The Problem With Platform Exclusive Games

If you have played Pokemon as a kid, you would have noticed that there are certain Pokemon you can’t catch in the game but it’s there, available for that generation. 

These Pokemons are ‘version exclusives’ and can only be caught in specific versions of the game like Zangoose being only available in Pokemon Ruby and its counterpart Seviper, which is only available in the Sapphire version.

This exclusivity is somewhat annoying, but it is often assumed to be a Nintendo strat for players to communicate with friends so that they can trade Pokemons together. Or maybe, it is just a way for Nintendo to get you to beg your parents to get you both versions.

This also applies to gaming platforms. The news that is making waves in the gaming community is Hideo Kojima’s—the lead for the Metal Gear Solid series—upcoming game, and to a certain extent, for the wrong reasons.

It is said that Kojima’s next game will be an Xbox exclusive, meaning that gamers who only own a PlayStation or a PC will not be able to play the game. Therefore, some gamers—mainly PlayStation users—have made a petition to cancel this game.

So today, we are here to discuss platform exclusive games and what are its problems to the gaming community.


Why Does Platform Exclusivity Exist

The Problem With Platform Exclusive Games

What Is Platform Exclusivity and Why Does It Exist?

As the name suggests, platform exclusivity means that a game or a product is made available for that specific platform.

While there are many ongoing discussions as to whether platform exclusiveness on games is good or bad, we can safely bet that folks who do not own multiple platforms will more likely lean to the ‘platform exclusivity is bad’ side.

The next big question is, why is platform exclusivity a thing? It limits the playability of most games and this would also garner fewer sales, as gamers from poorer countries are less likely able to afford multiple gaming platforms.


Published and funded by the platforms manufacturers themselves

One of the reasons platform exclusive games exist is due to the manufacturer of the platform being a part of the development team—in most cases, a decent chunk of the funding comes from the platform manufacturers.

To name one, the famous God of War series is published by Sony themselves and they have made the games available only for their platforms; the PlayStation, Vita and PSP.

Same with the Forza Horizon series, where it is published by Microsoft and is only playable with a Windows PC or the Xbox consoles.

Hence, to market their platforms even further, game publishers will intentionally coincide their game’s launches with their platform announcements.


Functionalities that are specific to certain platforms

Well, it’s not always about money and marketing, sometimes, some games require a specific tech or engine that is only available on a certain platform to operate.

For instance, Quantum Break can only be played on a PC with a Windows 10 operating system. This is because the game uses a computing platform, native to the Windows 10 OS called Universal Windows Platform (UWP).

That said, Microsoft has since remedied the issue by re-releasing the game to support other OS like Windows 7 and the Xbox, though the platforms are still Microsoft exclusive.


Notable Titles That Are Platform Exclusive


Notable Titles That Are Platform Exclusives

Here are some games that are platform exclusives and yet still made it big in sales and have received worldwide acclaim.


  1. God of War

Exclusive for SONY gaming platforms. The god slaying Kratos is only invincible within the realms of SONY’s consoles and has remained as one of its best performing games.


  1. Pokemon

At least for the mainline games—like Pokemon Red, Blue and Green—have all been Nintendo platform exclusives. If you want to play these games through different means, you would be threading a grey area that includes third-party emulators and software.


  1. Forza Horizon

Exclusive for the Xbox consoles. Forza Horizon is one of the few street racing games out there that has managed to compete with the Need for Speed and Burnout series.

Although, we might never know its full potential, as it was never released on other platforms, and realistically more relevant in the North American market.


  1. Demon Souls

This FromSoftware classic is only available to the PlayStation console. The remake of the 2009 game was released late last year and is available only on the PlayStation 5.

Perhaps Demon Souls should branch out to more platforms like its other games Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice and Dark Souls series as both games have received generally favourable reviews from both critics and players.


  1. The Legend of Zelda

Like Pokemon, The Legend of Zelda remains a Nintendo exclusive and despite its universal success has never been played on other gaming platforms or consoles.

Players who want to experience the game would have to get the consoles or similar to the Pokemon conundrum, would need to use the emulator alternative.



Why Do Gamers Hate Platform Exclusivity


Why Do Gamers Hate Platform Exclusivity?

Of course, we don’t speak for all gamers out there, but from events like Hideo Kojima and his upcoming game, we can infer that gamers generally do not favour their games being available for one single platform only.

Here are some of the reasons why we think gamers would not want games to be platform exclusive.


Lack of dignity

Independent games that require funding from well-known publishers would have to submit to the rules set by the publishers.

Usually, these rules would include platform exclusivity which results in the game being ‘marketed’ to one platform despite the intentions of the developers wanting it available across different platforms.


Untapped potential

Results are evident. Games like Persona 4 Golden and Danganronpa have ported their games to different platforms and have sold millions worldwide.

Persona 4 Golden, upon its release on Steam, have sold over a million copies despite it being a 2008 game. Additionally, the game was also heavily improved upon with better framerates and higher resolution.

This has even sparked conversations and begging from fans that the latest Persona 5 Royal be ported to the PC.


Some gamers can’t afford multiple consoles

Many gamers from third-world countries would have to break the bank to afford a legitimate gaming console. What with the pandemic going on, having multiple consoles is just not a financially smart move to make.

Publishers making their games platform exclusive will result in less well-off gamers not being able to play certain games, which is a bummer, as we have seen so many platform exclusive games being hailed as classics and are ‘must plays’. 

The irony is almost criminally comical.


That said, if you are lucky enough to own multiple consoles, like a PlayStation and an Xbox, be sure to share that ‘exclusive’ gaming experience with the ones close to you.