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Something of a trend has been happening with this new generation of consoles, and that is the premise of exclusivity. Now exclusive titles aren't something new, nor are they necessarily a bad thing. Most people won't put down the cash for hardware consoles unless it has the games you want to play. Enter the exclusive deal - you want to play game X? Buy console Y. Another method would be the timed exclusive, where if you want to play game X now, you need console Y, else wait a bit later for the eventual port. However, with the ever increasing cost of producing games for the HD era of consoles it just isn't worth it for most third-party developers to stay on one platform. So with many titles appearing on both the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 how would a console company convince a gamer to purchase the game for one system over another?

Exclusive DLC is the new trend this generation. Sure both platforms will get the same base game, but if you want to experience more of the game past the end then choose your platform carefully. Similar to full game exclusives, DLC exclusivity either comes as a permanent exclusive or a timed-exclusive; and here lies the problem. First, I have no qualms against timed-exclusives in either full games or as DLC. The reasoning behind this is that most anybody who wants to play said game will get to at some point in time with the only investment being the game (as long as one of the platforms is owned; Wii being excluded as it offers a different experience and thus usually has different games).

It is with the full-on permanent exclusivity that the main problem lies. The base game has been developed and made available for multiple platforms, so why limit the expanded experience for gamers? As mentioned above, GTA4: The Lost and Damned is currently only available for Xbox 360 owners, while Fallout 3: the Pitt is available to PC and Xbox 360 owners. Playstation 3 owners wanting to experince more from these titles are out of luck (and developers/publishers are getting that much less business as these expansions are paid DLC).

The biggest title that has exclusive DLC would be Grand Theft Auto 4, with the release of the expansion The Lost and Damned. While Playstation and Xbox 360 owners both would get to play the base Grand Theft Auto 4 game, it was revealed that only Xbox 360 owners would get to play the expansion. Another recent expansion only available for PC and Xbox 360 gamers is the Pitt, an expansion for Fallout 3. What is unknown at the present time is if these exclusives are timed or not (Protip for publishers: they better not stay exclusive). Don't forget there's a rather large Playstation 3 [and PC] userbase that bought into your game.

Conversely, Playstation 3 owners are getting their fair share of exclusive content across multiple titles. Sony, it would appear, has mandated that any ports of titles that appear on their platform after it has already been on the Xbox 360 must have exclusive content only available for Playstation 3 owners. Now the first part of this mandate is understandable, as additional content on a year-old port of a game is a great way to breath new life into a game and cater to a new user base. But as a developer or publisher, what about your old user base? It is this permanent exclusivity that creates a divide among gamers as now the overall experience of the game is different between gamers.

On Playstation 3 Bioshock got bonus challenge rooms, Eternal Sonata got extra playable characters and costumes; and now Tales of Vesperia will also be getting released with bonus missions, characters, and costumes. Ninja Gaiden 2 also will not only be getting fixes to the game, but new playable characters and missions. Again, this is great for Playstation 3 owners, as they get to experience the greatness of these games; it is also great that their is new content, as that shows the developers are still supporting the tiles and giving them a fresh coat of paint. However, what of all those that bought into the game initially?

As a gamer, I want the best experience for my money. I also want to support developers should they add good content down the line. However, current trends are not allowing me either. I can only imagine it would be more difficult for multi-platform owners to buy any games; in the back of your mind there will always be that little nag wondering if a better version will get released later. In an age of DLC, why should this nag still be around?

tldr;
Timed-exclusive DLC good
Permanent-exclusive DLC bad


13 Comments
14 Comments
Posted by Eelcire

Something of a trend has been happening with this new generation of consoles, and that is the premise of exclusivity. Now exclusive titles aren't something new, nor are they necessarily a bad thing. Most people won't put down the cash for hardware consoles unless it has the games you want to play. Enter the exclusive deal - you want to play game X? Buy console Y. Another method would be the timed exclusive, where if you want to play game X now, you need console Y, else wait a bit later for the eventual port. However, with the ever increasing cost of producing games for the HD era of consoles it just isn't worth it for most third-party developers to stay on one platform. So with many titles appearing on both the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 how would a console company convince a gamer to purchase the game for one system over another?

Exclusive DLC is the new trend this generation. Sure both platforms will get the same base game, but if you want to experience more of the game past the end then choose your platform carefully. Similar to full game exclusives, DLC exclusivity either comes as a permanent exclusive or a timed-exclusive; and here lies the problem. First, I have no qualms against timed-exclusives in either full games or as DLC. The reasoning behind this is that most anybody who wants to play said game will get to at some point in time with the only investment being the game (as long as one of the platforms is owned; Wii being excluded as it offers a different experience and thus usually has different games).

It is with the full-on permanent exclusivity that the main problem lies. The base game has been developed and made available for multiple platforms, so why limit the expanded experience for gamers? As mentioned above, GTA4: The Lost and Damned is currently only available for Xbox 360 owners, while Fallout 3: the Pitt is available to PC and Xbox 360 owners. Playstation 3 owners wanting to experince more from these titles are out of luck (and developers/publishers are getting that much less business as these expansions are paid DLC).

The biggest title that has exclusive DLC would be Grand Theft Auto 4, with the release of the expansion The Lost and Damned. While Playstation and Xbox 360 owners both would get to play the base Grand Theft Auto 4 game, it was revealed that only Xbox 360 owners would get to play the expansion. Another recent expansion only available for PC and Xbox 360 gamers is the Pitt, an expansion for Fallout 3. What is unknown at the present time is if these exclusives are timed or not (Protip for publishers: they better not stay exclusive). Don't forget there's a rather large Playstation 3 [and PC] userbase that bought into your game.

Conversely, Playstation 3 owners are getting their fair share of exclusive content across multiple titles. Sony, it would appear, has mandated that any ports of titles that appear on their platform after it has already been on the Xbox 360 must have exclusive content only available for Playstation 3 owners. Now the first part of this mandate is understandable, as additional content on a year-old port of a game is a great way to breath new life into a game and cater to a new user base. But as a developer or publisher, what about your old user base? It is this permanent exclusivity that creates a divide among gamers as now the overall experience of the game is different between gamers.

On Playstation 3 Bioshock got bonus challenge rooms, Eternal Sonata got extra playable characters and costumes; and now Tales of Vesperia will also be getting released with bonus missions, characters, and costumes. Ninja Gaiden 2 also will not only be getting fixes to the game, but new playable characters and missions. Again, this is great for Playstation 3 owners, as they get to experience the greatness of these games; it is also great that their is new content, as that shows the developers are still supporting the tiles and giving them a fresh coat of paint. However, what of all those that bought into the game initially?

As a gamer, I want the best experience for my money. I also want to support developers should they add good content down the line. However, current trends are not allowing me either. I can only imagine it would be more difficult for multi-platform owners to buy any games; in the back of your mind there will always be that little nag wondering if a better version will get released later. In an age of DLC, why should this nag still be around?

tldr;
Timed-exclusive DLC good
Permanent-exclusive DLC bad


Posted by Al3xand3r

Umm... You say timed-exclusive good but earlier you say "pro-tip: they better not be" when you talk about the GTAIV and F3 DLC? What?

But anyway. Publishers/developers should do what's best for them, not for the first parties. If they get money for timed exclusives, go for it. If not, release everywhere at once. Who cares if you help Microsoft or Sony or Nintendo get more money in the process?

Posted by PowerSerj
Al3xand3r said:
"Umm... You say timed-exclusive good but earlier you say "pro-tip: they better not be" when you talk about the GTAIV and F3 DLC? What?But anyway."
I think what's meant by that is that these examples of DLC were stated to be exclusive content, so pulling that statement a few months down the road and sending them to the PS3 would kind of be a dick move.

I completely agree with your post Eelcire. I was dissapointed when I heard that Lost and Damned was exclusive DLC. Not so much with Fallout 3, but that feeling of abandonment was still there.
Edited by Eelcire

Ah, you're right Al3xand3r, meant to say: they better not stay as exclusives. Fixed

Though PowerSerj's take on the post is interesting as well. It is a rather dick move for a company to claim "This will only appear for platform X" yet a few months later it appears elsewhere (and usually even better). I understand the why, but it still doesn't make it any less of a dick move for those early adopters.

Edited by Diamond

Personally I just buy whichever version seems to be the best, and usually graphics factor in higher than paid DLC.

If I'm excited about a game, I buy whichever version comes out first, and no further versions.  I got Virtual Fighter 5 on PS3 because it came out well before the 360 version, didn't buy the 360 version.  Unreal Tournament 3 I got on PS3 because of user content and because it came out before the 360 version. 

Graphics are also a major deciding factor to me (behind release date).  Usually I buy the 360 version for this reason.  Mirror's Edge on PS3 got an extra free map that was announced early on, but I got the 360 version because of the minor graphics superiority.  I got Street Fighter IV on 360 because of the graphics edge too, I just bought a Mad Catz Fightpad to make up for the poor 360 Dpad.

Just throwing that out there, but that's usually my reasoning.  If it was free major DLC (like if Lost and Damned had been free on PS3), it might change my mind.

Posted by iAmJohn
PowerSerj said:
"I was dissapointed when I heard that Lost and Damned was exclusive DLC. Not so much with Fallout 3, but that feeling of abandonment was still there."
How?  They were announced as exclusive DLC before they came out.  You were given fair warning for both and had a choice to buy the games for the system(s) that would have given you exclusive DLC, you just chose not to.
Posted by PowerSerj
iAmJohn said:
"PowerSerj said:
"I was dissapointed when I heard that Lost and Damned was exclusive DLC. Not so much with Fallout 3, but that feeling of abandonment was still there."
How?  They were announced as exclusive DLC before they came out.  You were given fair warning for both and had a choice to buy the games for the system(s) that would have given you exclusive DLC, you just chose not to.
"
Because everybody has both a 360 and a PS3, amirite?
Edited by Eelcire

While I do agree that at least in the case of Grand Theft Auto there was advance warning, that doesn't make it any better for those that only buy into one platform; and what of other titles? What about Virtua Figher V missing out on online mode for PS3, or not getting to play as Ayane in Ninja Gaiden II on 360. There was certainly no warning there, and for the most part both of those titles were thought to be fully exclusive to their respective platforms. If the base game is made available to multiple platforms, I would hope it would be in publisher's best interest to eventually make content available to those same platforms. After all, there's more money to made with a larger user base across multiple platforms.

Posted by iAmJohn

How are any of these qualms any different from any other generation of gaming?  You could make the same argument for, oh, I don't know, custom soundtracks and replay mode in San Andreas for Xbox and PC, extra levels and multiplayer games for Rayman 2 on Dreamcast, blood in Genesis Mortal Kombat and multiplayer in Master System Double Dragon.  If you tie yourself to one console, you're always going to miss out on exclusives, be they games or extra content; it's just the way of the world, and nothing outside of the one-console future is going to change that.

Posted by Eelcire

Because this generation of consoles has DLC. With previous generations if a publisher wanted to update a game, they'd have to repackage it and send it out to retailers; all of which costs money. With DLC, the cost of distribution is cut out. And I'm not sure about you, but I'd be hesitant to buy any game owning multiple platforms as I want the best and definitive experience, and I'd never be quite sure if a game I want would get an exclusive update later.

I can understand a full-on exclusive. If I want to play Metal Gear Solid 4, I buy a PS3; and if I want to play Star Ocean I buy a 360 (for now at least). However, when a publisher makes a title available for another platform at a later date with exclusive extras, what message does that send to those who already bought into your game?

Posted by iAmJohn

It sends the same message that Capcom sent to me when they ported Viewtiful Joe and Resident Evil 4 over to PS2 with added characters and other stuff.


I think you're overstating the importance of DLC.  I mean, come on, let's not forget that more than half the people who own 360s in the world never take the console online, and I'm sure that there's similar, if not greater figures for both PS3 and Wii.  Does DLC mean that they can make these later releases obsolete?  Sure, but you're not acknowledging certain challenges with this.  What if it's something like, say VF5?  VF5 for PS3 and 360 are actually different games, as the PS3 version is based off of Version B and the 360 version off Version C; do you give PS3 owners the rebalancing?  The new costume items?  The online?  Everything?  And for how much?  And what if that cuts into sales of your new product, tanking it at retail (which VF5 did twice)?  And what if you have a deal with the other company that you need to have this different content?

Again, it's no different from any other generation.  It still sucks, but it's still just the way things are.
Edited by Eelcire

While you may be correct in that amount of people that have never taken their console online, those are also the same people who most likely wouldn't know about additional content in the first place. I would surmise that most people interested in the extra content also have their consoles online.

Never once have I stated that the extra content should be free. In fact, I would gladly pay a bit extra to be able to get the same extra experiences that were made availabe on other platforms (notice a bit extra, as in not buying a new console). Aside from Sony mandates about old ports, another reason to add extra content to a game is so that publishers can charge full price for a game, whereas other versions by this point would normally be cheaper.

So what message did you get from Viewtiful Joe and Resident Evil 4? Do you continue to support Capcom, did you buy Resident Evil 5? As per the Virtua Fighter V example then yes, I would want Sega to release DLC that brings the PS3 version up to par with the 360 version as far as features; or to rerelease Virtua Fighter V as a "Greatest Hits" or what have you with all updates available. As far as VF5 tanking and it not being cost effective to Sega? Well yes, admitedly you are right. The game didn't preform well on either platform, which makes the prospect of DLC grim. That however, is only one of the games was listed. What about GTA4: Lost and Damned, Bioshock, Fallout 3, Ninja Gaiden II, Tales of Vesperia? Those games sold well enough. Why not make the content the same for all platforms they were released on? I'm not say it has to be done now, but eventually it should be made available as DLC (paid even!).

DLC does make a difference, which makes this generation different from the last. Just as certain features last generation made it different from that of before.

So let me play devil's advocate this time: What would you say to Metal Gear Solid 4 making its way to Xbox 360, with bonus extra playable characters, and a new chapter. Xbox 360 only. What about all those PS3 fans; you know, the ones who went out and bought a system just to play this game. Hell, they even bought the limited MGS4/PS3 bundle to play this game. Should Konami forget about all those current customers just to target new potential customers?

Edited by REDRUN

Nice post, but I have to disagree to some extent. Exclusives are now no longer the case what sells consoles. Now all consoles are out, exclusive have very little impact because developers and publishers are now getting getting the idea of multiplatform release which needs to sell one million copies in order to make a profit. For smaller companies an exclusive DLC would still be profitable, for example the Wii waggle games are tageted to a specific market. If I have played Tales of Vesperia on the 360 and seen exclusive levels and character on the PS3 version, would that make me go out and buy a PS3? No. Angry? Nope. Care at all? Ummm,.. why?

If they by any mean of an alternate universe, EA and Rockstar Games made GTA4 or Burnout Paradise a Sony exclusive (no Xbox 360 release), no doubt they may of sold more PS3 consoles. Would EA and Rockstar make the profit that they would of wanted? No, but they would of still have a 5 star review.  :T

We all know this does not apply to the Wii, they are in a competition of there own. I just hope good companies do not fall for the exclusive release, or that this console gets it first before the other. Companies who makes game should focus on pushing their own products to market rather than pushing the console sales. I am just sick of the consumers stuck in the middle of this nonsense, instead of playing more games.

Posted by Eelcire

Well, that was part of the point of my post; that exclusives are what used to be the differing factor between consoles, and that exclusive DLC is what developers and publishers are looking now. You may be indifferent to extra exclusive content on other consoles, not all share the same view. I'm disappointed that I'll need to purchase a PS3 in order to play the newer version Ninja Gaiden II; just as I am disappointed that I'm missing out on extra features in Bioshock, Eternal Sonata, and Tales of Vesperia.

And you prove my point. Yes, it was more profitable to have multi-platform releases of GTA4 and Burnout Paradise. But what of the paid DLC? Wouldn't be more profitable to release the Lost and Damn expansion on PS3 as well? Wouldn't it be more profitable to release the extra content for Ninja Gaiden II, Eternal Sonata, and Tales of Vesperia on 360? After all, these games now all have an established user base. Why ignore them and extra potential sales?

Again, I want to reiterate: I wouldn't expect said extra content to be made available at the same time as the PS3 release. but instead to be released eventually. As a means to keep the entire user base happy, and keep extra money flowing in for publishers and developers.