Exclusives: Sony's loss, Microsoft's gain
Chris Kohler of Wired magazine recently took a moment to list exclusives that Sony has lost to Microsoft. Perhaps the most intriguing titles on the list are GTAIV and Assassin's Creed, both of which were offered as exclusives to Sony. Sony didn't pursue the titles as exclusives, and two major titles became simultaneous releases for multiple platforms. Another interesting story is Beautiful Katamari which began as a mutliplatform title and is now slated only for Xbox 360. Finally, according to the article, Metal Gear Solid 4 on 360 is only a matter of time. The article is a decent read and serves as a good conversation starter (without even considering once Sony-only franchises like Ace Combat). It begs the question: are console exclusives as important as they once were?
Console exclusive titles have historically been very important in the video game industry. One need only look back at the incredible success of Grand Theft Auto III (originally available only for the Playstation 2) to see that one great game can move consoles off of store shelves and into gamers' homes. Halo, for example, was Microsoft's killer app for the Xbox, and it went a long way toward securing the hardcore base that the Xbox still enjoys today. However, as game design becomes more complex and consequently more expensive, developers are much more concerned with getting a return on their investment. This fact has likely become more apparent to Sony over the last year or so, as more and more previously exclusive titles are finding their way to the Xbox 360. Still, even with the rising cost of development, it seems Microsoft has managed to snag its fair share of exclusives like Dead Rising, Dead or Alive 4, and Gears of War. There are more on the way too: BioShock, Alan Wake, Mass Effect, Halo 3 and many others. Whether or not these games are enough to sway gamers from a PS3 purchase remains to be seen. They certainly make a powerful argument.