It’s been a month since the new Sony system was announced, and still waiting to hear from Microsoft of what they are going to do. But even with the scant details that gamers have right now on the next generation systems, a lot of us are starting to ask ourselves if even with the economy where it is, even when we find out all there is to know including price, will it even be worth having more than one system?
Think about it like this, if you go back far enough even to the Super Nintendo vs Sega Genesis days what made those days so very interesting were the exclusives. Sure first party games like Mario or Sonic made the decision easily enough but when 3rd party games like Street Fighter 2, ESWAT, Golden Axe, Final Fantasy really heating up the battle, gamers had to either make a decision to have one system or the other or if they could swing it, splash and have the best of both worlds.
When the Playstation first came out in the mid 90s, some of the most memorable exclusives were the Tekken series, Metal Gear (which at one time was a Nintendo exclusive) Final Fantasy VII, Gran Turismo, Ridge Racer and Resident Evil. But over the years it seems like fewer and fewer games were exclusive to their respective series.
If you look at the current generation which has lasted an awfully long time, the trend of exclusives initially started but eventually tapered off. The Xbox 360 initially had Perfect Dark, Elder Scrolls Oblivion, Saints Row and Gears of War. Sony offered Uncharted, Heavenly Sword, Resistance, Killzone and Ratchet and Clank.
But something has happened this generation, it seems like the longer the cycle went on, the less exclusives the PS3 and 360 games became. One notable game was the aforementioned Oblivion which while it was an Xbox exclusive, in less than a year was on both systems. But the most notable game that in my opinion really started the cycle of games no longer becoming exclusive was Mass Effect. While the first game was an X box exclusive, the next 2 games easily sold because of availability for both systems, provided of course if you still had your saves, your decision was based solely on that. Because I played the game from part one, all three games were played on the Xbox.
But now when you look at such games such as the Final Fantasy series, Metal Gear series, and a few others, it seems like less and less games are being developed just for one system. I have reached a point that games I buy now I buy based on how badly I may want to play online, which system is getting better updates or just a simple preference. Now granted I don’t see a day right now where I can play Uncharted or Halo on the same box but then 20 years ago, no one imagined Mario and Sonic in the same shot. But we have to, as paying consumers ask ourselves with the way things are, a rough economy, game studios closing almost as rapidly as they are opening, how much longer can 3rd party studios with exclusive titles remain so? How many gamers will sit and try to have their cake and eat it too when whatever game you want is available on multiple platforms? There is alomost no justification to make multiple systems anymore as it’s hard for consumers to keep up price-wise and mobile gaming makes it cheaper to own decent titles.
I am not sure yet which new console I will buy obviously because there is no information as to what’s going to be ‘the next big thing’. But I don’t think I am going to be as pressed to have multiple systems just for a handful of games. But this really makes it a somewhat hard decision and once it becomes clear what’s under the new and shiny boxes coming this year will tell us which way we want to go but many of us are still hoping for a day when one system will be more than enough to satisfy.