Back when Rise of the Tomb Raider was announced as a timed exclusive for the Xbox One, I wrote two posts about platform exclusivity (1 and 2) with perhaps only a rough idea of what it’s intended to do and what its consequences are. In those two posts, I concluded (rather hastily and not speaking what was really on my mind at the time) that’s it’s mostly alright because it’s a business practice that has always been there in the video game industry. However, I’ve had a rethink and would like to clarify my stance on this.
I’ve changed my mind. I don’t really agree with it anymore, even if they have all the right in the world to do it. I personally see it now as more or less a non-issue on my part. I wrote about it because of a Facebook thread wherein everyone—in hindsight—missed a lot of the factors involved in real-life scenarios regarding this issue. Now that there seems to be a recent development related to this, let’s see what happened.
An Instance When It Actually Mattered
This recent video by TotalBiscuit discusses the “controversy” regarding the recent announcement for Quantum Break going to the PC. It must be noted that it was never explicitly stated that Quantum Break would never be released on the PC; it was assumed to be Xbox One exclusive by the media, thus people believed it to be.
Now that it has been announced for the PC, detractors are complaining that Microsoft were dishonest with how they presented Quantum Break, making people think that it was an Xbox One exclusive while they actually had plans to release it on PC as well, citing it as dishonesty by omission. Perhaps that’s true, but were they ever obligated to actually give out all the information on their product right from the start?
We’ve seen instances of “illusion of choice,” but this one seems to be the “illusion of lack of choice.” It may seem like it borders on being completely ridiculous, but it does seem to happen. Perhaps Microsoft did intend to deceive people into thinking that Quantum Break was only going to be on the Xbox One just to ship more consoles.
Wait, isn’t that what the first two articles were about?
Does Platform Exclusivity Benefit Anyone?
Only the console company, that’s for sure. While that hasn’t stopped certain games to gain success (Naughty Dog comes to mind), it may not seem that big of a deal for the most part. Multiple platform releases are mostly for reaching the biggest audience possible with said game, but it does take more money to port a game to other platforms.
It certainly doesn’t benefit the average gamer. Perhaps a number of prominent platform exclusives tend to be of great quality, so that’s going for them. However, while you lament on that one game you can’t have because you don’t own [insert platform here], there are tons of other games available vying for your attention.
The first two posts on this blog about this topic was about how platform exclusivity is not really that bad of a thing and that there’s no need to panic when a game is announced as an exclusive since stuff like this happens all the time. However, it also doesn’t really benefit the consumer in anyway, and that should be the be-all-end-all benchmark here. Just because something is a viable and commonplace business practice and doesn’t merit losing your shit, doesn’t mean it’s “100% okay.”
If there ever is just one platform in which you can play them all, then that would be great for everyone. But unless you really want those exclusives, might as well invest in a good PC. There are still a ton of games to be had, including all the awesome indie titles that have been coming out on Steam, despite the continued existence of console-exclusive titles.
Get in touch with this cornucopia of fucking splendor. How amazing is the current games market, despite all the shit around it?
Meanwhile, as a game developer, there are a lot of benefits to being exclusive to one platform, including being taken care of by that console company (perhaps). But other than that, your product better be good or you’re hamstringing yourself by limiting your game to one platform. (Not that it’s a problem for mobile developers, it seems.)
Whether it really does affect me or not, I think that there’s too many games for me to go through that should keep me too occupied to even care. For instance, I’ve always wanted to play the new Killer Instinct, but I haven’t been compelled to buy an Xbox One.
Meanwhile, I do have a PS3, so I do own The Last of Us and Red Dead Redemption. Does that make me feel special? Not necessarily. However, this isn’t vehement rejection but merely surrender. On one hand, there’s nothing wrong with it; on the other hand, it’s a charade that gets gamers worked up for nothing. I’m done with it, even if it actually does matter.
The conclusion is this—it’s not worth going mad about, but it’s not something to sing about either. The corporate suits can do what they want to because that’s what they do, but it’s not like we have to like it.
I’m done with this. I shouldn’t have touched it in the first place. Those first two posts make me absolutely sick to my stomach now.
Do you think this is a stupid blog post or do you think it was right all along to hate on the big publishers for doing this type of shit?
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