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FeaturesThe battle for exclusivity: Evening out the odds?

The battle for exclusivity: Evening out the odds?

Published: 3rd Oct 2020 6:24 pm

The hype surrounding the launch of next gen consoles continues unabated, as frenetic action and boundless energies mark the gaming landscape. The last few weeks have been hectic to follow as games are constantly revealed, promises to potential buyers made and retailers have opened up pre-order windows.

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As both Sony and Microsoft have faced pre-order woes, each is trying its best to one-up the other as the war to achieve gaming platform supremacy is being fought on several fronts. The console, its performance and the games available on launch day are often of scant importance.

Sony won the generation last time around by announcing a slew of first party titles which Xbox struggled to match and the much-heralded Halo: Master Chief Collection failed to take off. Players buy consoles not because of what they can play today at launch but rather what is promised today.

In other words, games that will come in the years after the purchase of a console as each great paly experience vindicates their decisions. Thus, in a generally seven-year console generation (as witnessed from the last three generations) the most high-profile games come out year three onwards as they are announced when a console is launched.

Similarly, it takes developers time to unshackle the power of new hardware and eke out the maximum, there is a reason that last gen’s most popular Uncharted 4 was released in 2016 (PS4 was released in 2013) and God of War in 2018.

This is where first party titles define a console experience as they are designed to be played to the strengths of a particular console. Microsoft had very little to offer on this front last time around and has thus attempted to even the scales by acquiring Zenimax Media for 7.5 Billion Dollars.

Zenimax, a consortium of developer studios brings with it studios that build popular games like Skyrim, Fallout, Dishonored, Doom and Prey. The interesting bit of this acquisition is that some of Zenimax’s subsidiaries were building games for the PS5. It will be interesting to see how the synergies work out in this regard as games like Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo were key players in the PS5 reveal.

As the competition heats up, it looks like Sony will not be running away with the exclusives this time around. The battle though is still far from even as Sony must retain its customers while Microsoft must either convert or find new ones. Though if the PS5 upgrade of Spiderman is any indication; Sony needs to untangle a few webs itself. For a while chaos and uncertainty will reign supreme, I urge you to stay patient as you decide on your gaming device of choice.

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