Why some video games exclusive just for certain console?



In: Other

Distribution rights. Sony, for example, will pay a fee for Naughty Dog to develop a game such as “The Last of US” just for them. Some companies (such as Nintendo) own the rights to specific titles, like Super Mario, since they are the developer of that franchise. Timed copyright also exists, where a company can buy the rights to distribute a game before its released on other consoles. Final Fantasy VII remake, if I understand correctly, is a timed copyright release, where its available for Playstation 4 first, then later for PC and Xbox. Companies pay for specific content for their audiences.

Basically, as a console manufacturer, you make most of your money off of game sales and licenses. The more games sold on your system, the more money you make.

However, game producers, ie, the people who make you your money, dont hold loyalty to your platform. They primarily care about the market they can sell to, and the cost to produce on your console. So producers have no inherent benefit to an exclusive release.

So the console manufacturers use a two-prong approach: Hire developers to make desirable games that can only be played on your system; This encourages players to buy your console if they want to play that game (after all your console holds no real benefit for the non-exclusive titles) This gets you a larger market, which means developers will be attracted to develop for your system, and players will stick with your system for the non-exclusives.

Most gamers don’t buy multiple consoles, so having that exclusive access to their homes means exclusive access to their wallet.

A few possible reasons, assuming we are talking about the main consoles rather than handhelds.

– The console manufacturer outright developed the game themselves. Nintendo does this a lot.

– The console manufacturer owns studios who make platform exclusive games. Microsoft as of late has been buying up a lot of medium-sized studios.

– The console manufacturer has arranged some kind of deal with the developer/publisher of a game for exclusivity of the game, whether indefinitely or for a limited time. Sony has a lot of these arrangements going on.

– Sometimes the developer just decides to only release on one platform. Indie games in particular often do this, as developing for multiple platforms just takes time and money they potentially don’t have as they reach the end of the project. Sometimes it gets releases on other platforms afterwards if the game sold well and allows the dev to put in more time, sometimes not.

– Bit of an odd case here, but Japanese games tend to only come out on Sony and Nintendo platforms. Microsoft doesnt have much of a hold in the Japanese market, so if a dev is making a game they don’t have much interest in releasing abroad, they often just don’t bother making an Xbox port. The Yakuza series is a good example here, the domestic Japanese release often happens years before the international release and the mainline games have been Playstation exclusives until very recently.

They want to get you to buy their console first, so they will sometimes pay a developer for the exclusive rights to a game in the hope it will sway you to buy said console.

Once you have their console, you will have more inclination to buy games for that console, which they always get a cut of.

Sometimes people have more than one console (e.g. XBONE, PS4) so the hope is by getting the rights to release a AAA title like COD or GTA first, you will buy the game for their console first, rather than a rival, adding to their sales and taking away from rivals.