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Talking Point: How Does Exclusivity Affect Your Anticipation for a Game?

Posted by Sammy Barker

Increased attention

For as few exclusives as there are these days, the word still gets a lot of mileage on message boards. Lists have become a profound form of ammunition among system soldiers, with elite titles compared and contrasted in increasingly heated wars of attrition. But how important is exclusivity to you? And does the aging concept have an impact on the experiences that you’re looking forward to?

In many ways, first-party or exclusive titles are still used to define the ethos of the console that they belong to. WipEout, for example, may find itself facing an uncertain future following the closure of Studio Liverpool, but it’s a franchise that’s exuded PlayStation ever since its inception in 1995. The futuristic action, electronic soundtrack, and Designers Republic aesthetic played a pivotal role in bringing gaming out of the bedroom and into night clubs, and its impact is still felt across Sony’s gaming brand today.

The same can be said for PlayStation’s biggest competitors. Nintendo’s output is defined by its enormous roster of recognisable characters, from Super Mario and Link, right through to Luigi, who’s taking centre stage at the moment. Even Microsoft – a company that doesn’t quite have the same exhaustive back catalogue as its Japanese counterparts – can be identified by the reflective helmet of Master Chief or the burly posture of Marcus Fenix.

So, exclusives still help to reinforce the identity of a particular brand or system – but does that lead to unwarranted anticipation in the case of some games? Take the Resistance series, a perfectly reputable collection of sci-fi shooters that have arguably always been punching above their weight. While the franchise certainly benefited from starting life alongside the PlayStation 3, it’s never quite attained the quality level that the sheer amount of conversation surrounding it would lead you to believe. But why is that?

Well, if you look at the manner in which Fuse – the first ever multiplatform project from former Sony second-party Insomniac Games – is soaring under the radar, the answer should be obvious. While the studio’s upcoming third-person shooter has a distinctly different flavour to its foray into the crowded first-person market, it doesn’t have the hook of exclusivity to its name, and, as such, it seems destined to fall flat when it launches in late May as a result.

The example isn’t just limited to Insomniac Games, though. Take a title such as de Blob, which was a hot topic of conversation when it originally debuted on the Wii back in 2008. Nintendo fans treated the game as one of their own, and its importance was inflated as a result. But by the time that the puzzler’s successor was preparing to paint the PS3 and Xbox 360 as well, all hype had been abandoned, and developer Blue Tongue Games was shut down after the sequel was a commercial flop.

Fascinatingly, de Blob 2 attracted reviews almost on par with its predecessor, suggesting that it didn’t suffer from a decline in quality during the transition to multiple systems. However, it certainly lost some of its appeal along the way, and that can be attributed to its loss of exclusivity. A more recent example includes Rayman Legends, which was originally heralded as a must-own title for the Wii U. Incredibly, though, a poll conducted by our friends over at Nintendo Life showed that interest in the release had plummeted following its announcement for the PS3 and Xbox 360.

Even games that genuinely don’t look very good profit from the added enthusiasm that exclusivity offers. Back when Tecmo Koei revealed Quantum Theory for the PS3 back in 2008, it was treated as Sony’s response to Gears of War. After plenty of early press, it eventually lost its exclusivity status and deployed to very little fanfare in 2010. Such was the ambivalence surrounding the release when it finally arrived, that no one even cared that it was a complete critical disaster.

Of course, there are a number of advantages to exclusivity that may explain why it increases expectations. Franchises such as Uncharted and God of War have thrived on their ability to push a specific piece of hardware, prompting visual fidelity beyond that of most multiplatform games. Furthermore, exclusive titles tend to take advantage of the unique capabilities of their parent hardware. For example, ZombiU wouldn’t quite be the same game if it released on the PS3, unless it took advantage of expensive Vita cross-controller compatibility.

But that still doesn’t change the fact that in most cases exclusivity has an almost profound impact on anticipation – sometimes to an unreasonable degree. There’s nothing to suggest that the Resistance games couldn’t have launched on the Xbox 360 under a different publisher, but would they have garnered such a huge amount of attention if they did? Exclusive titles may be declining in numbers these days, but that only seems to be raising the profile of the few that still exist.


How does exclusivity affect you? Do your ears prick up when you learn that a new title is going to be developed specifically for your platform of choice, and, if so, why is that? Are there any particular titles or franchises that you’ve lost interest in since going multiplatform? Let us know in the comments section below.

Do you get more excited for exclusive games? (42 votes)

Yes, I love titles that are tailored to a specific piece of hardware

48%

Sometimes, but it depends on the game

29%

No, I don’t care whether a release is exclusive or not

24%

Please login to vote in this poll.

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User Comments (28)

Splat

#1

Splat said:

To be honest I don't really care. A good game is a good game. I think it's silly to lose interest in a game just because it's made available for other systems.

I'm a HUGE Mass Effect fan and finding out the first Mass Effect was coming to PS3 was flat out awesome for me.

My most wanted game for 2013 is The Last of Us and that wouldn't change if it was a multiplatform game. I want it because Naughty Dog makes great games not because it's only on PS3.

ShogunRokAdmin

#2

ShogunRok said:

I agree with @Splat here. Personally I feel the best games of this generation have been multiplatform.

However, there's no doubt, at least when it comes to Sony, that their first party offerings are generally fantastic games. I can see why being exclusive is regarded as a seal of quality.

Epic

#3

Epic said:

Agree with @Splat but there are sometimes that games might be to odd in other consoles like the article says imagine Nintendoland without the Wii U gamepad it would be just horrible or maybe the original Wii Sports(I know PS move exists but not in that time) PS without move controllers sometimes we need to take some things like this in consideration all this great games in other consoles just might be dead if it wasn't for their exclusivity.

PS:
Didn't knew that deblob 2 had problems I loved that game and its soundtrack was just amazing. O_O

neumaus

#4

neumaus said:

It doesn't matter to me at all. The most important thing is that it's on a system I own (^_^)☆

Stuffgamer1

#5

Stuffgamer1 said:

@Splat: But it could be argued that Naughty Dog's reputation for excellent work wouldn't be a high if they weren't PlayStation exclusive. Certainly, the visual quality of their games would suffer for it.

I put a lot of stock in games taking advantage of the hardware they're on...which is why I'm concerned about the final quality of Fuse. Insomniac has spent YEARS improving their technique with PS3, and MAYBE they'll manage to pull it off so that PS3 is the definitive version of the game, but then again it might suffer because they're also slogging along with a 360 version.

Exclusives are, of course, also what make consoles worth owning as opposed to other consoles...or they used to be. That line has admittedly been blurred with different consoles having OTHER major differences (like disc format, charge for online, etc.). No Nintendo fan would ever say that exclusives aren't important...they're pretty much all that's worth playing on Nintendo hardware. :P

Ps4all

#6

Ps4all said:

With the porting issues the ps3 endured,I always feel more confident in exclusive titles as they were typically higher caliber games.

Munkyknuts

#7

Munkyknuts said:

Exclusivity just irritates me with the petty mindedness of it all. Great games should be able to be enjoyed by everyone not used as a lure to get people to get a different console, or used as ammunition in endless back and forth bickering between different console owners.

get2sammybAdmin

#8

get2sammyb said:

@Munkyknuts Ah, but then you get into this awkward space of a 'one console' future, and I'm not sure that benefits anyone. I like that all three of the 'main' consoles have a unique identity, even if they share a lot of games.

CanisWolfred

#10

CanisWolfred said:

It depends on the game and the hardware. I don't want a Vite/3DS game on the Vita, especially if it's gonna look and play like a 3DS game. A PS3/360 game, however, I'm fine being multiplatform, since they're highly likely to play the same, so I can just get the version I want based on other factors.

BornOfEvil

#11

BornOfEvil said:

@get2sammyb I agree. A lot of people on YouTube go on about how all games should be available for all platforms, without thinking about the consequences. Yes, having all games available on every platform would stop most of the arguing, but then you have to worry about the dreaded (to me anyway) one console future.

Jaz007

#13

Jaz007 said:

I'm glad there are exclusive games. I like having two different experiences on Wii U and PS. (The bit of me inside that is a little bit of a fanboy for Sony enjoys it too lol.)

rjejr

#14

rjejr said:

@ShogunRok - " I can see why being exclusive is regarded as a seal of quality."

Completely agree. For me it's not important that games are exclusive out of some immature fanboi feud, but historically 1st games - hence exclusives - are just better. Nintendo's games are by far the best games on the Wii (though I know Xenoblade and Monster Hunter 3 are much loved). All my favorite PS2 games were exclusive. Dreamcast games - all the good ones were ported later.

A games hype isn't better b/c it's an exclusive, being an exclusive helps the developers make the game better. Don't confuse the chicken w/ the egg.

BTW - Rayman Legends fans were NOT distraught over it losing it's exclusive status, they were irate b/c the originally a launch title game that some people bought the WiiU to play got delayed 6 months just 2 weeks before it was supposed to come out when everybody knew the game was already finished. Losing the exclusivity was somebody laughing after they kicked you in the nuts. It was the kick that hurt most though.

ShogunRokAdmin

#15

ShogunRok said:

@rjejr - "A games hype isn't better b/c it's an exclusive, being an exclusive helps the developers make the game better. Don't confuse the chicken w/ the egg."

Ideally this is the case, but there's no denying there are plenty of exclusive stinkers out there, too.

Zombie_Barioth

#16

Zombie_Barioth said:

I think one of the big reasons exclusives tend to do better is because since they're a selling point a console they receive better marketing to promote the platform.

As for quality the exclusive are usually better due to the developers becoming very familiar with that particular hardware to the point of being specialized, and working very closely with the platform holder. I'm willing to bet that many popular franchises, including those from companies like Rare back in the day, wouldn't be quite as well made if they weren't exclusive (excluding hardware differences).

I really don't care if a game is exclusive or not, to me exclusives only influence which platform I choose. I'm actually glad more games are going multi-platform since that narrows things down to exclusives and your platform of choice.

3Above

#17

3Above said:

I prefer exclusives, not only do they tend to be high quality but some games ( like Flower ) would never see the light of day on other consoles while games like RCR can fit almost anywhere. What I would like to know is would games like Halo or The Legend of Zelda be held in such high esteem had they been multiplatform? Final Fatasy didnt benefit from it much. And I still think had FF 13 been PS3 exclusive it would have been better and released sooner.

FullbringIchigo

#18

FullbringIchigo said:

honestly i don't really car if a game is exclusive or not as long as it's fun it doesn't matter if it's also on a system i don't own and after all being on more systems means more people can enjoy the game

not that exclusives ain't important to the console manufacturer because they show what their console is capable of to other developers and publishers thus making their console a more attractive platform for them to develop for

long story short, to the company's they are important but to gamers not so much i think, although the quality of the exclusives can help them pick what console to buy

Splat

#19

Splat said:

@Stuffgamer1 said "No Nintendo fan would ever say that exclusives aren't important...they're pretty much all that's worth playing on Nintendo hardware."

Which is why ever since I got my PS3 my Wii has been collecting dust. I mean don't get me wrong I love Nintendo and always will but their lack of 3rd party games has pushed me away.

I don't own a Wii U and I'm not saying I never will but outside of Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate I really don't feel I'm missing out on anything.

Sanquine

#20

Sanquine said:

I play my console for the exclusives... Otherwise i will use my game pc of .... $ and can play all of them... Funny thing is.... I love that Imsomniac and fuse are going to fail. Why?. Fuse is some reskined resistance game!

Scrible

#21

Scrible said:

If you didn't have exclusives, then we would only need one console to play ALL the games, exclusives are what makes me want one console over the other and i think they are very important

Zetrayrus

#22

Zetrayrus said:

Exclusives are very important for me. Without exclusives, there will be no point buying one console over another wouldn't it? Which is why in my shopping list, I always make it a point to buy exclusives over the multi-platform games. Why buy something that others can have (and most of the time in PS3's case, inferior) when you can buy something that only the PS3 have. (Can I mention that I'm still crying over Ace Combat 6 exclusivity on the Xbox 360?)

And no, I will never buy a game that's also ported to the PC. No matter how badly optimized the game maybe. The PC will still have many options that can make it better than it's console counterparts.

DHW

#23

DHW said:

YES.
OH MY GOD.
Let me just get this out there, any game that is also on Xbox 360 is LIMITED TO THAT SYSTEMS LOW GRAPHICS CAPABILITY!

SH1ELD

#25

SH1ELD said:

Actually Microsoft did it first using "Only on" but the way Sony used to reply is making more "Only on" IP's .

DHW

#26

DHW said:

@CanisWolfred I'm pretty sure that games like Resident Evil 6, Dead Rising, Fuse, etc. would look better if they were built for the PS3. Insomniac Games are capable of doing Ratchet and Clank ACiT back in 09, and Fuse doesn't even look as good as Ratchet and Clank ToD.

Paranoimia

#27

Paranoimia said:

I'm generally not worried about whether a particular game is exclusive, but the range, type and quality of exclusives available will influence my decision.

For now at least, I will always buy a PlayStation because of Sony's exclusive titles. I don't like/buy everything they produce, but they produce more that suits my tastes than anyone else. Even when owning more than one system, it's always been the PlayStation that gets by far the most use.

Neither my original Xbox nor my 360 have ever seen much use, so it's unlikely I'll bother with their next system for some time, if at all. Unless they pull some rabbit from the hat and announce a range of new IP that simply seems too good to miss, but that seems unlikely - probably another Halo/Forza/Gears and some paid-for 3rd-party limited time exclusivity. Their focus seems to be shifting away from games and into the family entertainment sector.

Nintendo have never done anything for me at all. I had the Gamecube for the exclusive Resi games and a couple of others, and that was about it. It's highly unlikely that I'll ever consider one of their systems again.

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