Before we get started, I want to be abundantly clear: I loathe exclusives. They suck. Period. Not only do they exclude gamers from playing games they might be interested in, they only serve to fan the “console wars” further. I’ve said it before, and I’ll repeat it here: play on what system you want to, enjoy the games you play, and don’t worry about what systems others play on.
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That being said, exclusives look like they are here to stay, at least for the interim. However, I will put myself on record saying that after the Xbox + Bethesda Games Showcase at E3, Xbox’s exclusives are shaping up to be better than PlayStation’s. I’m not necessarily talking about the quality of those exclusives, but rather how accessible those exclusives will be. Before you go all fanboi on me, hear me out…
There used to be a time when exclusives meant exactly that. You could only play a specific game on a particular system. Want to play Halo? Get an Xbox. Want to play God of War? Get a PlayStation. Not to mention plenty of PC-only games. However, that line is blurring and started with console exclusives, meaning you could play the game on a particular console or PC. A few years ago, Xbox took that a step further with Xbox Play Anywhere, allowing you to purchase a game on one platform (Xbox or Windows 10) and play it on both without having to buy two copies.
Over the past few years, Xbox has been called out frequently for its lack of exclusives. Sure, there’s Halo and the Forza games, as well as some others, but for a time there, Sony did have more high-profile exclusives on the PlayStation console. That has been changing over the past couple of years. With Microsoft’s acquisition of Bethesda, Xbox took a huge leap in catching up with (and arguably surpassing) PlayStation on the game exclusive front.
With Xbox exclusives, though, you don’t NEED an Xbox Series X to play them. Are Halo: Infinite, Forza Horizon 5, Forza Motorsport, Bethesda’s Starfield, and Arkane’s Redfall Xbox exclusives? They sure are… but the better description is CONSOLE exclusive. With the way Xbox is leveraging Xbox Game Pass with its cloud gaming and being able to play select Xbox titles in your web browser, if you’re a PlayStation gamer, you don’t need to buy the latest Xbox console in order to play these titles.
Even better? Microsoft has posted recently that they are working with smart TV manufacturers to bring Xbox cloud gaming to those devices and are even working on Xbox streaming sticks which you’ll be able to plug into a TV or monitor and play that way. The company posted another tidbit in an E3 recap blog post:
“For the millions of people who play on Xbox One consoles today, we are looking forward to sharing more about how we will bring many of these next-gen games, such as Microsoft Flight Simulator, to your console through Xbox Cloud Gaming, just like we do with mobile devices, tablets, and browsers.”Will Tuttle, Xbox Wire Editor in Chief
Xbox is definitely covering all their bases here. Typically in the past, even within your preferred console ecosystem, there came a point in time when you had no choice but to upgrade to the next-gen version to play the latest games. With Microsoft’s current direction, gamers will no longer need to rush to upgrade their consoles to play the newest games.
But wait… if you own a PlayStation and have no intentions of buying an Xbox, how does this help you? Xbox Game Pass. Easily one of the best values in gaming, many of these exclusives will be available for Xbox Game Pass subscribers the day they launch. For a monthly price of US$14.99/CA$16.99, a non-Xbox console owner can sign up whenever they want to play the latest game. Not only do you not have to shell out $60+ for a game, but you also don’t have to shell out $400 for another console. Sounds like a win-win to me.
Despite missteps in the past, Xbox has made great progress over the past few years under the direction of Phil Spencer (Head of Xbox) to reestablish gaming as the focal point of the Xbox ecosystem. I say ecosystem because Xbox isn’t just about the console anymore but rather about letting people play the games they want, where they want, when they want, unlike some other companies *cough* PlayStation *cough* where an exclusive means you can only play it on that system and nowhere else.
Maybe instead of calling them Xbox exclusives, we should be calling them inclusives.
What do you think about how people will be able to access Xbox’s exclusives compared to PlayStation’s? What do you think about exclusives in general? Let us know on Twitter, MeWe, or any of the social media sites below.