Tell Us Dammit: What Do You Think About 'Exclusives'?

The issue of Rise of the Tomb Raider being exclusive on the Xbox One seems to have raised the ire of many gamers and, I think, rightly so. Today I want to ask you what you think about 'exclusive' video games in general. Do you like them? Are they problematic? Let us know your thoughts.

I have mixed feelings. I think what happened with Rise of the Tomb Raider is an anti-consumer move. We're talking about a game that most likely started life as a multi-platform release. Most likely there was money placed on the table to make the game exclusive to the Xbox One (either for the lifespan of the game or for a specific period of time). I think that's... not ideal if you're a consumer. Microsoft has essentially spent money to withhold the game from people who only own PlayStation 4 consoles. If it was intended to be an Xbox One exclusive from the start, Microsoft would most likely have announced that at E3 when the game was revealed.

But the issue is complicated.

I'm far less inclined to be irritated when the game has been funded and supported by either Microsoft, Sony or Nintendo from the start of development. For some reason that feels different. I'm talking about Microsoft's support for Titanfall, or Sony's support for Bloodborne. That feels different. The narrative shifts in that case. The exclusive becomes a game built from the ground up for a specific piece of hardware. We feel as if there is value in that. A game starts to assume a certain identity as a 'PlayStation' or an 'Xbox' game. With Tomb Raider it's all too easy to feel cynical. It feels different.

Finally, my main issue is the way in which both Sony and Microsoft use the word 'exclusive' to mislead consumers. Information is being deliberately obscured here. When does the exclusivity deal end? Does it end? Consumers are being misled. When these exclusivity deals pop up I think it's patently unfair to not give consumers the full story. To wait or not to wait? We should be provided with an amount of information that allows us to make an informed choice.

That's my quick thoughts on the matter — what say you?


    If the game would never be produced without the exclusivity deal, then I can live with it.

    In cases like Tomb Raider where we know that they had already done all the work to port the engine to these other platforms (in the form of the "Definitive Edition" release of the old game), it stinks.

    Exclusives should be first party only. I'd love to play pokemon on my droid phone or tablet.

      Except that GameFreak and the Pokemon brand are exclusively owned by Nintendo...

        My mistake!

          The truth is, Nintendo really should start supporting third party devices for their first party franchises.

            Sure. And Sony "should" start putting their games on Nintendo devices.

              Shivers. Nintendo and Sony team up FTW.

                Because that worked out so well last time :P

                  It happened before? Please elaborate on this magical time in the past.

                  @greenius I swear I read a whole thing on it here but cannot seem to find it at all.

                  Either way, it's the whole Sony + Nintendo SNES CD-ROM thing that fell apart and resulted in the PlayStation.

                  Oh man, I actually recall seeing something like that on Kotaku too.

                  Or maybe it was just you mentioning it before :P

              Sony needs to concentrate on putting their games on their own devices before they worry about anyone else *couogh*vita*cough*

    I'm ok with "platform exclusives" (their own franchises) i.e. Mario on Nintendo, God Of War on Playstation, and Halo on Xbox.

    What I'm NOT ok with is "platform exclusive" extras for multi-platform games, "timed exclusives", and multi-platform games all of a sudden becoming platform exclusive, except for cases like Bayonetta 2 where if it hadn't been on Nintendo it wouldn't have existed at all.

      Yeah I remember the Internet whine that happened with Bayonetta being announced as an exclusive.

      When a console hardware company ponies up the money, they can do whatever the hell they want with it.

        From a business perspective, there's several advantages to making exclusives. At the same time you do yourself out of other markets in terms of sales, their sales within their market will likely be higher, thus making profitability easier to achieve. Also they'd be getting other benefits from (in this case) Microsoft. Like support when they need it, free stuff or discounts etc. Lots of reasons why it's good for them ;)
        I actually agree with @evilmonkey though. Real exclusives should be reserved for in house stuff.
        But wasn't there talk this morning about the whole exclusive thing being not true?

      Some platform exclusive things are ok in multi-plat games. Like Soul Calibur II where you had Link in the GCN version, Heihachi or whatever his name was on PS2 and Spawn on Xbox. Platform-relevant exclusives like that are cool.

      But when you get something like Bad Box Art Mega Man exclusive to the PS3 version of the SFxTekken game... that shit's not on.

      Last edited 14/08/14 12:09 pm

        I don't mind the platform exclusive bonuses like that so much. As long as each platform has an equally awesome bonus any way!

          In that regard... I'd prefer if only one version had a bonus.. so that I wouldn't always yearn for the other version as well as the one I own. OR, and this is stupid/ bias but what if they give console players each half of the DLC, and PC players all of it!

            heh yeah i mean it would be ideal if at some point down the line they allowed you to download the exclusive on other platforms. even if as paid dlc.

              Oh, yeah, I'm more OK with that. Like how CoD map packs are xbox first. That's Ok. I'd describe that as 'competitive'. Unless it's a ridiculously long window, like more than 3-6 months. That's harsh.

    I personally don't have an issue with it. MS is paying catchup. GTA 3 was PS2 exclusive but ended up on XB after a while.

      Vice CIty was the same. 2 year gap for GTA III, 1 year gap for Vice City. I remember cause they released the box set of GTA III & Vice City for XB, ah young me so wanted that but for PS2.. Actually I still wouldn't mind it!

    Third-party publishers shouldn't be allowed to make exclusivity deals with console makers because everyone loses. I can understand exclusivity for first-party games though.

    I'm fine with it. It comes part and parcel with having different systems.

    Otherwise one console.

    But I'm used to it.... Nintendo/Sega... Nintendo/Playstation... PC vs All regarding RTS

    It's more the petulant entitled new generation of gamer that deserves to play everything and needs to be catered for or they will rant online.

    not that i cared about the recent tomb raider 'exclusive' crap whatsoever (contrary to 95% of the internet), but i think timed exclusives and console-specific extras or dlc are ridiculous. i agree with exclusives funded by microsoft, sony, etc from the start as i see that to be fair enough. but yep, i agree with this article 100%,

    I'm going to wait for the next Jimquisition to field the answer to this question :P

    But I'll also make mention of Bayonetta 2, a game that wouldn't exist were it not for Nintendo financing it, reliable partnerships like gamefreak putting out pokemon games and Naughty Dog who we expect to have only exclusives. Exclusives are fine, the bullshit that big companies pull when they use the word are not.

      Naughty Dog are owned by Sony i.e. first party.

        Aye, but they are still exclusives, but it's ok because we know they are exclusives and we can live with it. The issue is when it is something like what is going on with this TR sequel, something that we all expected to be cross platform after its reveal, where M$ has a PR discussion that circles the topic of "how can we word this in such a way that will make a whole bunch of cashed up PS4 owners go out and blow half a grand on a new console for an exclusive that they would have access to a few month after either way"

      Im confused... you need someone elses opinion to make you own opinion?

      Those partnerships usually result in the company paying for exclusivity becoming the publisher. Sony publishes for Naughty Dog, Game Freak is officially a subsidiary company of Nintendo, and Microsoft used to publish Bungie games, but now I'm not so sure of that. That is perfectly fine, but buying exclusive rights to an IP that started out multi platform is something that's anti competitive and just plain wrong. Someone should bitch about it in the UK for being anti competitive and make a class action lawsuit to stop this behaviour. Exclusivity used to be s good thing that promoted reasons to buy a console. I remember choosing grand theft auto over GoldenEye, but then my friends would visit me for GTA and I'd visit them for GoldenEye death matches. That used to be fun

    Has never really bothered me, first console I bought with my own money was the 360 because I wanted to play Halo and Gears of War... Eventually I wanted to play Infamous, Heavy Rain and Uncharted, so I bought a PS3... Will be buying a PS4 when a few more games come out because the current and upcoming exclusives on the platform hold a higher interest for me at this time. Will potentially buy an Xbox One if a few high quality exclusives start appearing on that platform.

    This is based on my current situation, if I start a family soon I probably won't be able to afford both consoles, at least not until late in their life.

    I'm a gamer at heart, I'll buy whatever platform I need to to play the games I want to play.

    Generally I don't have a problem with it, I know XY Company wants to have certain exclusives to allure people into their products, sure you can do that. However, (and this is what really pissed me off) if a game; such as Tomb Raider; has the reboot come out on ALL variants, then decide to make it exclusive for the alliteration, that is entirely wrong. I was so mad because Tomb Raider was my GOTY and I enjoyed it to bits, but finding out it 'wasn't' coming out on PC was just ugh.

    I sure won't buy a console to get an exclusive, it was good-bye to Tomb Raider for me for a day. #pc

    I haven't been able to play The Last of Us.

    'Nuff said.

    Edit: Or Journey, dammit!

    Last edited 14/08/14 11:34 am

      Nah didn't u know its only an issue when it effects the Sony fan base?

        The PC fan base hates exclusives. The Sony guys hate exclusives. The Nintendo guys... well... we live in bliss.

        But there are the exclusives we live with and that actually sway people, like me, to owning all the consoles, and then ones that just annoy us.

        Don't blame the consumers for anti-consumer strategies friends.

        Sony entertainment publishes for Naughty Dog. Microsoft used to publish Bungie- but I don't know if that's still the case. If Sony funds the production of TLoU then its not a crime to choose to release it on their consoles only. Long before XBOX came into the fold tomb raider was exposed to PlayStation and PC owners. Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix chose to reboot onto all 3 major platforms, but sold out to a paid exclusive for the sequel. That's what is wrong. I didn't make noise over bayonetta because I don't care for the IP one bit. I am and have been for a long time- a fan of Lara Croft

          343 Industries took over the Halo franchise, and are owned by Microsoft Studios.

            Totally irrelevant to theaptpupil's comment, but k.

          Why does it matter who publishes it, you seem to put a lot of emphasis on this for not a lot of logic.

          All companies pay for exclusives, whether its by funding the studio or paying another. Its what helps that console sell more than others for people who are big fans of that franchise.

          It has always been like this, build a bridge.

            Well if the publisher is an in house publisher funding development for their own IP on their own hardware exclusively I don't see the issue. The fact is that Microsoft is buying exclusivity rights from the developer but the hook is, Square Enix is the publisher. My belief is that the money is going to squeenix who will pay Buckleys to Crystal Dynamics over a game that at best will only reach 1/3 of its perfectly willing and loyal audience. The PlayStation 4 has sold triple the consoles than XB1 which also makes the portion of the audience smaller than an equal third. This leaves me with three choices:
            1) buy an XB1 and the game in order to enjoy it on release(my wife will kill me and I don't see the point in spending $500 for a game)
            2) wait for the timed exclusive to lapse and then buy the game potentially 6 months or longer after the game has been released and completed or
            3) don't buy the game at all, and watch TheRadBrad do a let's play and then Squeenix will not get a dime from me.

            Right now I'm leaning towards the third option and flipping both middle fingers to Microsoft and Squeenix

              Yeah because the ps4 has sold more, is likely the reason microsoft has paid for the exclusive deals. It's called being competitive.

              Those 3 things you listed are your options, suck it up.

                And by doing option 3 Brad will get ad revenue that will probably amount to less than the cost of the game so my bridge will be built on Squeenix's complaints about a lack of sales, like the last game. As long as they don't terminate Crystal Dynamics I'll be happy to show then that middle finger for this.

                Being competitive is fighting for a reason to be the best seller. Making underhanded deals to stop consumer choice is not competitive.

                Last edited 15/08/14 5:55 pm

                  Lol, there is nothing underhanded about this.
                  Exclusives always have this exact same effect on human choice.
                  Get off your illogical high horse.

        I heard Xbox fans don't like it when it FX them either

      Right, but that's why Mark wrote that he's fine with it in the case where the company was involved in the making of the game, where the game wouldn't have happened without the exclusivity support, as opposed to the game being built and ready to go, with exclusivity 'bought' at the last minute for a competitive advantage. Which is where TLoU/Journey/Uncharted/Halo/Gears differ from the recent, more insidious Titanfall/Tomb Raider behaviour.

        You have said what I think for me. Now I don't have to say it.
        transientmind indeed,

    Exclusives are important, and I mean true exclusives, such as Halo and Uncharted, Even exclusives missions, outfits whatever. Timed exclusives are a pain but they are fine too, if it means that the devs can get that extra leg up and make the game everything it can be.

    What isn't ok is this whole deceptive marketing thing that is going on, and although the 2 of the major 3 are doing it quite a bit lately, Microsoft are a lot worse currently.

      Last gen, I would have agreed about MS being worse, but at the moment, Sony have a very different public facade compared to what they are brining to the table. I just wish BOTH of them stopped with the exclusivity 'deceit' (Even if it's just PR, it's still deceptive and anti-consumer) and started adding the features that we want/ need in the consoles.

    I prefer console exclusives to DLC exclusives.

    I find it ok in some examples where nobody in their right mind expects Nintendo to release their software on anything but a Nintendo Console. But when it's obvious a check book was opened to make a game exclusive if only for a limited time it's always a bad move. It's far different than a company commissioning a game from the beginning.

    Exclusives are the devil. If you need a single specific program to prop up your failing hardware then you're business model is terrible.

    At the end of the day (especially since hardware margins are quite small) it makes no sense to alienate 2/3 of the market just to make some more hardware sales. Those hardware sales will never cover the millions of more game copies you could sell.

    It's all part of the very slowly changing archaic business models which still cling to things like day 1 DLC and subscriptions to access online content

      But then will the "millions more copies" (does that even happen?) sold be able to justify all the extra cost and effort in bringing it to another platform? Or do you half-arse it and you end up with a situation like the first Bayonetta, where from what I've heard from many friends the PS3 version was an unplayably bad port.

      Might be less of an issue this gen where there's less of a difference in hardware between two of the platforms. But still something to consider, especially in terms of the smaller studios with less manpower and/or buckpower.

        I think it's pretty minimal cost if you set out to and plan for a multi platform release right from the start. Realising you were silly and adding another platform later is why we can't have nice things.

        Personally I look forward to a time when steam machines overtake consoles and then everyone can have a console experience with a normal PC and none of this terrible porting, exclusivity or artificially downgraded content

    I think they're not a big deal and as a whole there's some people out there could use a lesson in dealing with disappointment like mature adults.

    exclusives disgust me. it's this fossil type thinking that is quickly becoming the past as things like internet streaming content takes over, and outdated prototypes like station and cable tv die

    Exclusives are annoying, but in cases like this where Tomb Raider has always been on PC and PlayStation, I think they're unreasonable.

    It's one thing when a console manufacturer is supporting the game getting made. It's entirely a different thing when they're paying, and the developer is accepting, a chunk of money expressly to prevent some players from having access.

    Whenever an exclusive is bought (third party developed game being restricted to one console) and that console is not owned by the majority of console users, you get what happened with Tomb Raider.

    Little exclusives like what Destiny is doing really make me mad. I own both consoles so it isn't really an issue who has the exclusive DLC/items/whatever but if most of my friends were playing it on the X1 for example, and the exclusive DLC was on PS4 i would be really torn tbh... Luckily for Destiny the stars aligned and PS4 is where my friends are and the DLC. However the end point is that i shouldn't have to expect for the stars to align and hope that my friends play on the same platform as the exclusive DLC is on.

    That more then anything ticks me off.

    I'm just annoyed when exclusives shifts console brands. It's kind of a middle finger when you've been supporting Tomb Raider since the PS1 era through the good and bad (urgh, Angel of Darkness) and then find out the developers were bought out to throw it onto another console and nowhere else.

      Can you imagine if R* did that with GTA; shifting it exclusively to M$?

        They did didn't they? Episodes came out 6 months early on 360 if I recall. There was a stink about it at the time too. Timed shit's always bad and anti-consumer and I, owning a PS4, WiiU and gaming PC, hate when MS and Sony do it.

          Sure, I do recall.

          However, I'm more referring to a complete brand shift to a company that didn't champion the game in its formative years. But hey...

            Well, they did say that Tomb Raider is a timed exclusive.

            Not that it's much less anti-consumer, but at least I'll get it on PC eventually, and hopefully there will be a PS4 release, although they are tight lipped about that.

            But in all, I don't blame MS for it, and I don't think they wanted all the negative press. That's probably why they were so quick to issue the statement to Eurogamer.

    I don't think I'm all that worried about it. I mean, I own everything except a PS4 (and that will change soon) so if I see an exclusive, I shrug and say "cool, a new game. Great."

    What pisses me off is exclusive DLC when a game is multiplatform, or DLC exclusive to certain stores (eg. Hyrule Warriors' exclusive DLC to Best Buy/GameStop/whatever). In fact, why we gotta have day one DLC in the first place? Just include it on the gosh darn disc.

    If a game was built with a platform and audience in mind, then I don't mind because they can make the game the best it can be without having to cater for various hardware sets.

    But if it's a series that used to be multi-platform then went exclusive due to $$$, then they can go and get stuffed.

    I don't feel strongly one way or another if they make a title "exclusive" but seriously, cut the BS and be upfront and honest about it

    If I had to "choose a side" I would say that if you want exclusive new IP, go for it
    Buying existing IP that has previously been available across multiple platforms, poor form

    First party exclusives I have no issue with. They provide the point of difference between platforms and produce games that are tailored specifically to their hardware - many of the best games on most platforms are the first party ones. These are games that wouldn't exist without the platform holder making them.

    3rd party exclusives where it's for specific reasons e.g. needs specific capabilities of a particular console, or targeting a market where a particular platform doesn't have much presence (something as Japan-centric as the Yakuza series probably wouldn't have made much sense on 360 which didn't really have any presence in Japan) I don't really have a problem with.

    What I have a problem with is where exclusivity happens because somebody has written a big, fat cheque. You could have written that cheque and created a new, first party IP (see first paragraph of this comment) - it's an investment in creativity. Instead you're spending it to pay somebody to not make a game on a particular platform. This is a creatively bankrupt move - a hell of a lot of money gets spent to produce nothing at all. This doesn't just screw over the customers of the platform holder's competitor, it also screws over their own user base - they still get a game they would have got anyway, but they don't get the other first party game that could have been made with that money. So it's less games to choose from for everyone.

    My issue is more with permanent exclusives, though. I don't really care so much about timed exclusives - they're a bit annoying but that's all. I'm not the kind of person who has to have everything right now - I'd rather get it a few months later than not have the option of getting it at all. And often you end up getting a better product i.e. included DLC, enhancements to the game itself thanks to the extra time is has waiting in the wings before getting released, etc.

    There are two different things happening. First is first party exclusive games. Funded by the console developer and put on their system to protect their IP. In my mind that's fine, if I lose out on playing Halo or the Last of Us then I should get the console. This is completely different, Microsoft have no control over crystal dynamics from a business sense. They've just signed an exclusivity deal which will do nothing but alienate a portion of their fan base which won't adversely affect xbox owners but Sony and pc (and Nintendo)fans will and are getting mad at the developer.

    1st party exclusives, I get. Because if they weren't exclusive, they wouldn't exist at all. In that regard, games like Bayonetta 2 are ok with me as well.

    Less so, but still ok, are games that were commissioned for by one party who doesn't own the studio. The problem is that sometimes they get released on other systems later, which is frustrating if you didn't necessarily want to play it on the original release system.

    Then there are multi-platform titles that down the line get timed exclusivity. IDK how I feel about that, on the other hand, we still get to play it where we want, just a little later. When it releases it will have some of the bugs fixed, if there were any, and will most likely come with the DLC, but I feel that it's still an anti-consumer practice.

    I just wish Sony and MS would take one from Nintendo though. IF you make an exclusive, make it 1st party. It's the only way that makes sense. The game stays where it is intended and the developers will know the hardware etc to make it shine like exclusives are supposed too.

    More importantly: ITS NOT ABOUT QUANTITY, IT'S ABOUT QUALITY! I've never heard so many 'first on' announcements in my life and they are pissing EVERYONE off!

    Oh, and exclusive/ timed DLC is the worst, it's cheap and tacky and the most anti-consumer of the lot. And both MS and Sony do their fair share of that shit.

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