Before I begin, note that being an Xbox owner and a Call of Duty & Destiny fan, I’ve been on both ends of the stick in question for this article. That stick, to clarify, is the debate on whether it’s right or wrong for game developers/publishers etc to release additional or part of the content of a multi-platform game exclusively on one of its relevant consoles. This goes for timed exclusives too.
Why do I bring up CoD and Destiny? They both launched on Xbox & Playstation, and each has offered some form of exclusive content in a bias to one platform or the other. Call of Duty had a history of heavily favouring Xbox by releasing all DLC around a month earlier than on PS (until the recent change, favouring PS) whilst Destiny heavily promoted that the full experience could be found ONLY on Playstation, where they offered additional content and/or timed-exclusive content.
So, what’s the deal? Arguments against this kind of agreement claim they’re paying for the same game, but being given less content, effectively being unfairly treated. Quite honestly, this is a fair complaint, as a consumer this deal sucks, and that’s all there is to it.
However, the world is bigger than just us consumers and a particular game, because as one platform is advantaged and the other disadvantaged through CoD’s latest map pack, the scales remain unmoved with not only countless other exclusive content across both platforms, but the seemingly endless number of exclusive games out there across both platforms.
Granted, some instances are worse than others, with no exclusives being ideal, followed by short timed-exclusive periods, then hefty ones like Destiny’s PS4 timed-exclusive content, and then of course totally exclusive content. The reality is the gaming industry is a business, and without partnership deals like these, there would simply be no competition. Competition through its means tends to harm the consumer in some way but it is necessary, without competition it’s difficult to breed growth in this industry. Of course, no growth means that at the end of it all, the consumer is worse off as game and hardware developers are forced to at the very least not advance and innovate, and in some cases cut back on their operations.
Exclusive IP is the big-hitter for these companies, and I feel that totally platform-exclusive games are absolutely necessary, it breeds the above competition and growth as platforms compete for exclusive titles to pull the gaming collective toward themselves over their competitors. However, I do think there is room for change when it comes to pieces of content in a multi-platform game.
I see a possible future where exclusive content is limited to just a small period of time, like Call of Duty’s DLC packs, and the only truly exclusive content is not platform-locked, but locked to limited editions and pre-order bonuses. Players knowingly choose the catalogue of IPs they have access to when they purchase a particular console, however they will never know until it’s too late what games will offer exclusive content the the console they didn’t choose. By pushing all exclusive content to a timed-exclusive arrangement, players can all eventually access the content they feel they deserve, all the while allowing competition to continue to push the gaming industry forward and an ever-increasing rate.
What are your thoughts on this matter?
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