Industry Gamers, SCEA's senior vice president of publisher relations, Rob Dyer, shared a candid view on platform-exclusive titles -- particularly when they're on that other platform. "Look, we're not going to get the exclusive games," he said. "The Mass Effects, Gears of Wars and Left 4 Deads aren't going to happen nearly as often. But we have our own first-party development and exclusives like Final Fantasy XIV and Agent. Exclusives just aren't as commonplace as they were during the PS2 days. What is going to be the driving force is either exclusive ad campaigns, like the Madden campaign, or exclusive content like we had with Batman."
He went on to contrast Sony's considerable first-party firepower with the "very few" developers at Microsoft Game Studios. "So rather than putting their money behind that, they've been going to Epic or Valve or BioWare to do what they did with Mass Effect, and that's where they throw their dollars." Microsoft's money lobbing appears to have paid off for EA, as the Xbox 360 version of Mass Effect 2 sold 572,000 copies in the U.S. within six days. Did consumers care whether its development was internal, external or bought? (Will they care when the Square Enix-developed Final Fantasy XIV arrives on PS3?)
According to Dyer, the PlayStation 3's growing install base now does "better for our publishing community than 360 does." Since the PlayStation 3's installed base grew by a greater percentage than the Xbox 360's, "particular" titles have taken the lead on Sony's system. Of course, with more PS3 owners leaping into the fray, more of them are buying games which may have already sold in to the larger Xbox 360 crowd in previous installments (think: Guitar Hero). "As our installed base starts catching up and gaining on 360, you're going to see the publisher side much quicker get to par than even if we had the same number of [360 hardware] units," Dyer said.
That's a notable "if" -- if buying trends remain the same, if the 360 doesn't experience its own growth burst -- but it's hard to argue the PS3's improved fortunes in recent times. And who could resist all those exclusives?
[Special Thanks: Michael Pachter]