Why Exclusives Need to Live: The Importance of Identity

Why Exclusives Need to Live: The Importance of Identity

Recently, a short article went around named ”Exclusives Need to Die’.” It created some discussion and promoted some interesting points. On the whole, I disagreed with the main point presented, mainly as it wasn’t put forward very well, but the post set off some cogs in my head, and soon I was thinking about why exclusives are needed, and why they tend to be staples of a generation of systems and games.

The exclusive games a system can offer is often what sells the system to the masses. Not only are they just games, but they’re representations of what the system is all about. The 360 initially boasted a strong line up of Western exclusives, mostly heavily focused on action. It gave the 360 an identity, something people could get behind and develop an expectation of things to come. The PS3 was more of a ranged beast, with various types of games from both the West and Far East supplying new experiences to build up the system library.

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This would have made people sick in the ’90s

Nintendo’s exclusives for their systems are possibly the best example of games dictating a system’s identity. There’s a reason why Nintendo was painted as the ‘casual’ company from 2006 onwards–their systems’ exclusives built that identity. The same can be said for the the 3DS, which is now seen as one of the best platforms for RPGs, strategy RPGS, and titles like Animal Crossing and Tomodachi Life.

If there’s one line that sums up a huge issue I, and many others, had with the piece named ”Exclusives Need To Die,” it was this: ”However, studios being bought out in order to only develop for one platform is something we shouldn’t put up with. Especially considering how similar both the Xbox One, the PS4, and PC’s have become, porting games across platforms this generation shouldn’t be quite as difficult as before.”

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We all know buying out studios only results in bad things…

The author has seemingly forgot that at the end of the day, it’s business–and business doesn’t thrive on allowing the competitor to work freely. How can anyone say buying studios is unacceptable? Once a studio is bought, it’s up to the buyers to work them how they see fit. It’s business. Heck, it’s just the way of life. There’s this odd stigma that when a company buys a studio out there MUST be some kind of imperialistic movement by the buyer, imposing themselves on the seller. It’s a naive and immature way looking at the business side of a passion people often romanticize far too often.

Exclusives allow developers to push a system further and further. They allow developers to try things, try new ideas; they often allow developers to flourish. Exclusives don’t need to die. If anything, they are integral to each generation. Look back through the years: Uncharted; Gears of War; Crash Bandicoot; Mario 64; The Last of Us; God of War; Sonic The Hedgehog. All of these exclusives–and more–defined their respective systems and generations. While some exclusives birth into multiplatform franchises, the initial exclusive is still important to its time and system.

To say exclusives should die is nothing short of silly. Perhaps it’s the words of a person jaded by the business side of the industry. Perhaps it’s someone who wants to play everything, but not buy everything. Whatever the reason is, it’s an outlook that’s naive and misses the importance of exclusives.

Sean Halliday


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