We have all heard the term before. But to each gamer it can hold a very different meaning. For some gamers, an exclusive title can be cause for celebration. But if you spend enough time on videogame forums, it becomes clear that most gamers would rather use the idea of exclusivity as a weapon, and as a means to brag about their superior gaming device. But when all is said and done, exclusivity is nothing more consumer loyalty, and this is exactly why so many gamers are so defensive about their precious exclusives.Crysis for example, was originally a PC exclusive title which hinged on its outrageous system requirements and stunning visuals to garner the envy of all PS3 and 360 owners alike. Now, EA has decided to widen its audience by bringing Crysis 2 to the console owners of the world – and I couldn’t be more thrilled. But like Square Enix’s decision to bring Final Fantasy XIII to the 360, many view the exclusivity loss as something to look down on. Like Square Enix, EA’s decision to go multiplatform is just a way to increase profits, allowing the company to create more of the titles that gamers know and love. With the support of two major console brands, the Crysis franchise has a chance to flourish. So I ask, why all the fuss?
PC and 360 owners are probably feeling stuck on the same boat right about now. Much like the PC’s once exclusive shooter, the 360 is also losing a title with Mass Effect 2. But if you really stop and think about, what does this really mean? The titles are going to be essentially the same regardless of which console they first appeared on and then later brought over to. Exclusivity isn’t something that gamers should use to validate spending money on the only console they were able to afford. Cause a lot of times, these arguments seemed to be fueled by just that. If you were place one of every console and portable gaming device in every gamers home right now, do you think that exclusivity would even matter anymore? But as upsetting as it is for a gamer to be deprived of great gaming experience, the true purpose of exclusivity is to harden the industry and to push developers to create better quality titles. In a world without exclusives, there would be no rhyme or reason to improve.
Take Halo for example. Halo is Microsoft’s cornerstone FPS. It was so successful, that it made Sony take notice and develop its own FPS sensation with Killzone. And what about the Uncharted franchise? When I look at Naughty Dog’s action title, my mind drifts to the Gears of War franchise. Not because of the titles’ similar play styles, but rather the reason why Uncharted plays the way it does. What would Uncharted be like if Gears of War wasn’t around to push Sony to create its own flagship action series?
There is no changing the game at this point. Gamers will always resort to their exclusives as the primary reason as to why their consoles are ‘better’. And yes, if you’ve got a console that is rocking plenty of exclusive content, you may be subject to that feeling of superiority. But in looking passed childish bragging rights, and the ‘look what I have’ mentality, you will see that exclusives help us consumers in the long run, and raise the standards by keeping our favorite developers on their toes. Personally, I am a bit envious Playstation 3 owners this year; Sony’s console has a lot of incredible titles coming its way. But rather than dwell on it, I should be appreciate the fact that I will one day have such great titles to look forward to – all spawned out of the need to push the industry forward and to outdo the competition. So I ask you, fellow gamer: How do you believe exclusives have hurt/helped the gaming industry?