As you all may know, in the past two to three years, there have been a number of Playstation-exclusives which have made their way into the Xbox game library and likewise, a number of Xbox-exclusives which have made their way to into the Playstation game library. To a lot of us gamers this has been good news, as there is nothing better than getting a AAA title which, once only being available on one console, become available on the console of our choice. This has been evident with recent gaming titles such as Devil May Cry 4, Resident Evil 5 and the latest, Final Fantasy XIII.
One might wonder what persuades a developer to offer their games on numerous consoles (or restrict them to one)? Another might wonder why all developers do not follow suit? See, there are multiple answers for these questions, both technical and financial. Having been in the gaming industry for about three years, working most of my time for Real Time World, (the developers of Crackdown), I have learned enough looking at both the technical and business side of this argument to understand why developers choose to have exclusives for particular franchises. Let’s take a closer look.
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of Patriots
Metal Gear Solid 4 as we all know, is a big game. The game boasts quite a lengthy storyline, the gameplay is unlike anything else and the concept behind the franchise is one of the best we’ve seen in a video game. For some time now, we have heard rumours about the possibility of MGS4 being released on the Xbox 360 within the next year or so, and with each speculation sounding more and more believable, gamers are definitely thinking that this might actually happen.
We then cooled-off for a while, not even thinking about the game coming over to the Xbox 360 until Kojima Production’s official website had a teaser featuring what appeared to look like the Xbox 360 power button. Unfortunately though, a few weeks later, we learned that the symbol from the teaser was in fact for an iPod Touch game and the speculations arose again, wondering if there would ever be any truth to the move of Metal Gear Solid 4 to the Xbox 360.
All that said, here is my prediction on said topic. I do not think we will be seeing Metal Gear Solid 4 appearing on the Xbox 360. Now, many of you already may have already knew this … you know who I’m talking about … my dear Playstation loyalists. Here is my take on it. First of, everyone will agree with me in saying that technically speaking, MGS4 could not fit onto the storage space of one DVD disc, which is approximately 8Gb, especially considering that this game pretty much takes up the space of one Blu-Ray disc, which has a capacity of 50Gb. Yes, it would be possible to put the game on maybe three DVD discs, but such a move would require a great deal of change, particularly a whole new approach would have to be taken towards the development.
The thing is, developers are just not willing to invest the time and money into such a venture when they could be using at the same resources to work on an entirely new project. Now, the second reason (which also relates to the technical department) is the aspect of graphics, as to make everything render beautifully, run smoothly and look gorgeous, the game would have to demand a lot of processing power which the Xbox 360 is capable of providing but it is sure to struggle with larger games like Metal Gear Solid 4.
The PS3 chipset was designed specifically to handle such processes that MGS4 requires to render the game world. It would simply just not look and run as smoothly as it does on the Playstation 3 if it were to make a transition to the Xbox 360. Now, the final reason (looking at it on the business side of the argument) is sales. Konami admitted a year or so ago, that they were going to monitor how well things turned out financially before even considering taking Metal Gear Solid 4 to other consoles.
The game up until now has been a success on the PS3, surpassing a million copies sold and still going strong – this game shows no sign of weakness. To add to that, we have seen the price of the PS3 console drop continually and this has lead to an increase in sales mainly because of its gaming and Blu-Ray capabilities, often with the game Little Big Planet or Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of Patriots being the game of choice along with it – furthermore securing this game’s success. Initially, the console might have had poor sales figures due to its ticket price, but it has been selling like hotcakes now with each price drop – I’m confident that it will duplicate the success of the PS2 as years pass. It is for these reasons I believe that MGS4 will remain an exclusive, something which Sony needs to make sure of no matter the cost because it is a money-making franchise that any console manufacturer would need and want on their side.
Without going into specifics, many of you will understand why this franchise (or game) will never venture onto other consoles. With stunning graphics, superb gameplay and a fantastic concept behind it, a similar game could only be matched on a high-end PC. Comparisons have been made by numerous websites across the internet about the graphics of Killzone 2 against those of Crysis, to determine which game reigns supreme in this respect.
The only thing we must ask ourselves when looking at Killzone 2, is whether the game will succeed? Will this eye-candy hold up to the graphics and gameplay which the teasers suggest? Will it sell millions of copies to profit Sony? I predict so, but time will indicate this soon enough. No matter the outcome, this baby is siding with Sony for technical reasons alone. If needed due to financial reasons, this game could only end up for the PC, which Sony does not even compete with.
Before you sigh and close the window, you know I had to go here – hear me out. Halo after all, was Microsoft’s hit franchise that saved the Xbox brand from early failure. There is no doubting, that if it wasn’t for Halo, there would be no competition for a serious console in the ‘next-generation’ console line up. Halo, blatantly, is a franchise that will never see the likes of Playstation. It is a simple business decision for Microsoft, if they make one of their best selling series of all time available on a competitor console, there would be no reason to purchase the next Xbox. Halo 3 sold over eight million copies and brought back profits for Microsoft’s Gaming Division (known as ‘Microsoft Game Studios) – that’s not something you want competitors to have a hold on. Sure, they could make available the Halo franchise from now-on-in available for the Playstation in the attempt to increase sales, but it is far better to have your console (or brand for that matter) identifiable by a unique software or set of games that no-one else will be able to replicate.
Technically speaking, the only reason I could not see Halo becoming a PS3 title is due to its online service (or lack thereof). Bungie is able to make Halo’s multiplayer run smoothly over Xbox Live with beautiful infrastructure that not even a PC could match. Expect the words ‘Halo’ and ‘Playstation’ to never be coupled in the same sentence.
Gears of War Franchise
Oh Gears of War, the only console this game would not work well on would most likely be the Nintendo DS. The concept behind this game is simple. You have a group of buddies with you, they all tag along to save the world from the Locust and then you get into a very glitchy multiplayer experience, only to receive a patch soon after and then jump on Horde and play it like there is no tomorrow.
This franchise is another example of a smart business move by Microsoft, this time with developers Epic to keep the name and franchise an Xbox-exclusive. There is no denying, the Gears of War games could probably look and run greater on a Playstation console and would increase the amount of players online, but being such a success story and due to the sheer profit these two games have generated, it would be something Microsoft would never consider.
There have been rumours circulating on the internet about a possible deal between Epic and Sony but it does not seem like anything will come of in the short term. In the long run, it will only be a matter of time before Sony and Epic are working on an original title, that I do predict. I just hope the people at Sony do not ever have to hear Cliffy B repeat ‘Bigger, badder and more badass”.
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