Video-game exclusives to specific consoles and platforms are one of the most dated concepts still alive in gaming today. When you think outside of the box that we often group ourselves into, are we not all gamers sharing a similar interest? What does it matter that we are 360 gamers or Sony guys, hardcore or casual? At the end of the day, most of us appreciate gaming for what it is. Unfortunately this is not seen in quite the same way by developers and publishers. To the higher-ups that determine what us peons have access to, exclusivity is one of the most important aspects of marketing a console or product.
First and foremost, I am definitely what you will consider an Xbox Fanboy. Or, “Xbot” as some people dreadfully like to call it. The only console I currently own is the Xbox 360, and my room is covered in memorabilia covering franchises like Halo, Gears of War and BioShock. Not to mention my testosterone-filled Hello Kitty alarm clock. But that's beside the point; While I have no complaints about my gaming experiences, I'm yearning to get my hands on several Sony exclusive titles. Namely Uncharted, Little Big Planet, God of War and Heavy Rain. In fact, I'm even angry that I can't purchase Mortal Kombat II off of the Xbox Live Marketplace! So yeah, I'm one 360 gamer who will happily admit my desire and jealousy to play games out of my reach. Hell, I'd purchase a PS3 if I had the extra money lying around. Regardless of the online capabilities (or lack thereof) as of late.
This really goes both ways of course, gamers wish to play the best games out there. Anyone with a PS3 who has never played Gears of War has to at least be wondering what the hubbub is all about! Or speaking a little bit more niche, I know that Last Remnant and Tales of Vesperia are two 360 exclusive titles that many Sony-players would love to acquire. The biggest franchises like Call of Duty or Battlefield often go multiplatform, but even that doesn't denote equality. Looking at the recent blockbuster Mortal Kombat 9, you have to wonder where the loyalty lies. PS3 users got the unique character Kratos from God of War and 360 users got...king of the hill mode? Sure Xbox gamers are rumored to be getting a free character and new gametype in the form of DLC, but is that really enough? Soul Calibur IV faced a similar dilemma: Xbox 360 users got early access to Yoda and PS3 users got Darth Vader. Why bother doing this? What do developers gain from splitting a fanbase between two consoles?
In a perfect world, developers would make games for every console capable of running it. Or even more socialist: there would only be one console. Yes, this is largely impossible. The chances of the three top dogs: Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft agreeing on one piece of hardware is both a logical and legal mess. Like with any other market, there will always be competition and pros & cons. And yet hypothetically, if all consoles shared games, then the “winner” of each generation of consoles could be based without game exclusivity in mind. Was the PlayStation 2 really any better in terms of hardware than the GameCube because one of them launched with Final Fantasy X instead of Mario Sunshine? Hell no. And I'm certain many SOCOM fans would love to have used Xbox Live for their bouts.
Exclusivity really is a problem we'll likely never see an end to. And despite whatever any gamers may say, exclusives hurt every gamer. No, Imagine Party Babyz wouldn't help the PlayStation 3 on any fronts. But in terms of the quality titles, is it really fair for any person to miss out on a good game? Even the term “console war” is childish, must everything be an argument or battle? While a unified gaming console would have it's issues, namely being a monopoly, I'm rather for the idea. Uniting gamers across the globe onto one console just seems awesome, and it's sad thinking we may never reach that outside of the world wide web.
So I ask: what if the Uncharted series got ported to the Xbox 360? Would there be riots in the streets? No. Would Kevin Butler appear in a funny commercial explaining that Blu-ray is the superior format because you don't need to swap discs? It's possible. But gamers would be happy. If only this were like the NFL draft and I could hire Sackboy onto my team even if it meant giving away Cole Train for a while. Can fanboys of either side really argue the negatives of such a proposal?