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Console exclusivity and gamer hypocrisy

Street Fighter V

The big news to hit the Internet recently, is that Capcom's newly announced Street Fighter V will be exclusive to the PS4 and Windows PC.

The mere mention of yet another high profile 3rd party IP getting the console exclusivity treatment has caused outrage amongst gamers. More specifically the Xbox crowd, who are outraged that a game from such a popular, previously multiplat franchise will become a console exclusive. Those on the Sony front have been quick to point out the hypocrisy in such a statement, raising the counter argument that Xbox fans were fine with console exclusivity, when Square Enix previously announced they'll be releasing Rise of the Tomb Raider the next title in the highly acclaimed and previously multiplat franchise, Tomb Raider exclusively on Xbox 360 and Xbox One.

Though we eventually learned that Rise of the Tomb Raider is in actual fact only a timed Xbox exclusive, and we have no real reason to assume that this is not also the case for Street Fighter V. The parallels between these two exclusivity deals have been drawn and discussion has led to outright arguments as it so often does.

All valid arguments posed on the subject essentially boil down to this "If it's not OK for Sony to purchase exclusivity rights for a popular multiplat title, then it's not OK for Microsoft" Which in all fairness is true, but what is fair in life is of little consequence in business.

Rise of the Tomb Raider, the one year exclusivity deal that divided a fanbase

It really should come as no surprise to anyone, to learn that the vast majority of console exclusivity deals are made with each participating companies best interest in mind. When either Sony, Microsoft or Nintendo for that matter, decide to purchase exclusivity rights for a popular 3rd party multiplat title, it is more often than not because they wish to use the wide spread popularity of that IP to entice gamers who do not own their console into purchasing it. Because once you own their console you'll probably want to justify that purchase by buying more exclusive games.

But what is in it for the developer you ask? How could it be in their benefit to have their popular multiplat franchise become a console exclusive? In the end, are they not effectively cutting off half of their potential consumer base?

Well, apart from the large sum of money they receive for going through with an exclusivity deal, the developer also receives aid in promoting and advertising their product. Because when a popular multiplat title becomes a console exclusive, you can bet the company who now owns the rights to sell that game on their console will want to let everyone know about it.

This makes perfect sense from a business stand point, but can be seen as quite the dick move by those gamers who now have to wait for the timed exclusivity deal to end. They could do exactly what the company who paid for console exclusivity is hoping for and take the plunge. However, purchasing a new console in order to play the game is not a viable option for everyone.

Console exclusivity of populer multiplat titles is nothing new
Here's some you may remember

People suggesting that Microsoft provoked Sony into making Street Fighter V a console exclusive, is that really not just a convenient way to point the finger and play the blame game? These decisions are not made so arbitrarily.

Yes, Sony in this instance may well be doing what Microsoft have been doing for years. But it would be foolish to claim that Microsoft are forcing their hand, and it would be outright delusional to suggest that Sony themselves have not previously purchased the rights to have popular 3rd party titles exclusively on their consoles.

For every Titanfall there is a Bloodborne
And for every Rise of the Tomb Raider there is Street Fighter V

When all is said and done, 3rd party exclusives exist because they make money. I'm not trying to justify them, just pointing out the reason why they are still a thing and that this is the only reason and justification Sony, Microsoft or Nintendo will ever need. On the other hand though, people are starting to wise up to the fact that many 3rd party exclusives are really just timed exclusives. Making the obvious choose to wait it out, until the game you want is inevitably released on your console of choice a year later with all their patches and DLC on the disc may even save you money in the long run.

For the record, I don't personally feel that multiplat titles like Street Fighter or Tomb Raider, should be made exclusive to just one console. My reasoning is simple, making a game that is part of a long running multiplat franchise, exclusive to just one console inevitably deprives people who have played a large part in making that franchise so popular in the first place.

Image self explanatory...

That's my view, but whatever your opinion may be on the matter, the petty blame games and hypocrisy needs to stop. If a big company chooses to purchase the exclusive rights to a popular 3rd party multiplat title, it will have nothing to do with small minded One-upmanship. It will simply be because they believe profit can be made.

Thanks for checking out my blog. It's been quite a while since I last wrote one and I'm probably a bit rusty. Never the less, I thought the subject would make for an interesting read.

As always, do let me know what your personal views are in the comments section.

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About zerocrossingone of us since 8:30 AM on 07.12.2013