Efficacy of Exclusivity in Gaming

Why in the actual heck are exclusive titles still being released in the gaming world? Having exclusive titles is not a new concept, but it is, in many ways, quite archaic. It made sense in 1997 when development studios on opposite sides of the world had limited means of communication or collaboration and no simple method of porting their games across platforms, but it’s now twenty-freaking-eighteen. If you can find hacked ports and emulators on Reddit of nearly any game out there, then why aren’t the big contenders in the game development industry sitting down and working out a way to bring all of their titles to work on any console? Well, they have. Or at least Microsoft has. In recent years, executives at Microsoft have probed Nintendo and Sony to break down barriers of exclusivity and even allow cross-platform multiplayer. It has been made abundantly clear that, with little to no additional effort, many of the most popular exclusive games out today can be ported over to any of the other major consoles.

In the case of a couple of games like Rocket League and Minecraft, Nintendo has at least been persuaded to allow for cross-platform multiplayer play with gamers between Nintendo Switch and Xbox Live, but the elitists at Sony still show no sign of changing their position. Why do you ask? Well, they released an official statement about protecting their network and their people, but honestly, the real answer is that they don’t really need to. The whole idea behind exclusive titles is to build an enticing enough library that gamers want to buy your console instead of the competitors’ console, which Sony has irrefutably done. Microsoft has a few exclusives they’ve been riding for years, but honestly, are the new Halo and Gears of War games going to convince you to choose an Xbox One over the vast and ever-growing list of wildly successful exclusive titles for the PlayStation 4? In addition, Xbox may pose some competition for Sony in the United States, but Microsoft holds almost no market share in nearly any other part of the world regarding game consoles. According to Statista.com, PS4 sales in 2017 more than doubled that of Xbox One console at nearly 20 million PS4s sold versus just over 8 million Xbox One consoles sold worldwide. These numbers are reflected even more prevalent in lifetime sales with nearly 70 million PS4 units sold over approximately 35 million Xbox One units sold as of January 2018.

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Sony clearly holds the majority of the market on video game consoles on a global scale, and in other densely gamer populated countries like Japan, Microsoft has negligible presence, whereas Sony’s primary competition lately has been the Nintendo Switch, which tends to do well with Nintendo’s traditional niche target audience of children and families, given their track record of whimsical, family-friendly, and general audiences content, however still not coming close to competing with Sony on a global scale.

Unfortunately for those of us hoping this will someday change in our favor, I think we’re out of luck. Sony is so large and established that they do what they want. What they’re doing is working for them financially, which is their primary concern, and the majority of gamers will continue to buy the console that suits their needs. I don’t anticipate an end to the console war happening any time in the near future. And if it does, it will end with Sony continuing to fund development of exclusive content for their consoles, and Microsoft’s Xbox One settling for being the world’s greatest fully integrated media center that just happens to also play video games. I’m just glad I joined the PC master race years ago and ascended above it all.

Our Score:
John Stancell
Happy husband. Dog lover. Avid Star Wars enthusiast. Sub-par gamer.
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