Where do you go when you want some fast food? Well, that depends. If you want a Whopper — Burger King. A Chalupa — Taco Bell. Big Mac — McDonald’s. Spicy Chicken Sandwich — Wendy’s? Popeye’s? Everyone has a Spicy Chicken Sandwich these days.
Now, let’s imagine a world where all fast food joints (Wendy’s, Burger King, McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Popeye’s) all have the same exact menu. That would suck! Part of the excitement of eating fast food is picking out where to go. This is exclusivity (in fast food).
Exclusivity is also great for the gaming industry. You may think it would be nice to get every single game released on all platforms, but let’s imagine a world where that was the option. There are already too many games to play. Every gamer has a backlog of games which they will one day return to (or will remain in the backlog until the end of time). We also all have a wishlist of new releases, upcoming games and unannounced titles. Plus, most of us are getting free games added to their library/backlog from PS Plus (monthly), Epic Games (weekly), Xbox Game Pass (daily).
This generation I chose to stay with PlayStation (PS5), because I loved Sony’s exclusive games last generation (Infamous: Second Son, God of War, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Marvel’s Spider-Man, Ghost of Tsushima). Still, I plan to buy an Xbox Series S or X in the future.
Throughout my childhood I was a Nintendo kid, so I knew my Nintendo franchises. It wasn’t until I played certain Sega franchises at friend’s houses (ToeJam & Earl) that I realized they even existed. I only got into Sonic games because of my Sega Game Gear.
Console Exclusivity was the reason I bought the original Xbox. I was happy with my PlayStation 2 for four years. Then all of a sudden The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay was released for Xbox. I was a huge Vin Diesel and Riddick fan at the time so I used my summer job money to buy an Xbox. I stuck with Xbox for the next generation with the Xbox 360, before coming back to Sony with PS4.
The Great Acquisition Race
It seems that each week either Microsoft or Sony has a new studio acquisition to announce. A few months ago Xbox announced their acquisition of Bethesda (Fallout, Doom and the upcoming Starfield) and the many studios that operate under Bethesda/ZeniMax (Arkane, Machine Games). Sony announced yesterday that it had acquired Housemarque (makers of PS5 exclusive Returnal).
It can be good for these studios to be owned by these large companies, as long as they’re still able to work independently on their games. It’s great that they get the extra financial stability without the big executives coming in and changing their vision.
I’ve always enjoyed watching all of the announcements, conferences and trailers coming from E3 and other conventions. A few weeks ago at E3 I was very excited to see what Nintendo had to show (as a Switch owner). I’m always excited even though I always know that about 60% of what Nintendo shows in their Directs is not for me.
I also really wanted to watch the Xbox + Bethesda Showcase. Mainly to figure out if there were any games that made me think, Ok, let’s order this Xbox Series S right now — that didn’t happen. Not yet. It’s also nice sometimes to see an interesting-looking game coming to another platform and just think, That looks cool, at least I don’t have to add it to my backlog.
I’ve never understood people getting mad about a game they already played and enjoyed on their PlayStation being released on PC or Xbox (or the other way around). You already had your fun with the game, shouldn’t you be happy that other people are going to experience that same joy?
The only times I’ve told friends that they were dumb for having the wrong console — whatever console I didn’t have. It was more because I wanted to be their friend and play with them — of course, now we have crossplay in many games. Over the years I’ve realized that I mostly play solo games anyway, so it doesn’t even matter — I just want to have the most friends on my PlayStation and Nintendo Switch friends lists.
Too many places to play?
Today, there are just too many gaming platforms with everyone trying to jump in on Cloud gaming. Soon the console/platform market is going to be as saturated as the streaming video market (every company and network has made a monthly subscription PLUS+ version of their content).
There was a time when you would see a world premiere game trailer for an exciting new game and wonder, Is this for one console or both? In today’s trailers you may see something like this: “Coming to PlayStation, XBox, Nintendo Switch, Steam, Epic Games Store, Google Stadia, Amazon Luna, Apple Arcade and anywhere else you can play games next year.”
It’s great that Cloud gaming is becoming a thing and it’s great when it works. It’s just going to become annoying when there’s even more cloud platforms and you have to figure out where you were playing that game you played last night.
I don’t know if this will be an actual problem but I worry about bugs and updates with so many different platforms. If something is wrong on all versions of a game do they have to fix each version one by one?
I won’t go more into what I think about cloud gaming. I just wanted to reiterate that exclusivity is a good thing. Also, let’s stop being mean and let everyone enjoy their games wherever they want to play them.