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How Much Do Exclusives Matter Anymore for Xbox and Playstation?

I was thinking recently about how the Xbox Series X/S and Playstation 5 barely have any exclusives this year, and they haven't had too many throughout their lifetimes. Xbox saw the release of Redfall a few months back with Starfield just around the corner and Playstation had Final Fantasy XVI drop over the summer with Spider Man 2 soon to come as the big holiday game.

The point is, these exclusives are few and far between, and while they definitely move some units, giant multiplatform AAA franchises like GTA and Call of Duty do a lot of the heavy lifting. Many people are already entrenched in the echo system with these consoles too, and they don't want to switch. It's the same with someone changing their phone from Apple to Android or vice versa.

Do exclusives really matter for Xbox and Playstation anymore? It seems they really only impact Nintendo because they know that their first party catalog is why most people buy their systems.


Vocare Ad Pugnam
Jul 31, 2010
Gotham City
I think the right kind of exclusives can incentivize a purchase of a console, which is why Nintendo and Playstation have been able to dominate for as long as they have. Without exclusives, Nintendo wouldn't even be a competitor and Playstation wouldn't have amassed as much goodwill as they have during key eras that have carried them through some of their darkest moments, something Xbox couldn't manage after the Xbox One's disaster of a reveal.

This is why Xbox has shifted their strategy to having a gaming ecosystem with the common goal of pushing a service. But even for that service to be appealing, Xbox needs exclusive content, which is why they've been acquiring so many publishers and studios to not just produce new content for them, but also have access to their entire library of games that they can now claim exclusive rights to. Legacy content that will push gamers into gaining access to Xbox's ecosystem for its big name games like Call of Duty, The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, DOOM, Crash, Spyro, and so on.

You don't even need an Xbox console to play Xbox games anymore, and it's this change of business that has made Playstation double down on exclusivity deals with third-parties like Square Enix, Konami, Marvel, and Star Wars. While Playstation has been enjoying a nice reign on top since the Xbox One blunder, they also know that most Playstation owners, as well as Xbox owners, don't really buy many games a year outside of their annual sports game and Call of Duty, which is why they fought so hard against Microsoft's acquisition of Activision. Once those gamers realize they can pay the same amount as a couple of brand new 70 dollar games for access to Call of Duty and an expansive library of games all year round, it's gonna be hard for frugal and casual gamers to justify staying on Playstation out of blind brand loyalty.

The console war is no longer about what brand has the best exclusive games, it's about excluding the other brand through acquisitions and meaningless partnerships.

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