Are More PS3 Exclusives Imminent?
We are all quite aware of the recurring theme of this new generation: third-party exclusives are nearly a thing of the past, despite the fact that Microsoft has managed to secure a few timed exclusives. Essentially, all we're left with is first and second-party productions, like Resistance (Insomniac) and Uncharted (Naughty Dog). However, now that we've seen clear examples of the PlayStation 3's potential and hardware superiority, will third-party developers begin to consider working on PS3 exclusives?
It almost seems inevitable, provided said developers wish to delve into the PS3's complex architecture and produce something truly special. It's no real surprise that when a developer focuses entirely on Sony's machine, we get some of the most unbelievable creations seen in this generation: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Killzone 2 and LittleBigPlanet are already here to support that point, and God of War III, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Heavy Rain, and Gran Turismo 5 may drive the point home. The evidence appears obvious, and developers who want to challenge themselves and put themselves among the elite may have to place solid emphasis on the PS3. However, perhaps the argument is rendered null and void by the cold hard numbers associated with the subject.
There are about 50 million PS3s and 360s out there (about 28 million of the latter and 22 million of the former), which means it makes the most financial sense to release a game for both platforms. That's only logical. Why halve your sales potential? That question alone could dictate the possibility of future exclusives, but at the same time, who will say that MGS4 or Gears of War 2 were sales failures? Who will say that Konami and Epic didn't reap the rewards of producing an exclusive gem? Are we really going to argue the point in this respect? Look, one of the biggest reasons the third-party exclusive went down the tube early on - especially on Sony's side - is because of the sheer amount of resources required to make a blockbuster video game these days. There's much to risk for most any developer and they simply couldn't afford to risk more by focusing only on one platform and drastically reducing the game's sales potential.
But as the user base for each system in question rises and development and manufacturing costs fall, and designers become more comfortable and familiar with the PS3, perhaps the argument remains stable. Therefore, we'd like to think the possibility for many more PS3 exclusives increases with every passing day.
3/12/2009 Ben Dutka