With the recent console war going on between the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4, one of the main arguments for defending the Xbox One revolves around the exclusive games it will be offering. Games such as Halo 5, Titan Fall, and my favorite Killer Instinct are predicted to be major hits for the Xbox One…but is it necessarily a good thing to limit these games to just one system? I will ultimately show that games need not be exclusive to a specific console and that it should be left to the player to decide.
So why make a game exclusive to a system? One reason would be competition. Developers sign contracts with one of the console companies in the hopes that their game will help drive the sales of the system. If the system sales are up because of an exclusive, then everyone is making money and everyone is happy. This will also drive competition from other console companies to sign on better games to make their console more attractive. That is the cliffnotes version of it anyway. As they say, competition drives innovation and the desire for more money will push for the development of better games and better systems.
But you can have competition and innovation without the need for exclusive games. Make a system with improved specifications (PlayStation 4), or a system that is being bold and trying something new (Xbox One), or even just adding a new peripheral that changes how games are played (Wii U). Let the system speak for itself in attracting people to buy it and play games on it. Give it a price that people can afford and have some new features that truly makes it the next-gen console.
Then again, it is the games that drive the success of a system, as stated above. You can have a crazy cool system, but if you do not have anything cool to play on it (PlayStation Portable), then what’s the point of having it? The exclusive games are attractive and it works in the sales of consoles. It doesn’t make sense to give up a strategy that has been working well for years. Consider the Super Nintendo vs. SEGA Genesis way back in the day. We had to choose between games like Donkey Kong Country and Super Mario World vs. Sonic the Hedgehog and Phantasy Star 2. Was it the exclusives that won out in that war? It probably had a hand in it and definitely helped speed Nintendo along to victory after SEGA decided to work on the Saturn and gave up early.
But throw those games on a better system and see what happens. The Call of Duty franchise is not exclusive, but it plays better on an Xbox because of the superior online multiplayer it has. The Assassin’s Creed franchise is not exclusive, but it plays better on a PlayStation because of the superior graphics it has the ability to produce. And these games are popular as heck. Both Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag and Call of Duty: Ghosts will be available for both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, so why not have all games follow in pursuit?
There are many other reasons why consoles succeed or fail than just exclusive games. The bottom line though is let the player decide. It sucks so bad to be forced to buy a system I really do not like just to play one game. I could understand some limitations because of the game itself; you can’t play a game that requires the Wii U gamepad on an Xbox One, which does not have a screen on the controller. But what makes a fighting game on the Xbox that much more different than if it were on PlayStation?
Am I bitter about Killer Instinct being exclusive?
Just a little bit.