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Console Exclusives: Do They Matter?

The new God of War has been out for just about a month now, and the internet is filled to the brim with “BOY!” memes. As a longtime fan of the series, I was super excited for this installment, and in my opinion, it has not disappointed. Several times, I’ve even been asked by genuinely inquiring minds if it’s worth buying a Playstation 4 solely for this title. And yikes, that’s a pretty tough question. Just because I love it doesn’t mean I’m comfortable recommending that you shell out $400 for the occasion.

But it did get me thinking. How often does the promise of exclusive titles in a console’s lineup influence whether people buy Playstation, Xbox, or Nintendo? If so, which console has the edge? Or as another possibility, is the idea of exclusives altogether overrated?

Naturally I had to find out.

(“But wait,” some guy in the back row is shouting, “She did a Twitter poll article last time! Isn’t she ever going to write something different?!” Sit down, back row guy. I promise I’ll do a different type of article next time. The polls are just really, really interesting.)

As you can see, I got 801 votes, with 31% saying they bought a Playstation for exclusives, 29% saying they bought a Nintendo for exclusives, 21% saying they bought an Xbox for exclusives, and the remaining 19% saying they’ve never bought a console specifically for exclusives.

While those numbers aren’t an even split, there is a solid camp behind each choice. So as before, we have to turn to the comments on the poll to get a feel for the real story.

Here’s how each console’s exclusives stack up in a three-way battle royale (with a few guest stars).

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Via zeldadungeon.net

1. The Mario & Zelda Empires

“In the end, I gave the edge to Nintendo. Exclusives and reliability are Nintendo’s strengths. Its usually my driving factor and minus the Wii U has never really steered me wrong. The other systems including PC all have a lot more reasons such as power, performance, online, etc.” — @GeekWithThat

“I always buy Nintendo consoles strictly for every new LoZ title. All the other games that are released are nice but the reason for purchasing is Zelda.” — @sheikahplate

“I voted ‘Yes, Nintendo’ because while my wife and I don’t really care for exclusives, we do get Nintendo consoles for Mario Kart and whatever Mario platformer goes with it (Bros, Sunshine, Land, World, etc). Nintendo is what we grew up with and we stick with them because of that.” — @RaccooniusBryce

The NES was released in 1985 with that Super Mario Bros/Duck Hunt cartridge that all ’80s kids remember so well. Nintendo followed up with The Legend of Zelda in 1986, and ever since then, the company has been following the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” strategy. While you could debate the successes and relative failures of individual games within the two heavy hitting franchises, these two series (with an honorable mention to Pokémon) are what keep Nintendo in business, and the commenters on my poll were not shy about professing their loyalty to the Kings, Mario and Link.

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psvr-rift-vive
Via roadtovr.com

2. Virtual Reality

“I actually bought a PS4 specifically for PSVR and I still love it.” — @GOcastChrisB

“If I’d got an Xbox this gen I would have missed out on a lot of my favourite games. Persona 5, Horizon Zero Dawn, the FFX/X2 remakes. Still got a few to start that im excited for! Yakuza, Ni No Kuni 2 etc. Not to mention it’s the only console with VR right now.” — @Kittnix

While VR is still very much in its infancy, right now we have three main VR gaming systems to choose from: the Occulus Rift, the HTC Vive, and the Playstation VR. Of those three, the Rift and the Vive both operate via your PC, which leaves Sony with the console monopoly on virtual reality. And in my book, that counts as an exclusive. However, here’s hoping Xbox and Nintendo catch up soon because I am DYING to play Mario Kart in VR.

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Via forbes.com

3. Remembering SEGA

“First of all where the f*** is Sega on that poll? Second, I never bought a system for specific games but I definitely played more games that were on PlayStation because I didn’t have to pay for a subscription on top of paying for the Internet connection. Sega/Sony fan for life!” — @BigBossGun

“I voted ‘Yes, Playstation’ but this must be read ‘Yes, Sega’.” — @Gothweet

“Mostly Nintendo. I buy Xboxes & PlayStations anyways. But if you’re REALLY into exclusives, then Nintendo’s are what matters. If Sega was still around in the hardware game, they’d be my other choice. I buy roughly the same amount of exclusives from both PS & Xbox.” — @e3man01

Sega Games Co. produced games for their consoles from 1983 to 2001, at which point they turned into strictly a third-party developer. If you were lucky enough to have one as a kid, you likely fondly remember the console for exclusives like Sonic the Hedgehog, Comix Zone, and Golden Axe. And as it turned out, there were a lot of commenters on this poll who fell into that category. The Sega may be gone, but it’s not forgotten, and many would still give it their vote for the best exclusive titles.

fable
Via gameinferno.fr

4. Xbox & the Good Ol’ Days

“I would say so as the only reason I bought the OG xBox at launch was so I could play Halo. I didn’t care if there was anything else in it. That’s the game I wanted to play the most.” — @replicantpinky

“This generation I started with PS4, and later bought an Xbox for the exclusives. Then they cancelled Fable and Scalebound. Since I’m not really interested in shooters or racing, I think I’ve finished 2 games on it…” — @dangoad

“I got my OG Xbox for Doom 3 and Fable. I ended up hating Doom 3 but loved Fable and soon after became addicted to Halo 1 & 2.” — @MeltingTunafish

Okay, it’s not that NOBODY responded by saying they’d gotten the current gen Xbox for its exclusives. But I’m also not going to say that the One got much love either. When people voted for the Xbox exclusives, they nearly all mentioned classic titles like Halo, Fable, and Doom. Hey Microsoft, if you’re reading this, maybe stop pestering us with endless Windows 10 updates and go back to making the kind of games people used to love.

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new PS4 exclusives for 2017
Via gamecrate.com

5. Playstation the Heavyweight

“I voted for playstation, because personally I enjoyed Metal Gear during the years on playstation, sure it may look better on PC but when I think Metal Gear I think Playstation.” — @Arcticfoenix

“Yes, PS4 and definitely happy cause of all the wonderful games #HorizonZeroDawn #Uncharted and extra content for my favourites #FarCry5 and #Hitman.” — @BlaseRaptor544

“Playstation. Their exclusives are 2nd to none. Xbox is where my hearts at tho.” — @mattruiz09

Really when it comes down to it, there’s a reason the Playstation won the poll, and that’s because it has so many exclusives that are Just. So. Awesome. Several people (rightly) pointed out that there is a lot of crossover these days between the Playstation and Xbox, but if you want to play the likes of Uncharted, Yakuza, Bloodborne, Shadow of the Colossus, God of War, Horizon Zero Dawn, Far Cry, and many others, you’re gonna need to go the Playstation route.

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Via lifewire.com

6. Don’t Forget the PC Crowd

“100% I wouldn’t have bought a ps3/ps4 if the titles were on PC….I could’ve put that Playstation money into getting a better gpu!” — @C_R_Games

“I usually wait for games to be ported to PC, and financial situations prevent me to do so even if I wanted to. Due to me heavily invested already with gaming PC, it would make sense for me to play with it. If the game I’m seeking doesn’t come to PC, it’s perfectly fine.” — @piconyannyan

Factoid of the Day: Twitter polls only allow you a max of four options, so if you’re wondering why I didn’t include a vote choice for the PC-ers out there, that’s why. The PC gamers were not about to be overlooked, however, and in the comments, they made sure I wouldn’t forget to give the computers their due.

Final_Fantasy_X_Party
Via finalfantasy.wikia.com

7. JRPGs Matter

“Yep, 100% happy Sony (and Nintendo) keep me fulfilled to the brim with jrpg #weeblife” — @p1nk_cupcak3

“Someone was really excited to show me the opening scenes of ffx on the ps2 (at that time I was more into music than games so wasn’t sure what the fuss was all about!). Asked to borrow the console for a little while. Absolutely loved it, had to get my own cos she wanted it back!” — @RozieOK

“Yep, PS4. Never had a need for it otherwise. Picked it up for the (then) exclusive: Disgaea 5, Final Fantasy XV, and inevitably the FF7 remake. There’s not been much else I wanted to play on it that isn’t available on PC, which is my primary platform of choice.” — @8bitp1xelz

If you’re busy spending all your time trying to “get gud” in Destiny and PUBG and Call of Duty, you may not realize that there’s a whole other genre full of powerhouse franchises that wield serious exclusivity power over their respective consoles. Final Fantasy, Persona, Kingdom Hearts, Xenoblade Chronicles, etc, are all incredibly popular JRPGs, and according to the comments on the poll, where they go, fans will follow. Unfortunately for Xbox, it seems Microsoft doesn’t have much to offer this fan base.

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file_10267_PS4-Vs-XBOX-ONE-Vs-WII-U
Via gamerevolution.com

8. I Want It All

“Bought many for exclusives, especially Nintendo. Bought Xbox, PS as well for exclusives. Only reason I always buy each console plus pc.” — @riall7s

“There should be a fifth option: Yes – All. I buy every console that comes out. I grew up a console gamer but now primarily game on PC. But I still buy every console so that I can play all those exclusives. It’s important to me to have access to every game.” — @Angelus13AOV

“Yeah i bought Snes, Megadrive, Dreamcast, Saturn, PS one, Xbox 360, PS3, Xbox One, PS4 :)” — @xStormxBringeRx

If you don’t really have to pick a side, why should you? The reality is that every console has ridiculously awesome titles to offer, and right now, gamers are spoiled for choice. Personally I’m juggling more games across all three current gen platforms than I even know what to do with. I’ve got Cuphead, Ori and the Blind Forest, and Tomb Raider on the One, God of War and Ni No Kuni 2 on the PS4, and Zelda Breath of the Wild, Mario Kart 8, and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze on the Switch. Related: I also don’t sleep much.

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Via ign.com

9. Won’t Somebody Think of the Children??

“I made a conscious decision to get a Wii U instead of a PlayStation for my children. I wanted games with bright colours, no sharp edges and that we could all play together.” — @the_bocca

Nintendo and Disney have a lot in common. The companies have each grown into worldwide empires by creating entertainment for kids, yet their products are still fun and complex enough (for the most part) that parents are more than happy to join in. When it comes to family fun, Nintendo in the clear winner.

Console Gaming Controllers
Via leafly.com

Conclusion

To answer my original question–do exclusives matter?– it seems that, yes, they still very much matter indeed. We all must choose the best place to spend our video game dollars, and it seems that for all but 19% of us, exclusive titles are a big factor in where we choose to spend them. While there is quite a lot of tribal loyalty to one’s console of choice (which is to be expected), it seems that even die-hard Playstation fans are not above seeking out some Halo, and vice versa where Nier: Automata is concerned.

I love what this says about gamers: in the end, we’re just looking fun games, wherever they may come from. Playstation may have won the poll, but Xbox and Nintendo are still strong contenders, and I can’t wait to see what games they all have in store for us next.