Console exclusives. Anyone who played video games during the heydey of the console wars had to live with seeing their favorite games noted to be an exclusive for another system. Nintendo had Mario and Final Fantasy. Sega had Sonic and Phantasy Star. Then, when Sony entered the picture, they scored a major coup by making Final Fantasy VII, the flagship JRPG of the time, a console exclusive for their PlayStation.
But something odd happened after that. During the sixth/seventh console generation, things changed. The number of console exclusive titles seems to have died down. We saw some shocking changes, like Grand Theft Auto IV released on the Xbox 360. Games like No More Heroes made its way to the PlayStation 3. Even the later Final Fantasy games found a home on both Sony and Microsoft’s consoles.
There were still some console exclusive titles during this time. Games like Uncharted and Gears of War were only available for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, respectively. But these were games that were developed either by first or second party companies.
But lately, the console wars have taken a turn for the worse when it comes to console exclusivity.
Several weeks ago, it was revealed Rise of the Tomb Raider, the upcoming sequel to the Tomb Raider reboot, will have a limited exclusivity deal with Microsoft for both the Xbox One and Xbox 360. But, for me, the biggest game to be scooped up as a console exclusive would have to be Street Fighter V. The Street Fighter series has always been a multiplatform game; it has been since the 16-bit era. So, seeing it become an “only on PlayStation 4” is a big coup for Sony.
Now, I understand the business strategy behind making a game console exclusive. For the manufacturers of the consoles, it’s an opportunity to attract gamers who are on the fence regarding what console to get. If they want to get a specific game that just so happens to only be available on your system, then you have a potential customer.
For the developer and publisher of the game, it helps them focus on only one system, leading to probably lowering the budget for the actual development of that console exclusive game. Also, they will also get some financial help from the manufacturer of the console as well, leading to more money to help them make the best possible game. Sales targets are also going easier to meet because of the limited market.
Win-win, right? Well…
What they don’t know is how they are tearing down the goodwill they’ve possibly built up throughout the years of giving us multiplatform games.
As much as I love the Street Fighter series and I am going to get a PlayStation 4 soon because of console exclusives like The Last of Us, Uncharted, Until Dawn and No Man’s Sky, I don’t like the idea of Capcom pulling the console exclusive stunt on one of their bigger franchises like Street Fighter. If it were a timed exclusive like Tomb Raider, maybe I would understand. But making it only available on a Sony platform forever? Nope.
Even if I do understand the idea behind why they’re doing it, I still cannot accept the deal that was made. It just leaves a really terrible taste in my mouth. It feels like the cheap way out, especially when you consider that all previous Street Fighter games were available on different platforms, even during the 16-bit era! Many people feel the same way. Even on the Official PlayStation Blog announcing the exclusivity deal, many gamers have expressed their anger towards the deal.
I do hope Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo (yes, I’m looking at you, Bayonetta) take these comments to heart. If they want console exclusives, they should throw their large stacks of money at creating really great first party games, not signing up console exclusive deals that deprive the majority of the gaming world a game that deserves to be on different consoles.
Yes, business is business. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it.
What’s your thoughts on the current state of console exclusives? Let me know in the comments section below.