Sony: Publisher Exclusivity Out, Working Directly With Devs In
SCEE president David Reeves has been in the news a lot, lately. First, he apparently said Mirror's Edge would be a timed exclusive for the PlayStation 3 (which EA promptly denied), then he stated that PlayStation Home is "absolutely on track", which we believe is true. Now, in an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Reeves has said publisher exclusivity "may be a thing of the past."
There's no doubt that third-party exclusive titles have been disappearing like a puddle in the Sahara this generation, so this comment comes as no surprise. But at the same time, we have to remember the differing policies between Sony and Microsoft; the former won't ever pay for third-party exclusivity while the latter makes it a common practice. Well, at least they try. In the end, with both consoles selling well and the user bases rising, publishers will have less and less incentive to go exclusive. Microsoft will have to pay more and more to make up for not releasing a game on the PS3, plain and simple. Therefore, perhaps it's best to turn to the developers for exclusive deals... Here's what Reeves had to say:
"We have to accept more and more that platform holders themselves cannot have exclusives unless they're given millions and millions of dollars not to develop a particular game for one particular platform. But for developers, and you could take someone like Quantic Dream for example - a great game, it takes a lot of time to develop, they need a little bit of funding, external development. In exchange, it's exclusive - that works. So exclusivity possibly with developers is more likely that exclusivity with publishers."
Quantic Dream, if you've already forgotten, is developing the PS3 exclusive, Heavy Rain. Reeves finished by saying that publisher exclusivity may be dead and gone, but as far as developers are concerned, the platform exclusive title may not die. It's not a bad philosophy.
8/26/2008 Ben Dutka