This post title is exclusive to the PS3

At E3 this year there were plenty of trends to note and lessons to learn. Here’s a refresher course for those not in (virtual) attendance: 3D isn’t going away any time soon, motion control is here to stay, white nerds shouldn’t dance and Valve now thinks the PS3 is totally cool.

But one thing stuck out from the press conferences more than gyrating geeks, tickling tigers and Bluetooth connection issues. The term exclusive, denoting that a game is monogamous to one platform, was bandied about a number of times, from both Microsoft and Sony in particular. But it definitely wasn’t about the games themselves.

Microsoft introduced its entire conference with Call of Duty: Black Ops, and an announcement of exclusivity. Not that the seventh game in the dude-shooting series would solely be carried in green boxes, but that the downloadable map packs would hit Xbox first, before crawling back to Sony a few months later.

Oh, and did the crowd whoop and clap and applaud. “This is brilliant news from a consumer stand point!” one said, “Thank you for limiting my options Microsoft!” exclaimed another. Those spiteful crowd members must bloody hate Sony or something, because the only people this show-opening news affects is the PlayStation faithful.

It’s not a new trend though. In fact, this entire generation has been headlined by platform exclusivity, in the traditional sense, all but disappearing – while a messy fragmentation a few layers below persists. We have entered the generation of almost zero exclusivity for games, but a tireless console manufacturer war over getting special hats, new levels and even demos on one box before the other.

Take GTA – remember when those games came out on PS2 first? Now its hard not to associate that franchise with the Xbox 360 thanks to it’s massive downloadable content. That’s what 50 million from Microsoft gets ya. And a Lamborghini.

It’s been nice to see a number of classic PlayStation brands, from Final Fantasy to Devil May Cry, shake their PS allegiance. Not out of some vindictive spite towards the PS3, but just so everyone, regardless of their console purchase, can enjoy some top games. The idea of platform exclusivity has become so foreign, that Xbox specific games like Splinter Cell Conviction are deafened by the sound of cynical whispers. Because, Microsoft totally made Ubisoft hats out of $100 bills, right?

But as soon as last generation’s messy fragmentation finally smoothed out, to a point where you can choose between a PS3 and a 360 without worry about missing out, being ostracised, receiving intense name calling and eventually giving up on gaming altogether because the Xbox port of Bully was cancelled… uh what was my point?

Oh yeah. Despite such large strides, the console manufacturers are still trying bloody hard to make our decisions for us. Nevermind that this system has achievements and a better controller (sorry Tony), or that this box o’ tech has free online, you should buy it on our system because it has a free hat.

Free hat, entire levels, challenge rooms, story lines, special editions, Blu-Ray pack-ins, worlds, Avatar clothes and massive chunks of the campaign. It makes choosing the platform to buy your games on a lesson in strenuous research. I spent more revision time on the platform exclusive features of Batman: Arkham Asylum than I did on my A-Levels. (Maybe why I failed. But my results did spell DUDE, so a win there).

I don’t really see any fix here. I’d like to sound so bold and nonchalant as to say I don’t care enough to spend the mental energy (that’s what the paragraph I just deleted said, in fact), but it’s not true. Games are expensive, and I want to get the most possible out of them, so it definitely makes purchasing decisions far tougher than I’d like.

It’s only going to get harder too. In the past months we’ve seen both Sony faithful Insomniac and Microsoft BFF Bungie announce that future games will be heading to multiple gadgets. That sounds all well and good right now, but just wait until the Xbox edition of Bungie’s game comes with a free Avatar shirt and Insomniac’s game has an extra level on PS3! Who will be laughing then?







One response to “This post title is exclusive to the PS3”

  1. Matt avatar

    Personally I have a very shallow way to determine which console I should buy my multi-format games on – the Xbox 360 has gamerscore.

    That’s it, really.

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