Will the console wars end? Can console and PC owners get along?
On the heels of the Quantum Break to PC/Windows 10 news, many gamers are battling in the comments and on forums about exclusivity and what it exactly means. We are beginning to see console games on next-gen consoles lose their singularity and jump ship to the realm of multi-platform.
Sharing is Caring
An Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC all have one common trait: they all play games. From the specs-heavy PC to the crazy-popular PS4, and fun-loving Xbox One, all three are a platform used to gather around a screen (of all sizes) and play games on.
Ever since the days of the original Xbox, Nintendo GameCube, and PlayStation; gaming has been limited and exclusive to each console, for the most part. Besides the mainstream shooters and sports games, each console was defined by a game (exclusive) or two that made it stand out. For Xbox, it was Halo 2. For the GameCube, it was Super Smash Bros. Melee. PlayStation was headlined by the top-selling Gran Turismo.
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Back in the day, if I wanted to play Halo, I would head over to a friend’s house to play because my console of choice at the time was the GameCube and its plethora of Mario spin-off games, which I loved dearly.
In today’s world of online multiplayer, the house hoping experience is becoming no more. A popular game on the Xbox One like a Rise of the Tomb Raider, Ori and the Blind Forest, and Quantum Break are available on both the PC and Xbox One.
Now asks the question, what is more important sales and numbers or console exclusives?
Pushing the Product
Besides the Nintendo Wii U, they like to keep to themselves, the Xbox One and PS4 are beginning to find a mutual partner in the PC. As I eluded to, the Xbox One has created a bridge between the PC and their console. Microsoft is constantly pushing their product through Windows 10, and now it is possible to stream and play games directly on your (Windows 10) laptop — pretty cool, right?
Not only is Microsoft PC friendly, but Xbox president Phil Spencer encourages gamers to play however they wish — the initial tweet below is about Quantum Break and its recent news on a PC crossover.
@The_CrapGamer I’ve said it over and over, we are focused on the best place to play for gamers, not about creating walls.
— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) February 11, 2016
On the Sony side of things, PC integration is important but not at the forefront of all decisions. A highly-popular game, Rocket League, was exclusive to the PlayStation 4 and PC but is now soon to be on the Xbox One next week. What about Street Fighter V? Well, what was once a PlayStation exclusive is now available on PC upon release date à la Quantum Break.
The one difference between exclusivity between Sony and Microsoft is that the latter claims it is a console “exclusive” prior to release, and later appears on PC, unlike Sony.
Either way, a true exclusive game is becoming a thing of the past.
The Future is Here (Near)
PC integration, live streaming, and social media are the future. People (gamers) love everything at the tip of their fingers, in instant time, and running at the highest specs possible.
A game can be experienced in so many ways now: You can game by hand, game by phone, and even play games on giant touchscreen in the mall — yes, that really is a thing now.
So, if you can’t handle a PC crossover, I’m not sure how you are going to do moving into the future. Exclusive games are cool, they feel like a VIP private experience, and it is why we are enamored with them, but exclusivity isn’t everything.
On the company, publisher, and marketing side, a video game is still a work of art, of course, but dollar signs are behind every decision a company makes. If a game can bring in multiple audiences, and make more money, then it will be distributed on every possible platform.
The console wars will never go away, but some white flags are beginning to be waved.
Goodbye, exclusives. Hello, future.
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