: Editorial: Should Sony Buy Exclusives?

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Editorial: Should Sony Buy Exclusives?

As we all know by now, third-party exclusives appear to be going the way of the dodo. It won't be long before the only platform exclusives left will be from the makers of the platform themselves; i.e., first-party titles. But as evidenced by the likes of Bioshock, it is still possible to buy - at the very least - timed exclusivity. Microsoft clearly has no qualms with this practice, but Sony, as stated by the former big boss of SCEE, Phil Harrison, doesn't believe in it. Now that Mr. Shuhei is in charge, perhaps that viewpoint will change, but then again, it might change simply to suit a more competitive marketplace.

There were rumors (recently shot down by Capcom) that Microsoft has already made a pitch to make Resident Evil 5 a timed exclusive for the Xbox 360. And what's to stop them from pursuing Square-Enix and the likes of Final Fantasy XIII? S-E has already made it abundantly clear that they wish to adopt a new business focus, with the Western gaming audience at its core. Hence, such a move might make perfect sense... So on the one hand, it might be in Sony's best interest to step up and play that game; go toe-to-toe; play tit-for-tat. Now, it may not be as reasonable with FFXIII simply because Square-Enix has been developing the game from the ground up for the PS3, but that's a practice that many third-party developers won't use in the future. Instead, multiplatform simultaneous releases seem to be the name of the day; hopefully, with individually developed efforts on each console. No more ports either way, goddamnit.

So should Sony bite the bullet and start ponying up the cash? Can two wrongs make a right? Is there a right and wrong? Certainly, we understand the publisher's side of this: a game made for more than one platform simply increases the size of the consumer population. More people can play the product. It's that easy. Hence, they would want a hefty sum of money to keep the game on one platform, which would make up for the money they lost by not including other platforms. Really, this is quite logical. But in the long run, does buying temporary (or even permanent) exclusives turn out good for the industry? Is it good for the consumer? In the end, it's a console war, and whoever sells the most hardware wins. In a completely equal world, Sony might buy a few temporary exclusive deals to sell more PS3's and thereby close the gab in certain territories. But nothing is equal in this world.

I just question where all this is going. What's the end result? If Sony tosses their hat into the ring and all-out bidding wars start, doesn't this just mean that Sony would win some of the time and Microsoft would win some of the time? ...what would that prove? It'd all come down the quality of each exclusive title, I guess. Beyond that, you've got two giants trying to best each other in a deep-pockets war, and I'm not even sure it's worth it. Maybe it's best to just stick to first-party exclusives to help push hardware, and the rest can be standard multiplatform releases. One could look at the past to see the kind of role third-party exclusives played, but the industry ain't the same, anymore. It's a tough situation, to be sure, and I'm just kinda thinking out loud. In the end, maybe it's not even that important...

6/20/2008 Ben Dutka

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Comments (25 posts)

John Shoemaker
Friday, June 20, 2008 @ 10:11:25 PM
Reply

Um, in all honestly, Sony cannot go toe-to-toe with Microsoft in terms of buying. You have to think how big their pockets are and Microsoft has a huge edge.

Why can't we just have one console? Have the big three team together and just make one? Can't we all just get along in the end?
Probably not, but we can dream.

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WaR_HaWk
Friday, June 20, 2008 @ 10:34:21 PM

agree

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NoMoreWar
Friday, June 20, 2008 @ 11:05:34 PM

that may sound good and all, but its really never good to take the competitiveness away from any consumer product. in most areas, it is far better for the industry to have multiple companies constantly pushing the boundaries and forcing their competitors to do the same. as soon as you get one of anything, prices go up while technology hardly advances. one of the reasons i dislike microsoft is due to their long history of buying out any competition.

Last edited by NoMoreWar on 6/20/2008 11:06:50 PM

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coolistic
Saturday, June 21, 2008 @ 7:24:45 AM

Yes, I would most certainly consider buying the "PlayTendoBoxWii60"

But I think that Sony should not buy exclusives. That's a dirty trick, the Microsoft ass***** use.

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Reccaman18
Friday, June 20, 2008 @ 10:43:41 PM
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Sony has the best first party games anyway. That is where the focus should be at, not at buying out a game from a developer. But it could come down to greed: How much money do these developers want?

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WaR_HaWk
Saturday, June 21, 2008 @ 12:51:49 AM
Reply

there should be a universal PlayBoxii or whatever.like i have all consoles, but right now i play ps3(mgs4). when MS bought time exclusitivity for Bioshok, it made Xbox famous and they sold alot of consoles. So i think sony need to get more exclusive games in order to kick M$ Butt.

Last edited by WaR_HaWk on 6/21/2008 12:57:13 AM

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aaronisbla
Saturday, June 21, 2008 @ 1:09:27 AM
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like no more war said, im not sure that having 1 console would be good for the consumers at all.

When 2 or more companies are striving to get our cash, WE win in this situation.

I think MS having a headstart was good for Sony, they see that it will take a lot to keep us around. Despite their slow start, id say sony is doing well in keeping us around, ales are up, and great games are craning out.

We need some more jrpgs ( or rpgs in general )though, looking forward to Disagea 3

Last edited by aaronisbla on 6/21/2008 1:09:52 AM

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aaronisbla
Saturday, June 21, 2008 @ 1:11:32 AM
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I think sony might wanna think about paying some cash sometimes, although i hate the practice. If its just to stop MS from getting some advantage ( like the exclusive DLC for GTA ) then i say its worth it, but not all the time

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Zapix
Saturday, June 21, 2008 @ 1:46:21 AM
Reply

Sony needs to get on the ball for getting their own products out. I've been on an anti-sony rampage for the last 36 hours, and I really don't know when it's going to end. I admit though, I do prefer Sony over Microsoft any day of the week...

Sony has had nonstop delays and slow progress on their own games and hardware. The PS3 lagged a year behind the 360 giving the 360 a sharp edge that we're still feeling like it or not. Sony has had endless delays on Home. They've yet to release firmware for ingame xmb, trophies, and a list other things.

I've yet to see a first party microphone for the PSP. If they gave the thing a keyboard, built in IMing programs for Yahoo, AIM, and dare I mention it, MSN Messenger. They have the potential to make it rival alot of popular cellphone features, and appear to want to head in that direction, but haven't. They're adding a GPS function which is great and all, but so would the idea of adding a LAN cable adapter for wired connections... Not 'everywhere' has wireless internet.

The weekly updates on the PSN are stomped on by LIVE! like Bambi vs Godzilla... Games like Wipeout HD are still awaiting release. On the note of Wipeout, a franchise I have followed system to system along with Final Fantasy... Wipeout Pulse still does not have the DLC available in the US, yet the UK has had it for months now. If they can get their own priorities straight first, then first party titles would most likely be alot stronger with Sony.

I suppose my point is, Sony isn't buying exclusives, but then, they really don't seem to be doing much of anything from what I can see. Losing GTA4 as a PS3 game only was a huge blow for PS3 sales, however a HUGE gain for R*. Square-Enix is pushing 360 games now, and while I'm sure FFXIII will remain exclusive, I can't speak for FFXIV and beyond...

Exclusives as said, drives a systems sales... If all non first party games are multiplatform, then that in it's own kills competition for the systems. The next XBOX and PS systems would have to be within a reasonable range of specifications, all developers would have to know both systems, etc... In the end, while that can be good for sales, it's alot more on the development end.

That all being said, Sony needs to do something honestly. Be it start getting their own software on the plate and do it more effectively, and REALLY get the playstation network going, or start bidding for exclusives...

One problem I see with bidding for exclusives though is... Who's say what will be worth having as an exclusive?

Microsoft has lucked out with Halo, Fable, Mass Effect, and other games... Alot of people were thinking Haze would be Sony's answer to Halo... It definately is not the answer! Mass Effect still has a slim chance to pop up on the PS3, and I say that considering we're seeing Bioshock on the PS3 now... But it's a little late. The big 'new game!' rush is over, and hardware sales are not going to go up for the PS3. Sony should have fought to keep Devil May Cry 4, Grand Theft Auto 4, and Resident Evil 5 to themselves, even if for just a year. They lucked out that Kojima wanted to keep MGS4 on the PS3 only...

The Japanese market has alot more games than we do, and Sony needs to get their games, first party and third party translated and across borders and oceans. It's time to stop holding back based on territory popularity and make the market OPEN worldwide, not just limited per territory. For example, I see alot of 'anime' based games that simply never come over here... 10 years ago, it might have made sense... However, stores now have huge sections dedicated to anime. Withholding games that could be translated and exported would be better than getting a few exclusives out imo.

And as John above there pointed out... Microsoft's pockets are beyond huge... A bidding war between Microsoft and Sony wouldn't be very good for Sony at this point... They've lost the important stuff already imo, and unless they want to risk

Last edited by Zapix on 6/21/2008 1:53:16 AM

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SHADOW [Moderator]
Saturday, June 21, 2008 @ 4:56:25 PM

Damn. Save some for your book. Just kidding. Much of your argument is great. I just want to point a few things out.

IMing would be a great feature. I don't think MSN will happen but I'm shocked that some AIM client isn't out yet. The two companies have a good working relation ship AOL even has a Sony version of thier homepage (sony.aol.com). This might be something they got planned for PS3 version 3.0 (I wish.)

The biggest problem with your entire logic is the with selling systems. You act like Sony's goal is to sell systems. That is false. Every time Sony sells a system they lose money. Sony wants to sell systems to set up their true goal, sell games. That's how Sony and MS make money, games. They (Sony especially) sells their consoles at huge losses, they hope they'll make enough money off game sales to make up that sales deficit.

Can't say for sure, but you sound like your an anime fan (sorry if I'm wrong). I'm not. I hate just about everything about anime in fact. And I am strongly in the majority here. Though the anime-niacs have grown tremendously in numbers in the US for the most part that glorious American male 18-34 demographic thinks that anime is a joke. If most of those games were brought stateside then they would fail miserably.

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aaronisbla
Saturday, June 21, 2008 @ 2:14:33 AM
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last i checked, GTA4 was never set in stone to be an exclusive to the ps3 system.

Everyone assumed DMC4 would stay exclusive, but people should have known better from capcom.

If they can get the ball rolling and without so many delays, that would be awesome. I cant wait till firmware update 2.40, im glad that sony has finally made it official

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pavlovic
Saturday, June 21, 2008 @ 9:36:32 AM
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Well, thank you Microsoft for paying a Bioshock timed exclusive, now PS3 owners will be getting a "recharged" version with updated graphics, sound and play levels.

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John Shoemaker
Saturday, June 21, 2008 @ 10:17:17 AM
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Yeah but it is not going to sell systems for Sony like it did for Microsoft last year.
It's not going to be like what MGS4 is doing for the system. Even though that has really sold that many systems since it was released, but it has and that is what we need.

We need more exclusives for the PS3 but what we don't need if people making up Hype for them at the same time. I never heard of Haze being the Halo killer, that was more for what Killzone 2 is supposed to do. But since they went and delayed it for no reason what so ever except saying they didn't want to release it during this holiday season.

And I agree with you on the delays of certain game and firmware there Zapix. We need these games they keep delaying. Wipeout HD needs to come out. Firmware 240 needs to come out like tomorrow. And the PS3 needs Home to come out this year if we are going to get anywhere in this console war. Sony needs these things and more to stay alive in this generation. Especially if they want the PS3 to be out for ten years.

And I'm not sure if you guys read anything on IGN but they have a list for each console of all the games you need to play on each system this summer. And I'm not going to count the Wii because we all know that thing has won. But lets just look at the ones for Sony and Microsoft: Sony has 1 exclusive and Microsoft has 3.
And the three games that the Xbox gets are nothing but RPGs.
Get it in gear Sony. Bring us some F-ing Rpgs already. Something else then just Disagea 3, which I've never even played then first two.

Sony needs to do something instead of just making excuses even time they don't do anything.

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AscientDire
Saturday, June 21, 2008 @ 11:16:47 AM
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I personally think business ethics have long been forgotten by some companies. While I know we don't live in an ideal world, it still shames me to see companies like Microsoft "forcing" their way into the market by opening their wallets rather than using that money to develop aspects of their system that would make people "want" to buy from them, not force them through eating up the available market...Just my opinion though.

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LegioN
Saturday, June 21, 2008 @ 11:30:21 AM
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In all honesty Sony cannot outbid Microsoft. And they don't need to either, Xbox 360 will burn out eventually because they do only that, buy exclusives and the things they produce themselves are never up to par with Sonys first party games.

Sony can still steamroll Microsoft in the gaming industry without having to spend money on exclusives. We're already witnessing the change now.

P.S i think that's dirty and underhanded to buy exclusives as it is.

P.P.S an "all-in-one" console will not work, as someone else said we need competition to evolve, in all things in life, including computer games.

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Fabi
Saturday, June 21, 2008 @ 12:15:58 PM
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Does anyone have an idea how the PS3 is supposed to catch up to the 360? It's only outselling the 360 by 20k in the states. And even in Japan, before MGS4, it was only outselling it by like 10k a month.

Any ideas? Aside from MS dumping the 360 and the PS3 catching up after.

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Cavan
Saturday, June 21, 2008 @ 1:37:29 PM
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well its been catching up quite quickly actually, ms might have made a load of sales in europe initally, but in europe most ppl i kno are replacing their 360's for ps3's and in the uk it already has outsold the 360. the ps3 is huge in europe, and is stupidally big in japan, did like 70k units last week, which will continue as half a million mgs4 games was sold in the 1st week so that has allready moved alot of units, the 360 has already lost 2 outa the 3 terroties, its only america were the 360 beats the ps3, and that will alwayz be hard as for the same reason the ps3 sells better in japan, ppl like to buy their own products and the majority of americans will buy an american product over a japaneese product anyday so long as the product is just as good, and really both systems have highs and lows so americans will just buy american products unless sony can come up with somthing magical to make it majorly better than the 360, till then this will just be a stalemate in the console war..

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Fabi
Saturday, June 21, 2008 @ 2:14:33 PM
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It did 70k last week because of MGS4, but before that it was only doing about 11k, while the 360 did about 1-2k. I'm not sure by how much it's outselling the 360 in Europe, but I highly doubt it's enough to catch up soon.

War has changed...

Any other ideas?

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aaronisbla
Saturday, June 21, 2008 @ 2:33:05 PM
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fr now, its gonna be a stalemate unless ps3 can capture the american market.

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QuasarSquirrel
Saturday, June 21, 2008 @ 3:24:27 PM
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I don't really like exclusives on either side, although I totally get that sony or microsoft aren't going to release the games they publish on a competitor's platform. I'd rather see more simultaneous multiplat releases, cause I don't like anybody missing out on something like Bioshock.
This is coming from someone who doesn't have a PS3 yet (sorry I still like this website though), but plan on getting one this winter.

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SHADOW [Moderator]
Saturday, June 21, 2008 @ 5:14:43 PM
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I'm going to suggest something that everyone will hate.

I think that instead of buying games Sony should buy the whole damn company. This would allow Sony to continue to do what they are good at, producing amazing (and original) first party games. I mean what if Sony suddenly jumped in and bought out Take 2 instead of EA? That would secure tons of great things for Sony: GTA, NBA 2K, Bioshock, etc.

I know there is no way that'll happen but it would be better than the EA buyout idea wouldn't it?

I think that Sony has actually put themselves in a pretty good position. All of their great exclusives (with the exception of MGS) are all first party, so they can't lose them. MS however has lost Bioshock, Mass Effect (in all likly hood), Bungie wants to do something that isn't Halo, and Gears of War 2 is the last in the series that has to be exclusive to X-Box (After that Epic owns the franchise free and clear, and they haven't been shy about Sony praise for the open PSN). While the PS3 exclusives, Resistance, Ratchet and Clank, Gran Turismo, Jak and Daxter (if they ever make it), Uncharted, SingStar, WipeOut, and there are others that I missed can't go anywhere.

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Gabriel013
Monday, June 23, 2008 @ 1:36:03 AM
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I don't see the point of exclusives. It smells of "our console is crap but I'll make you buy it just so that you can play ***"

Have all games multiplatform with separate dev teams working om each console model and producing the best title possible. Gamers will buy the better version thus punishing the sales of the weaker console.

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Deleted User
Monday, June 23, 2008 @ 12:27:45 PM
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Ratchet and Clank, God of War, Jak, Sly, Uncharted, Metal Gear Solid, Resistance, Killzone. Not bad exclusives.

Last edited by n/a on 6/23/2008 12:28:06 PM

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chez
Monday, June 23, 2008 @ 4:12:45 PM
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I love exclusives. Having all three systems myself it's nice to know that some games will never come out for either the 360 or Playstion, and most certainly the Wii. Wii (Worst purchase ever). anyways, MGS 4 was incredible, and if i had to play it on the 360, well i guess i wouldn't care, but i still like to know that MGS equals Sony. Much like Gears of War equals Microsoft, and how Zelda equals Nintendo. I don't know, i just think if there was one system, the variety of games would be diminished, and the drive to compete be having better games and to be top game would go down. This is my opinion, it's not right or wrong, just my opinion.

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chez
Monday, June 23, 2008 @ 4:12:49 PM
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I love exclusives. Having all three systems myself it's nice to know that some games will never come out for either the 360 or Playstion, and most certainly the Wii. Wii (Worst purchase ever). anyways, MGS 4 was incredible, and if i had to play it on the 360, well i guess i wouldn't care, but i still like to know that MGS equals Sony. Much like Gears of War equals Microsoft, and how Zelda equals Nintendo. I don't know, i just think if there was one system, the variety of games would be diminished, and the drive to compete be having better games and to be top game would go down. This is my opinion, it's not right or wrong, just my opinion.

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