Exclusivity has been a staple of the console business since its inception, but as part of a candid keynote at the IndieCade conference in Los Angeles this week, Sony’s vice president of publisher and developer relations Adam Boyes admitted that the practice isn’t always productive for platform holders or developers.
“Right now, exclusives are just a way for [console makers] to brag louder,” he admitted. “Nobody gains from exclusivity in perpetuity.” The executive went on to liken manufacturers to car dealerships, where indie developers represent high-end mechanics that are capable of tuning a machine’s performance and bringing innovation to the platform. However, he added that long-term exclusivity doesn’t fit that analogy."Developers now have the option to deliver on a huge number of systems," he explained. "We want developers to be successful."
Context is important here, as we don’t believe that Boyes is suggesting that The Last of Us should be published on a non-PlayStation format any time soon. As the head of the firm’s indie initiative, though, we think that he’s saying that the company is not interested in locking releases to a single system, but rather cultivating an environment for smaller studios to succeed. And in that instance, we absolutely agree with the sentiment.