Posts tagged Microsoft
In the wake of today’s Tomb Raider news I thought it would be important to talk about the word “exclusive” and what it has come to mean.
A few days ago Editor in Chief of Kotaku, Stephen Totilo and I had the following exchange on twitter:
His initial link points out that Rise and Dead Rising 3 were both announced as Xbox One exclusives and now they are both coming to PC. Those two announcements (two months apart) have come in the midst of the commonly used phrase “timed exclusive”. It’s exactly what it sounds like, the game is exclusive to a platform for a set amount of time.
Activision has had timed exclusives on Call of Duty DLC on Xbox for a few years. It makes Microsoft happy because they get to say “we get this popular thing first” on stage at big events and the die hard fans of that franchise are more likely to buy the game on that platform.
But in the past when third party games were exclusive, they were really exclusive. Final Fantasy games were exclusive to Sony platforms for years, for example. So were Tomb Raider games.
The first chink in the armor of “exclusivity” I can remember was BioShock in 2007. The first BioShock is one of the best games I’ve ever played, won tons of Game of the Year awards, and was touted as being “Only on Xbox” – words they even printed on the box.
14 months after it came out on the Xbox 360, a PS3 version was released.
This story is become more and more common. On the one hand, I love it. I love that GTA, BioShock, and Final Fantasy are playable on every platform. It’s great for gaming, it’s great for gamers, and it’s great for people who can only afford one console.
(Yes, as long as console makers continue to publish games you’re never going to get to play 100% of games released, but you can play 95%, and that’s pretty good. At least in the near future you wont be playing Halo on a PlayStation and you won’t be playing Uncharted on an Xbox.)
But on the other hand, we’ve cheapened the word. People don’t trust the word exclusive when especially when Microsoft says it. Just look at the news about Rise of the Tomb Raider, almost every outlet reporting it casts some doubt about the length of this exclusive. Not a single report that I’ve read is certain that Square / Crystal Dynamics will publish Tomb Raider only on the Xbox. Everyone is expecting Sony to have Tomb Raider in 2016.
Microsoft has warped the meaning of the word exclusive to mean exclusive-ish, or exclusive-for-now. They’ve also cheapened the value of their console. When you look at the landscape of games coming one or two games may nudge you to choose one console over the other.
Stephen Totilo is right, “it set’s a precedent” and lying about a game that’s exclusive devalues your console and just makes your consumers upset.
It is still unclear weather the the new Tomb Raider is actually exclusive to Microsoft or if it’s just a timed exclusive. The fact that it’s been more than four hours since the news broke, and outlets still seem to be debating the definition of exclusive and what it means in this instance, is in of itself a problem.
UPDATE: Eurogamer has confirmed that the Tomb Raider deal “has a duration”
No. I’m not flipping you off.
Dan Seifert points out that “Chromebooks will never be successful until they have bigger screens" since 81% of laptop sales are computers with 15 or 17 inch screens.
As a 15 inch MBP owner, I’m honestly very surprised. I can’t think of another person I know with a 15 inch machine. And even now, as I look around the coffee shop I’m sitting in, and all I see are 13-14 inch laptops.
This is really interesting data.
Last week Microsoft announced that they would begin selling the Xbox One without Kinect. At the time I said “now they’re trying to gain traction in the market by gutting their core values.” But I was never really happy with those words.
This week on One Life Left, Kinectless Xbox was the first news story of the week (embedded above). While it starts off a little jokey, Simon Byron and Ste Curran get very serious very quickly. After Ste calls it a “backwards step in video gaming” he says:
STE: I think it’s terrible. It’s such a shame that the world has bullied them into this position, where we were looking at a situation where Microsoft had a console which had all these features, some of were weird, and some of which seemed a bit dodgy, some of which seemed creepy but I think that, that was a PR problem. A lot of those features are in PC’s and in Sony’s console already and you know that has its own Kinect although it’s not obligatory.
Instead Microsoft have pulled it from this machine. And we all know that you can’t design games for hardware addons. And so that possibility of games that just work with this console, that’s gone now.
STE: I was fortunate enough, while I was in America, to play Fantasia, Harmonix’s new Kinect only game. Which is, you know, based on the Disney movie Fantasia, it’s kind of like a video game followup. ANd it was Phenomenal. That game does things with music that I’ve never seen in video games before. It Certainly works as a gesture control experience as a Dancing experience as well, it’s one of the most successful ones I’ve ever played.
And that game could not exist if it was being built for a fragmented market. It can only exist because they know everyone with an Xbox One will have a Kinect - only that’s not true anymore. And I feel so sorry for those guys, for having this dropped on them
STE: I don’t think they ever thought [Kinect] was the future of controlling games. I think they thought it was the future of controlling things in your living room. Which is what they wanted the Xbox One to be. And they’re failing to sell through enough units because people have got other ways of playing Netflix, now. And better ways now and you don’t need Xbox Live Gold to use it.
I just think, if you take everything aside. If you’re not interested in who’s going to win the console race. If you’re not interested in, you know, platform exclusives, or any of the garbage they use to sell platforms if you just are interested in games as a progressive medium, and different games, different forms of games it’s sad that a lot of creators will not be able to make them anymore.
SIMON: They haven’t moved the goal posts, sort of, mid term have they? They’ve sort of packed the goal posts up.
Ste does a better job saying exactly what I felt. You can listen to the whole episode here, but at the very least you should listen to the audio embedded above. And you should subscribe to their RSS because One Life Left is one of my favorite podcasts.