Let’s open a discussion, shall we?
Console exclusive games are what gives a platform its value. People bought the original Xbox to play Halo. They bought the PS3 for The Last of Us. If you want to play Mario, Zelda, or any other Nintendo franchise, you gotta have the latest Nintendo hardware. So on and so forth. You gotta make a choice; game consoles are expensive, so which one has the most alluring exclusives?
This can be a pretty divisive subject. Some people want to hog their exclusives all to themselves and become outraged when it gets ported to other hardware (see the Horizon: Zero Dawn port on PC). Others want everyone to be able to play every game, no matter which console they bought. Some people just want specific games to be put on other platforms for the sake of ease or extra hardware power.
There is a logic to all the sides in this. When you buy a console specifically for one game only for that game to be ported to something you already had, it can be pretty frustrating. The idea of everyone being able to play anything certainly sounds nice. And I’ll be damned if I haven’t wished to play certain games on my more powerful PC.
The most common opinion is the second one. That all games should be available on all platforms. If a Playstation player wants to play Halo, they shouldn’t have to buy an Xbox. An Xbox player should be able to experience the horrors of Bloodborne. So on and so forth.
I mostly agree with this opinion. I love games and I want as many people on as many platforms as possible to be able to experience them. But is that utopian dream really what we want?
Competition is good for an industry. If you want to sell more units than your competitor, you need to give your consumer more than they are. Is your hardware just as powerful as theirs? Then you need to have more compelling games than they do.
Just look at the Xbox 360 VS the PS3. The 360 came out swinging in its first few years with Halo 3, Gears of War, and more. Meanwhile, the PS3 only had a few exclusives that didn’t do much to impress. Then, after a few years, Sony kicked it into high gear with games like Metal Gear Solid 4 and The Last of Us.
This competition, the very basis of the console wars, is great for the consumer. It gives us more amazing games to play! Sure, you still need to pick which console you want to dedicate yourself to until you’ve got the cash to abandon ship if you need to. But if this competition didn’t exist, the industry would have no reason to progress.
Don’t believe me? Let’s go back to the 80s with the days of the NES. When this bad boy came out, Nintendo became the indisputable king of the video game industry. No other piece of hardware could compete. Wanna publish a game? Gotta get Nintendo’s approval! If you wanted to play a game, chances are that it was either in the arcade or on the NES.
Then came the Sega Genesis. Suddenly, Nintendo had competition! Someone else had a little plastic box that could play games! Games that were amazing! Suddenly, Nintendo had to up their game as to not be left behind!
So, yeah. While it is frustrating to have to deal with console barriers to just play a game you’re interested in, I do feel that that barrier is important. It provides the industry a reason to grow and expand. The more they try to one-up each other, the better off we as the consumer will be.
Although the dream is nice, I won’t deny that. My Xbox friends deserve to play Spider-Man.