire Emblem, Advance Wars, and even Zelda. But these are few and far between. I am heartened by their purchase of Monolith recently to help with this, but I digress.

Exclusivity is a rare thing these days. I love that Bayonetta 2, the Wonderful 101, Monster Hunter 3 & 4, and Dragon Quest X are exclusive to Nintendo. Rayman Legends moving cross-platform make it so that it is a game that I am less likely to buy whereas I once was guaranteed to buy it. I will eventually buy games like Assassin’s Creed 3 on the PC, but at deep discount (at $25 today and that’s more expensive than I need to pay for that game).

To me, that a company feels the need to throw a game on every platform imaginable is similar to every cartoon movie slapping 3D on it’s movie. It is a move that they are hoping increase the sales because their game is too crappy to sell on its own regardless of the console it is on. And that is kind of the point. If these games really were as great as the companies lead us to believe, they wouldn’t be worried about putting it cross-platform. The game would sell regardless, and might sell consoles right along with it. Companies should be looking at every title as titles that will sell consoles, regardless of if it is Microsoft’s console or Sony’s console. Nintendo I feel does this, and that is why their titles tend to be such a high quality. Maybe this is why their games always sell so much better than everyone else’s…