Do Multiplatform Games Affect Console Sales?
As we all know, great exclusives push hardware sales for a very obvious reason: if you can only play a game on one particular platform and you don't own it, you're gonna need it. That's it. But as we've found in this new generation, third-party multiplatform titles are the norm, and we certainly can't blame developers or publishers. It has become awfully expensive to produce a game for the current consoles and in order to insure a better return on investment, a company really needs to reach as many people as possible. Therefore, most games come to both the PS3 and Xbox 360. But does this encourage one-console ownership?
First of all, we're going to eliminate the Wii from this discussion, just because it doesn't actually have next-gen games and many titles in its library are exclusive. The Wii is in no way comparable to either the PS3 or 360 so if you want Wii software, you need a Wii. However, that being said, this can also factor into the argument as the Wii has sold about a gajillion units worldwide...doesn't this prove the aforementioned point? Now, say you either own the PS3 or 360. Just about every time a game comes out that you want to play, it's available for the machine you have at home. Hence, what's prompting you to drop the significant sum of money for the other console? Any true avid gamer will say you need both systems to get the most out of this generation - and that remains true - but exclusive titles, especially for the 360, are few and far between.
At this point, I've found it difficult to convince friends of mine to own a 360. They already have the PS3 and because most everything is multiplatform and the current state of exclusives certainly fall in favor of the PS3, my argument falters. The same can be said of convincing 360 owners to buy a PS3, although it's easier to point to the exclusive list and find a game they're definitely going to want. But the bottom line is that we're a good two and a half years into this generation, and I have a sneaking suspicion that there are many single-console owners out there because of the huge amount of multiplatform titles. In fact, if you ask people outside the industry, who really have no idea about video games, they'll often ask, "why would you have both? Aren't almost all the games on both machines?" It's hard to answer that even if you can turn to exclusives. Then again, we could always cite other options and features on the console, but software is always a top priority.
I just think that if there were more exclusive games for each system, it's perfectly logical to assume that console sales would rise. Single-console owners who love games simply wouldn't be able to resist any longer. It may be a strange way to look at things, but, well...sometimes I do that. ;)
5/4/2009 Ben Dutka