Are Console Exclusives Good News?

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Gamescom is finally here and a bunch of games will receive announcements, release dates and hopefully, playable gameplay demos. All eyes will turn towards Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo to see what they can offer in way of exclusives.

Whilst this games development tactic may not always be the best for the consumer, it is extremely important for the future of console gaming.

And here’s why!

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Rise of The Developer

Gives smaller, less well-known development teams a shot at creating their own AAA titles – a chance they may otherwise never get.

After the release of the PlayStation in 1994, Sony were looking for their own mascot that could stand up to the likes of Mario and Sonic. And so, looked towards striking a deal with the relatively inexperienced two-man company, Naughty Dog.

Gamescom exclusive games image 1

Andy Gavin and Jason Rubin, the geniuses at Naughty Dog, originally had plans to create a 3D platformer but didn’t fully realize their vision as Crash Bandicoot until Sony backed them with time and resources.

Sony released early dev kit versions of their consoles to their developers, allowing them to maximize the hardware. In the blog posts on All Things Andy Gavin, Rubin says,

“Hitting the hardware directly was against the rules. But by the time Sony saw the results … It was too late for them to complain.”

The agreement was also very beneficial to Sony as it meant they could easily suss out potential talent and have the best chance of creating the best possible games – this is now common practice within the gaming industry.

Crash Bandicoot went onto receive critical acclaim, with a score of 80 (according to Metacritic) and praised for its creativity and ingenuity. It also features in the top 10 bestselling games of all time for the PlayStation, selling 6.8 million units.

This start has no doubt helped to make Naughty Dog the studio it is today and allowed them to continue the total mastery of their craft on future PlayStation consoles.

With the new generation of consoles on the horizon (see https://cultureofgaming.com/ps5-vs-xbox-two-which-will-release-first/), why not allow for more opportunities for smaller developers to produce other critically acclaimed exclusives, especially as gaming looks to be going in this direction.

Justification

Exclusives give a reason to own a console over PC, especially for those who prefer gaming with a controller.

I know what you’re thinking, if a company is going to spend all the resources and go through the effort of making a game, surely it would be best to release it on all platforms, giving it the biggest possible reach.

However, releasing exclusively on a console helps to define a console generation. Most gamers will think of the exclusive titles when looking back on a specific console – I know I do. When I look back on the PlayStation 2, I instantly remember Shadow of the Colossus and ICO. Therefore, giving cause to purchase a new console or going back to an older one as there is nowhere else to play these games.

According to research by IDATE DigiWorld, digital sales will account for nearly 93% of all game sales within four years. The data forecasts the quickest growth of digital revenue to be within the home console market. This explains the need from Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo to release more in-house content as console exclusives have shown to perform digitally.

With the increase in digital sales console ownership is the future of gaming, sporting a more Netflix-like streaming experience.

Innovation

Allows for innovation and rebooting of series that are otherwise forgotten about. Meaning these series end up with poor adaptations and lack of support which, historically, sell terribly.

In the past few years, two hugely popular series have seen a return; God of War and Tomb Raider. Both series’ sales figures have been dwindling and struggled to hit the same heights they once were.

New life has been breathed into these titles due to being console exclusives. God of War has sold over five million copies and appears 3rd in the top 10 best-selling games on PS4. And Rise of The Tomb Raider, a timed exclusive, has also seen similar success, selling over one million copies on the Xbox One alone.

On top of this, more chance is taken by companies to support the creation of innovative and original titles. Intellectual properties such as Super Mario Bros, Halo and Horizon Zero Dawn are born to support their respective consoles. These critically acclaimed series have shown longevity and their success has seen sequels being developed for other console generations.

Without console exclusives, we may never have been able to play such titles and witness gaming to be the juggernaut of an industry it is today.

Extra Life

The release of exclusive games is boosting the lifespan of a console and results in the consumer getting more value. This also gives companies a longer sales period as they will initially operate at a loss during a console release.

Gamescom exclusive games image 4

There is a direct correlation between the number of exclusives a console receives and the consoles lifespan for each company.

Nintendo and Sony released the most exclusives for the NES and the PlayStation 2. Thanks to that they have the longest lifespans out of any console.

The average life span for each company is eclipsed for the console that has the most exclusives. Also, the consoles with the lowest number of exclusives had a shorter than the average lifespan, showcasing their importance. This rings true for each companies’ consoles throughout the respective generations.

The best-selling games on the current generation of consoles also shows the commercial power of exclusives. On PS4 and Xbox One, five out of the top 10 best-selling games are exclusives. Seven out of the top 10 best-selling games are exclusives on Switch – the other three are Wii U ports.

This trend of console exclusives performing healthily means consoles are supported longer and so, increases console ownership overall.

Do you Agree? Do you Disagree? Let us know what you think.

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Ahmed Lulat

Covers all things nerdy, which if you're reading this, makes perfect sense. When he isn't raging on the PlayStation, you can catch him following the mighty Liverpool FC and re-watching Scrubs for the umpteenth time.

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