What would the gaming industry look like without exclusives?

So, the thread about MLB The Show got me wondering. A vast amount of people think exclusives are evil greed fuel, but on the other hand they are typically some of the best made games, regardless of platform.

For example, how would Super Mario World, Mario 64, Zelda: Ocarina of Time have turned out if they weren't developed under Nintendo's singular, visionary control?

Would Half-Life 2 have been the same if it was also developed in tandem for consoles?

Would Bloodborne be considered the highest quality entry in the SoulsBorne series if Bandai Namco headed its development?

Would games like God of War or Horizon: Zero Dawn be plagued with micro transactions or on-disc dlc for an added fee?

The list could go on for quite a while.

On one hand, it can be good for gamers who want to play games while not having to buy a second console to do so. On the other, I highly doubt exclusives would be as good as they could be as games. They add an extra layer of quality control and insulation towards ensuring the developers get as close to reaching their vision as possible.

Your thoughts...

Well, the NES wouldn't had been as big of a success in the 80's without Nintendo's exclusivity policies (they were pretty aggressive in that regard until Sega managed to grow big enough to actually compete against them); so the industry would be very different (I dare to say, nigh unrecognizable or even non-existent) .

Exclusives has always been around, either because console companies have a platform that they was to fund specific projects in order to bring more people to the platform, or because there was no other gaming option.

I guess if you want a small glimpse of what that would be like. Look at Microsoft. They are the only console company who decided to have ZERO exclusives and as a result nobody fucking cares about their shitBox. It's a console that sold 40 million units, which sounds impressive on paper until you realize that is less than HALF what the 360 (which had exclusives) sold and doesn't even crack the top 10 best selling consoles of all time.

The Switch which has been available for less than half the time that the Xbox One has been on sale has already sold more units.

I know people like to complain about exclusives but they are what drives console business. Without companies investing in them, I don't think we would have consoles. Or at least no choice for consoles, there might be 1 console and pc gaming and that's it.

Exclusives allow for potentially better games as a dev can focus on a singular piece of hardware. In theory, only having a single system with every single game would be the best thing for gamers if the company in charge wouldn't take complete advantage of the situation.

hanselthecaretaker:
Would Bloodborne be considered the highest quality entry in the SoulsBorne series if Bandai Namco headed its development?

Bloodborne wouldn't exist without being an exclusive as the concept was actually Sony's idea. And if Sony made it without From, it probably wouldn't be a Souls game then. Although if there wasn't exclusives then it probably wouldn't have gotten made because Sony probably wouldn't even be a game publisher/developer.

We probably wouldn't have big flag ship franchises that have made up a big part of gaming. Exclusives tend to have bigger budgets and are usually decent at minimum (I'm not counting launch titles as those are usually jokes). Mario, GoW, Bloodborne, HZD, Halo, Last of Us ect would all either not exist or be significantly reduced in scope.

In some ways console exclusives are similar to how Hollywood studios had their own theaters until they were broken up by anti trust laws. There were fewer movies released a year but they had much bigger budgets and took on more risky projects. If they flopped it wasn't hard to make the money back with their safer films because all the ticket sales went back to the studios. After the theaters were broken up, more movies were produced at a lower budget and there was much less risk taking on the part of studios which continues to this day. Console exclusivity going away would play out the same way I imagine.

Sometimes I think the discussion is framed under the assumption that the game's natural state is that it should be available in all platforms from the beginning; but that's not based on reality.

You don't need to speculate, just look at what sort of games already are multiplat, it'd be that, just that. Stuff like Bloodborne or Bayonetta 2 wouldn't actually exist without the exclusivity system giving their devs the funds in exchange for exclusivity.

I can understand exclusivity leads to certain games being made.

Also, I will NEVER EVER play Bloodborne despite how much I like Dark Souls. Either way I don't play it, so it's not relevant to me

trunkage:
I can understand exclusivity leads to certain games being made.

Also, I will NEVER EVER play Bloodborne despite how much I like Dark Souls. Either way I don't play it, so it's not relevant to me

Why? Because you refuse to get a Playstation 4? Or some other reason? Surely you must have some way to play modern games, otherwise your presence on this forum is quite outdated isn't it?

If you did not, or will not, buy a PS4 did you get an Xbone?

Exclusives are important. They are what drive sales of a platform.

If i see an xbox and a playstation, both at the same price and are functionally the same, which let's be honest they pretty much are, Exclusives are going to be a deciding factor.

That's literally what made me pick up a ps4 instead of a Xbone. There are 0 exclusives on xbox that i want to play. But on Playstation, the exclusives that interest me are plenty.

Of course, that could be the opposite for someone else. If 90% of the games are multi-platform, the remaining 10% are what's going to influence my purchase.

There's another reason exclusives are important. And that's budget. Sony and Microsofts 1st party titles have bigger budgets than most AAA games. The reason for this is because they are meant to be literally system sellers. Bigger budget ( usually) mean better quality. Look at Horizon zero dawn, God of War, Spiderman or Bloodborn. These are objectively big budget , high quality games. Sure some games get the shaft due to budget distribution like Dayz gone. But more often than not these console exclusive are of better quality than most other games.

Here's a video of Jim sterling talking about the importance of exclusives.

https://youtu.be/gJBGJleZEpM

trunkage:
I can understand exclusivity leads to certain games being made.

Also, I will NEVER EVER play Bloodborne despite how much I like Dark Souls. Either way I don't play it, so it's not relevant to me

Try Code Vein then, it feels like BB the most out of all of the soulsborne games.

A more boring place. End of story.

Lufia Erim:
Exclusives are important. They are what drive sales of a platform.

Precisely, which is why exclusives are a horrible, exploitative business practice. Instead of each console platform being driven to have unique and effective features that allows them to sell on their own merits, it's just "what exclusives do you want the most?" On top of it, it's forcing those that want enough exclusives on each possible platform to purchase every console every generation to be able to get them. This is why the Xbox One and the PS4 have been basically just mid level at best PCs that are only incapable of functioning as PCs due to built in software preventing it. Both aren't trying to be different from each other and PCs because they have no reason to be, only Nintendo even attempts it and their attempts have been iffy at best.

Exclusives are disgusting, and if they didn't exist we'd have consoles with very different specifications and capabilities all competing to grab the attention of consumers. People also assume that many games only exist because they are exclusives and were funded for that reason, as though they couldn't possibly have gotten funding elsewhere.

Exclusives have always existed in the video game industry, doesn't mean it's a good thing in any capacity small or large.

CritialGaming:

I guess if you want a small glimpse of what that would be like. Look at Microsoft. They are the only console company who decided to have ZERO exclusives and as a result nobody fucking cares about their shitBox. It's a console that sold 40 million units, which sounds impressive on paper until you realize that is less than HALF what the 360 (which had exclusives) sold and doesn't even crack the top 10 best selling consoles of all time.

The Switch which has been available for less than half the time that the Xbox One has been on sale has already sold more units.

That would be because the Xbox One has nothing to recommend it over the PS4. It doesn't have unique control methods, it's not more powerful, it doesn't have online functions the PS4 doesn't, it doesn't have anything. Exclusives would just force people to buy a vastly inferior console for no good reason.

immortalfrieza:

Lufia Erim:
Exclusives are important. They are what drive sales of a platform.

Precisely, which is why exclusives are a horrible, exploitative business practice. Instead of each console platform being driven to have unique and effective features that allows them to sell on their own merits, it's just "what exclusives do you want the most?" On top of it, it's forcing those that want enough exclusives on each possible platform to purchase every console every generation to be able to get them. This is why the Xbox One and the PS4 have been basically just mid level at best PCs that are only incapable of functioning as PCs due to built in software preventing it. Both aren't trying to be different from each other and PCs because they have no reason to be, only Nintendo even attempts it and their attempts have been iffy at best.

Exclusives are disgusting, and if they didn't exist we'd have consoles with very different specifications and capabilities all competing to grab the attention of consumers. People also assume that many games only exist because they are exclusives and were funded for that reason, as though they couldn't possibly have gotten funding elsewhere.

Not really, just look at PC gaming with millions of different hardware combinations and specs. There's no games taking advantage of better specs of a high-end gaming PC currently, there's no current Crysis for example. All the best games can run on low-end hardware like Disco Elysium, Divinity, Baba is You, Slay the Spire, etc. You don't even need a video card to play any of those games. The games that actually need high-end hardware to run like how RTSs are dependent on fast CPUs are at a holding pattern because devs don't know how to code the AI across multiple cores so said games can't utilize multiple cores which is where CPU improvements and development has gone to. And guess what, consoles have enough CPU power to play those games if devs knew how to code AI across multiple cores. Outside of VR getting to where we all want it to be, there's really nothing hardware-wise to add to gaming, motion controls were really just a poor-man's VR; it was cool for a minute until you realized you can do the same thing better with a normal controller. Even if you had systems with uniquely different add-on peripherals, multiplatform games would hardly utilize them because the games would be designed for all systems and you'd be back to exclusives taking advantage of any system's uniqueness anyway. Lastly, almost all the most interesting gameplay systems are being done outside of video games in the board game space and all they utilize are paper, plastic, and wood. They don't need to conform to any systems or control interfaces so every game is free to be completely unique in components and mechanics.

What's that? A world without exclusives?

image

(Sorry- couldn't resist)

Then we wouldn't have mascots for consoles and their companies. Consoles would probably not exist, and games would only be for PC.

CritialGaming:

trunkage:
I can understand exclusivity leads to certain games being made.

Also, I will NEVER EVER play Bloodborne despite how much I like Dark Souls. Either way I don't play it, so it's not relevant to me

Why? Because you refuse to get a Playstation 4? Or some other reason? Surely you must have some way to play modern games, otherwise your presence on this forum is quite outdated isn't it?

If you did not, or will not, buy a PS4 did you get an Xbone?

Nope. The only console I bought since a Mega Drive/Genesis is the first Xbox, mainly to LAN some Halo (that's non-Nintendo). I bought a Wii in 2007 and Switch in 2018. Over 10 years without a buying a console. And that was more because both my wife and I saw value in it. And I've never hooked the Switch to a TV.

Having exclusivity is a massive turn off. I wish they would stop with that nonsense But then, as stated above, I'm probably never going to buy one.

No game have EVER been good enough to buy a console. I also detest Epic and Steams exclusivity deals. I've been so pro-Steam for a decade but that nonsense has made me turn against them.

Sony has deigned that I not play Bloodborne, so be it. Bring it to PC and I'll definitely play it

Dreiko:

trunkage:
I can understand exclusivity leads to certain games being made.

Also, I will NEVER EVER play Bloodborne despite how much I like Dark Souls. Either way I don't play it, so it's not relevant to me

Try Code Vein then, it feels like BB the most out of all of the soulsborne games.

Just spent $1500 on a new PC. So it won't be happening soon. But I'll definitely put it on my list (I had to skip Sekiro to save up too, so I've got lots to catch up on)

Marik2:
Then we wouldn't have mascots for consoles and their companies. Consoles would probably not exist, and games would only be for PC.

Dont joke about such paradises that shall not exist

trunkage:

Dreiko:

trunkage:
I can understand exclusivity leads to certain games being made.

Also, I will NEVER EVER play Bloodborne despite how much I like Dark Souls. Either way I don't play it, so it's not relevant to me

Try Code Vein then, it feels like BB the most out of all of the soulsborne games.

Just spent $1500 on a new PC. So it won't be happening soon. But I'll definitely put it on my list (I had to skip Sekiro to save up too, so I've got lots to catch up on)

Sekiro feels like its own thing, the systems are there, sure, but it feels way more like a legit proper action game than anything stat-heavy like soulsborne stuff or code vein. It's basically really fast and reaction based, right up my alley as a fighter player but definitely not an rpg or Arpg.

Phoenixmgs:

hanselthecaretaker:
Would Bloodborne be considered the highest quality entry in the SoulsBorne series if Bandai Namco headed its development?

Bloodborne wouldn't exist without being an exclusive as the concept was actually Sony's idea. And if Sony made it without From, it probably wouldn't be a Souls game then. Although if there wasn't exclusives then it probably wouldn't have gotten made because Sony probably wouldn't even be a game publisher/developer.

From what I understand Bloodborne originated from Yoshida making it up to Miyazaki. Yoshida considered Demon's Souls garbage and if Atlus didn't secure the publishing rights it would have probably not been released in the first place. Ofcourse, Demon's became a cult hit b/c word of mouth and spawned the highly succesful Dark Souls series. After this I think Yoshida really respected Miyazaki's vision and this allowed the budget for From and Japan Studio to make Bloodborne.

No company likes to gamble with a new IP but Bamco also greenlighted Dark Souls at a time this type of game was still a much riskier endeavour. Elden Ring, From's 'biggest game to date' is also published by Bamco. So, I don't think if Bloodborne wasn't exclusive and the idea was pitched to Bamco they'd reject it altogether. I think it's more likely that the game couldn't be made without the in-house support of Japan Studio, which are really good at technical and engine stuff and had experience working with From. Dark Souls and Dark Souls 3 uses same engine as Demon's and Bloodborne respectively. I mean, before their collaboration with SCEJ From's games weren't exactly the greatest. They really owe their success to Demon's Souls and primarily Miyazaki salvaging that project.

What would distinguish one console from another if not for exclusives? It sells the system. Even if gaming eventually moved to subscription based streaming service there would still be a need for platform exclusive content. I mean, it's pretty much common knowledge Microsoft has done comparitively weaker this gen b/c of a lack of 'must play' exclusives and why Sony is so succesful with the PS4.

immortalfrieza:

That would be because the Xbox One has nothing to recommend it over the PS4. It doesn't have unique control methods, it's not more powerful, it doesn't have online functions the PS4 doesn't, it doesn't have anything. Exclusives would just force people to buy a vastly inferior console for no good reason.

Which is why exclusive work. The Playstation is the weaker console between it and the Xbone, so why is it so vastly more popular and successful? The simple answer is exclusives. Because Sony invested in making quality experiences solely for their system, they gained an appeal that the Xbox could not keep up with due to Microsofts decision to have no exclusives whatsoever. The few games that were committed to Xbox all got thrown on PC and anyone who had a choice between playing Halo, Gears, Forza on PC would do so over getting a Xbox that certainly doesn't hold a candle to a PC's power.

I myself am a mostly PC gamer. If the game is on PC, I get it there everytime. But I have a Playstation 4, why? Because Bloodborne is a game, Horizon Zero Dawn, Persona 5, God of War, etc etc etc. Not only did Sony make exclusives, they made GOOD exclusives. Which is something Microsoft seemed unwilling to invest in. Perhaps they desided not to spend the money after the Xbone reveal disaster but i don't think that's why. It just seems like Xbox gave up on this generation entirely for whatever reason.

CritialGaming:

immortalfrieza:

That would be because the Xbox One has nothing to recommend it over the PS4. It doesn't have unique control methods, it's not more powerful, it doesn't have online functions the PS4 doesn't, it doesn't have anything. Exclusives would just force people to buy a vastly inferior console for no good reason.

Which is why exclusive work. The Playstation is the weaker console between it and the Xbone, so why is it so vastly more popular and successful? The simple answer is exclusives. Because Sony invested in making quality experiences solely for their system, they gained an appeal that the Xbox could not keep up with due to Microsofts decision to have no exclusives whatsoever. The few games that were committed to Xbox all got thrown on PC and anyone who had a choice between playing Halo, Gears, Forza on PC would do so over getting a Xbox that certainly doesn't hold a candle to a PC's power.

I myself am a mostly PC gamer. If the game is on PC, I get it there everytime. But I have a Playstation 4, why? Because Bloodborne is a game, Horizon Zero Dawn, Persona 5, God of War, etc etc etc. Not only did Sony make exclusives, they made GOOD exclusives. Which is something Microsoft seemed unwilling to invest in. Perhaps they desided not to spend the money after the Xbone reveal disaster but i don't think that's why. It just seems like Xbox gave up on this generation entirely for whatever reason.

Give credit where credit is due. The developer studios made the games, not Sony.

CaitSeith:

Give credit where credit is due. The developer studios made the games, not Sony.

Well yes, but Sony gave them the money and the time to develop something good. And it doesn't always work out, ie. Order 1886.

Microsoft might also give developers time, but possibly not money, I don't really know how to explain Quantum Break, Recore, Sunset Overdrive, Crackdown3 (which surely had a fuck load of time).

Sunset Overdrive was even done by the same people behind Sony's Spider-Man, so if the developer is the same what did Sony do differently than yielded a far better game?

Same thing for Remedy why was Control so much better than QB? Sure QB tried to do something different, and maybe all the money went into the shitty TV show part of the game, but still, clearly the developer is capable of making awesome stuff so something under Microsoft's direction hurts these studios and the games they produce for them.

Decent video on why Sony has more exclusives. Also a good article to further reinforce what Sony is doing right with their in house teams. It's like a nurturing ecosystem where the only prerequisite besides talent and work ethic is having a deep love for the video game medium.

Just make everything a timed exclusive.

Exclusives drive console sales to some degree, but Xbox has no exclusives worth mentioning, and they generate billions in revenue off of a rentier scam called Xbox Live.

I don't like my name anymore:
Just make everything a timed exclusive.

I think we'll be seeing a lot more of that now.

Rumors that Horizon: Zero Dawn is the next PS4 exclusive to go to PC.

https://www.gamesradar.com/horizon-zero-dawn-pc-release-hinted-at-by-insider-who-predicted-the-same-thing-for-death-stranding/

https://screenrant.com/horizon-zero-dawn-pc-release-date-rumor-february/

Strelok:

I don't like my name anymore:
Just make everything a timed exclusive.

I think we'll be seeing a lot more of that now.

Rumors that Horizon: Zero Dawn is the next PS4 exclusive to go to PC.

https://www.gamesradar.com/horizon-zero-dawn-pc-release-hinted-at-by-insider-who-predicted-the-same-thing-for-death-stranding/

https://screenrant.com/horizon-zero-dawn-pc-release-date-rumor-february/

But on which distribution platform?

Why are people almost exclusively discussing developer control/ budget? You can have a game developed by a single studio with full control, even an in-house one at a platform holder like Sony or Nintendo, without it being exclusive.

The two are connected, but they're not inextricable.

immortalfrieza:

Exclusives are disgusting, and if they didn't exist we'd have consoles with very different specifications and capabilities all competing to grab the attention of consumers.

May I offer an alternative but somewhat darker scenario?

If every game was on every console then the consumer would flock to the company that could provide the cheapest hardware.

Say Microsoft released their hardware at $199 when everyone else was releasing their own at $299, who the hell would pay the extra $100 for the hardware from the other companies? Sure gimmicks would pull in some people but for most the opportunity to play the latest generation of games for a $100 less would be a very big pull.

Microsoft are now outselling their rivals by a huge margin, potentially forcing one or more of them out of business. They can now start to apply pressure to the publishers and developers to favour Xbox Live connectivity or perhaps they don't like that piece of content in the game you've submitted for approval, it'd be a shame if you couldn't release it on the best selling system...wouldn't it!

Inside one generation Microsoft now control the console gaming market. Be a shame if anything happened to the PC.

Yes of course that is outlandish but it's just as valid as your own interpretation. Exclusives have a purpose, even if most of us don't like it.

votemarvel:

immortalfrieza:

Exclusives are disgusting, and if they didn't exist we'd have consoles with very different specifications and capabilities all competing to grab the attention of consumers.

May I offer an alternative but somewhat darker scenario?

If every game was on every console then the consumer would flock to the company that could provide the cheapest hardware.

Say Microsoft released their hardware at $199 when everyone else was releasing their own at $299, who the hell would pay the extra $100 for the hardware from the other companies? Sure gimmicks would pull in some people but for most the opportunity to play the latest generation of games for a $100 less would be a very big pull.

Microsoft are now outselling their rivals by a huge margin, potentially forcing one or more of them out of business. They can now start to apply pressure to the publishers and developers to favour Xbox Live connectivity or perhaps they don't like that piece of content in the game you've submitted for approval, it'd be a shame if you couldn't release it on the best selling system...wouldn't it!

Inside one generation Microsoft now control the console gaming market. Be a shame if anything happened to the PC.

Yes of course that is outlandish but it's just as valid as your own interpretation. Exclusives have a purpose, even if most of us don't like it.

Just like how there's only 1 brand of crackers or 1 brand of soda or 1 brand of X because it's the cheapest, therefore it ran out all the other ones out of business trying to compete with it and nobody can get a foothold in the market because that 1 brand is already selling it for as little as possible.

No. Cost is not the be all and end all, and if it was then the reaction of the other console makers would be to lower their own prices in order to compete better. People buy things because they prefer them since they are better in some way than the rest or provide something the others don't, cost is rarely if ever the sole reason anyone buys something. If anything you said could be even remotely viable in any scenario free market couldn't even exist. Exclusives have no purpose except to ensure that none of these console makers need to make any real effort to compete with each other on the merits of the console itself, just on whatever exclusive games they've happened to snap up or make themselves.

votemarvel:

immortalfrieza:

Exclusives are disgusting, and if they didn't exist we'd have consoles with very different specifications and capabilities all competing to grab the attention of consumers.

May I offer an alternative but somewhat darker scenario?

If every game was on every console then the consumer would flock to the company that could provide the cheapest hardware.

Say Microsoft released their hardware at $199 when everyone else was releasing their own at $299, who the hell would pay the extra $100 for the hardware from the other companies? Sure gimmicks would pull in some people but for most the opportunity to play the latest generation of games for a $100 less would be a very big pull.

Microsoft are now outselling their rivals by a huge margin, potentially forcing one or more of them out of business. They can now start to apply pressure to the publishers and developers to favour Xbox Live connectivity or perhaps they don't like that piece of content in the game you've submitted for approval, it'd be a shame if you couldn't release it on the best selling system...wouldn't it!

Inside one generation Microsoft now control the console gaming market. Be a shame if anything happened to the PC.

Yes of course that is outlandish but it's just as valid as your own interpretation. Exclusives have a purpose, even if most of us don't like it.

So, if I save that $100, what am I not getting in the cheaper console?

 

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