The Necessity of Console Exclusives

Wii U, 3DS, PS4, and Xbox One

When I wrote about picking the Wii U over the PS4 and Xbox One, I pointed out that most Third Party games are multiplatform, including PC. This meant that even though PS4 and Xbox One get third party games, basing your decision off them is pretty much useless. Getting a home console should be for getting unique or the best experiences. If the games you would buy for the PS4 exist on the Xbox One or PC, how does that help you determine which console to get? Right now, the only things I can think of for determining which system to get is friends and exclusives. When the Xbox One was going to be completely different from the PS4, that was an easy choice (PS4), but since Microsoft pulled a 180, they are pretty much the same system for general purposes (i.e. playing games).

Nintendo has been known for making the party system, which definitely helps in the friends department as you can even play games with friends who aren’t “hardcore”. However, the thing that the media has been telling gamers this year is the quality of the Wii U’s exclusive library. Since the Wii U doesn’t get many multiplatform games due to its low sales and older hardware, it relies on producing exclusive content and experiences.

The gamepad is totally under-utilized

The gamepad is totally under-utilized

Some gamers complain about the new Tomb Raider being exclusive to Xbox One or Street Fighter V coming only to PS4 and PC, but these exclusives are necessary, especially in this early stage. Lately we have been hearing about major game releases having game breaking bugs. Even when development was limited to just PS4 and Xbox One, Assassins Creed Unity still was affected. Even more was that Drive Club on the PS4 had difficulties. If Sony is having trouble developing for their own system, then multiplatform development should be even more troublesome. This is because developers haven’t mastered development for the system yet. When publishers insist on a new game being on multiple new platforms, there is increase chance of the games not being polished at the end of the deadline. This is even more likely as games get bigger and bigger to justify the $60 cost with the competition from Steam sales and the App Store.

While the new systems are probably much easier to develop for than the previous generation, the learning period for mastering all techniques still takes time. An article from IGN talked about the development of Kingdom Hearts III and how it looks fantastic now, but now there is so much more that has to be done that they never had to worry about before. This probably affected Nintendo more than the PS4 and Xbox one as games they had intended to release in the launch window didn’t see release for another year. The benefit is that we don’t hear of so many glitches and broken games unless we talk about games like Super Smash Bros. (a series which is known for glitches anyways but always fun). Since the game is only confined to one system, glitches can be found and ironed out but this is harder to fix when the game is on multiple platforms. Publishers making these exclusive deals may lose potential sales, but they help put AAA back into “AAA titles” as their developers can now focus on mastering a platform and making a major change is not as daunting of a task.

Part of the difficulties when writing code is that it can become quite tedious. You have to test every little change you make as it affects the whole program. It is not unheard of that while changing lines of code, you forget the reason it was there in the first place. They also tend to be placeholders and imperfect fixes until you can figure out how to solve a problem. It is easy to overlook these as time goes on in the long months of programming. Imagine how easy it is to overlook them when you have to review the code for multiple platforms? Even if using the same engine, perhaps that engine doesn’t play the same way on the different platforms, especially the newer ones.

Also consider what happens when a game is completely reworked. Unless they are given an extension, that’s months of valuable coding. I can’t imagine developers completely tossing the code away. They will try to use some of those scripts in attempt to save some time. However, this means the code might be modded a little bit and not perfect for the new course of development. This would be even worse if development was for multiple platforms that are unfamiliar. I personally think it’s best for developers to learn how to play with one new console at a time. Doing this helps in differentiating consoles for the consumers when we currently only have first-party exclusives to help with that.

Remember that even with an increase in exclusives, we’ll still get some buggy games, but I do think that it’s best for the games industry as a whole. The best situation is that the bugs are more hilarious than game breaking. It’s also nice to know that there are great games to play on a certain platform, but when you are pretty much only touting multiplatform games (that also exist on PC) or ports from the previous generation, that’s not enough to tell me your system is worth buying yet. Give me exclusives that I actually want, and then I’ll talk with my money.

Share this post:Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on TumblrEmail this to someoneShare on StumbleUponDigg this

About The Author

Feature Writer/Game Reviewer

Blogger in the IGN community and no longer for Always Nintendo. You can find him still blogging in the IGN community as FalconRise