By Eelcire 14 Comments
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?
Timed-exclusive DLC good
Permanent-exclusive DLC bad