Console Exclusivity: A Rant

I'm sure that many of you saw the title and thought that this would be a rant about "exclusivity is dead" and "Square sold out when they said they're porting FF13 to the brick" or whatever. Well it isn't, not really. What I'm going to rant about instead is games that are more deceitful, games that claim to be system exclusives and then get ported a few months down the line. Games like Fable, Jade Empire and Halo have all done this but perhaps the most recent egregious offenders are Bioshock and Gears of War.

It's not a game switching consoles that really grinds my nerves. Oh sure, I bought a PS3 thinking that I would need it to play Devil May Cry 4, Assassins Creed and Final Fantasy 13... if I even bothered buying it considering all the details of it, ugh (FF X-2's director on the heels of the soap opera that was FF12? I think not). But I'm not the sort of person who is fanboy enough to be bothered by this. I bought all of the systems to enjoy their unique attributes. I enjoy Achievements and Xbox Live but I like FREE online gaming on the PS3 and the exclusives to that console as well. The Wii... well I bought it for the VC and have thusfar been stymied by Nintendos reluctance to help me out any (too many games and I refuse to play swap out with an SD card). So I view this sort of thing as a benefit to gamers everywhere. Everyone gets to enjoy the game instead of just one consoles worth of gamers.

So instead of that particular axe to grind I find a new one, the one of exclusives that jump ship instead. Let's take an example:

Bioshock had a pretty big opening, selling oodles and oodles of games on both the PC and Xbox 360. It was lauded wide and large as a great game in the genre and a wildly intruiging storyline mixed with the first person elements to create a game like Deus Ex: The Invisible War more than Halo. It was great, it was one of the best games released that year. Hurrah, hurrah!

So how does 2K reward those people who bought it on the 360 and dealt with the widescreen cropping bug? How do they reward those people who dealt with their stupid SecuRom authentication setup? To those unfortunate souls who bought the limited edition and had to deal with broken Big Daddy statuettes? Simple, they port it without any of the problems to the PS3. But that's not all, the PS3 gets exclusive content, content that will likely never appear on the Xbox or PC versions of the game. Their way of saying "thank you" to all those who bought the original game and made it such a huge success is what essentially amounts to a giant middle finger waving in the air at them as they roll around in their money.

Nice.

Mind you this isn't some console fanboy bitterness. As an owner of all three systems (and the PSP to boot) I could very easily pick up Bioshock for the PS3 and shelve it right next to my copy of it for the 360. I've invested a lot of time into the game to find all of the audio diaries and to get all of the Achievements but I would enjoy the new challenges as well. However I will not be buying the game unless I buy it used from someone because I will not give my money to 2K for something like this. There are ways to go about something like this without totally snubbing those very people who made your game such a success and apparently they aren't quite aware of this.

Take Overlord for example. It was initially only for the PC and Xbox 360 as well but they decided to port it to the PS3. Included in the package, for free, is all of the downloadable content you could get for the 360 and a few minor additions like a mini-map. Since Overlord is now cheap for the 360 it isn't actually a big deal since you could purchase the DLC and the game cheap but if you don't have a 360 now you can experience the game in its entirety. The free inclusion of the DLC is their way of excusing the fact that PS3 owners are paying 50-60 USD for the game while 360 owners only need to pay 20 for the game and maybe 15 for the DLC. But this makes sense seeing as how it's been out on the 360 for awhile, if the PS3 owners wait they can get it on the cheap as well and everyone is happy.

However this is something that even Microsoft enjoys to watch its customers suffer for (as if Vista wasn't enough). Gears of War for the PC comes right to mind and annoys me straight away. Not that Gears wasn't a good game, it was pretty good. Barring the grunting monkey of a script and the fact that Dom was the only character with any personality it was fun to play. However the narrative of that game jumped around more than a monkey on speed and just generally made less sense the further into the game you got. By the time the squad escaped from the Brumak and teleported to the train station for some reason I was more than a bit frustrated with what was going on.

Turns out that they decided to fix this and add a little section on to this abysmally short game when they ported it to the PC. Sure an extra half hour isn't that big of a deal but when the game itself is only six/six and a half hours long then it's quite an improvement. And while Epic was pretty good about releasing all those online maps for free after a short wait 360 owners who made GoW practically the next Halo were shafted out of this. It's a small thing but seriously, what's the deal? There's no real reason that this couldn't be backwards ported to the 360 as a nice little reward to those same fans who made your game more than just a blip on the radar.

But I suppose I just don't understand business. Or rather I do understand the gaming industry. They work on the same mentality that George Lucas does. "Keep rereleasing stuff with new little tid-bits thrown in so as to entice people to buy our game multiple times." I say forget that little game they're trying to play. Buy your games used if you have to indulge this little bit of tomfoolery on the part of game developers. This way the money goes to whomever you bought it from instead of lining their pockets as they do their best to basically spit in the faces of all those fans who bought their little games.

Thank you for reading. Coming up next on Misfits Rant theater, the Nintendo Wii. Stay tuned!

Start the Conversation
1 Comments
Posted by misfit119

I'm sure that many of you saw the title and thought that this would be a rant about "exclusivity is dead" and "Square sold out when they said they're porting FF13 to the brick" or whatever. Well it isn't, not really. What I'm going to rant about instead is games that are more deceitful, games that claim to be system exclusives and then get ported a few months down the line. Games like Fable, Jade Empire and Halo have all done this but perhaps the most recent egregious offenders are Bioshock and Gears of War.

It's not a game switching consoles that really grinds my nerves. Oh sure, I bought a PS3 thinking that I would need it to play Devil May Cry 4, Assassins Creed and Final Fantasy 13... if I even bothered buying it considering all the details of it, ugh (FF X-2's director on the heels of the soap opera that was FF12? I think not). But I'm not the sort of person who is fanboy enough to be bothered by this. I bought all of the systems to enjoy their unique attributes. I enjoy Achievements and Xbox Live but I like FREE online gaming on the PS3 and the exclusives to that console as well. The Wii... well I bought it for the VC and have thusfar been stymied by Nintendos reluctance to help me out any (too many games and I refuse to play swap out with an SD card). So I view this sort of thing as a benefit to gamers everywhere. Everyone gets to enjoy the game instead of just one consoles worth of gamers.

So instead of that particular axe to grind I find a new one, the one of exclusives that jump ship instead. Let's take an example:

Bioshock had a pretty big opening, selling oodles and oodles of games on both the PC and Xbox 360. It was lauded wide and large as a great game in the genre and a wildly intruiging storyline mixed with the first person elements to create a game like Deus Ex: The Invisible War more than Halo. It was great, it was one of the best games released that year. Hurrah, hurrah!

So how does 2K reward those people who bought it on the 360 and dealt with the widescreen cropping bug? How do they reward those people who dealt with their stupid SecuRom authentication setup? To those unfortunate souls who bought the limited edition and had to deal with broken Big Daddy statuettes? Simple, they port it without any of the problems to the PS3. But that's not all, the PS3 gets exclusive content, content that will likely never appear on the Xbox or PC versions of the game. Their way of saying "thank you" to all those who bought the original game and made it such a huge success is what essentially amounts to a giant middle finger waving in the air at them as they roll around in their money.

Nice.

Mind you this isn't some console fanboy bitterness. As an owner of all three systems (and the PSP to boot) I could very easily pick up Bioshock for the PS3 and shelve it right next to my copy of it for the 360. I've invested a lot of time into the game to find all of the audio diaries and to get all of the Achievements but I would enjoy the new challenges as well. However I will not be buying the game unless I buy it used from someone because I will not give my money to 2K for something like this. There are ways to go about something like this without totally snubbing those very people who made your game such a success and apparently they aren't quite aware of this.

Take Overlord for example. It was initially only for the PC and Xbox 360 as well but they decided to port it to the PS3. Included in the package, for free, is all of the downloadable content you could get for the 360 and a few minor additions like a mini-map. Since Overlord is now cheap for the 360 it isn't actually a big deal since you could purchase the DLC and the game cheap but if you don't have a 360 now you can experience the game in its entirety. The free inclusion of the DLC is their way of excusing the fact that PS3 owners are paying 50-60 USD for the game while 360 owners only need to pay 20 for the game and maybe 15 for the DLC. But this makes sense seeing as how it's been out on the 360 for awhile, if the PS3 owners wait they can get it on the cheap as well and everyone is happy.

However this is something that even Microsoft enjoys to watch its customers suffer for (as if Vista wasn't enough). Gears of War for the PC comes right to mind and annoys me straight away. Not that Gears wasn't a good game, it was pretty good. Barring the grunting monkey of a script and the fact that Dom was the only character with any personality it was fun to play. However the narrative of that game jumped around more than a monkey on speed and just generally made less sense the further into the game you got. By the time the squad escaped from the Brumak and teleported to the train station for some reason I was more than a bit frustrated with what was going on.

Turns out that they decided to fix this and add a little section on to this abysmally short game when they ported it to the PC. Sure an extra half hour isn't that big of a deal but when the game itself is only six/six and a half hours long then it's quite an improvement. And while Epic was pretty good about releasing all those online maps for free after a short wait 360 owners who made GoW practically the next Halo were shafted out of this. It's a small thing but seriously, what's the deal? There's no real reason that this couldn't be backwards ported to the 360 as a nice little reward to those same fans who made your game more than just a blip on the radar.

But I suppose I just don't understand business. Or rather I do understand the gaming industry. They work on the same mentality that George Lucas does. "Keep rereleasing stuff with new little tid-bits thrown in so as to entice people to buy our game multiple times." I say forget that little game they're trying to play. Buy your games used if you have to indulge this little bit of tomfoolery on the part of game developers. This way the money goes to whomever you bought it from instead of lining their pockets as they do their best to basically spit in the faces of all those fans who bought their little games.

Thank you for reading. Coming up next on Misfits Rant theater, the Nintendo Wii. Stay tuned!