Report: Sony Dragged Its Feet And Lost Exclusives
When Ubisoft's ultra-impressive-looking title, Assassin's Creed, was unveiled this past spring, the game was accompanied by a lot of "oohs" and "ahs." At the time, it was believed Creed would be a PS3 exclusive.
Initially, Ubisoft toyed with the idea of whether or not they'd take the game multiplatform. And even though they never mentioned any platform but the PS3, Microsoft's X05 show last year listed a game called, Project Assassin. Then, after a lot more waiting, Ubi finally came clean and announced Assassin's Creed would be available for the Xbox 360 and PC in addition to the PS3.
Now it appears that a recent Newsweek article indicates that the game was designed to be a PS3 exclusive. According to correspondent N'Gai Croal's blog, Level Up, both Creed and Grand Theft Auto IV were originally supposed to debut only on the PS3. Unfortunately, the "slowness" of Sony cost the PS3 both franchises as, at the very least, time exclusives.
"We've learned that Take-Two and Rockstar Games were interested in continuing their longtime relationship with Sony, in which they premiered their Grand Theft Auto games on PlayStation platforms exclusively for 6-12 months before bringing them to other systems," wrote Croal. "Also, Ubisoft was interested in making Assassin's Creed, due in stores next spring, exclusive to the PS3."
To elaborate further on why this happened, Croal blames "radio silence" and the inactivity of Kutaragi.
"For the greater part of this year, PlayStation chief Ken Kutaragi hadn't finalized the business terms for independent publishers on the PS3," wrote Croal. "PlayStation's Japanese headquarters was effectively radio silent, and without Kutaragi's signoff, the normally independent American and European branches had no authority to reach agreements on the exclusives they believed could be valuable to the PS3 cause."
And of course, as Newsweek reported, Microsoft went after Take-Two and Ubisoft while Sony played the waiting game. The American software giant apparently offered up some pretty impressive terms to bring the two games to the Xbox 360, and neither publisher was stupid enough to pass it up. Thus far, there hasn't been any official response from Sony concerning the issue, but Sony executive vice president Jack Tretton claims GTA IV on the 360 was the publisher's plan, and there wasn't anything Sony could've done to change that plan.
"There was interest on Take-Two's part to bring Grand Theft Auto onto Xbox platforms," said Tretton. "We wouldn't encourage them to do that. The interest came from them."
Well, whatever the reasons, Sony had better hope they can at least boast the best versions of Assassin's Creed and Grand Theft Auto IV when they become available.
11/21/2006 Ben Dutka