Sony’s head of hardware marketing, John Koller, has served Microsoft a verbal battery, accusing the rival console maker of writing cheques to cover up its lack of confidence in its first-party game line-up. Koller‘s reasoning is that Microsoft pays out for exclusives like The Lost and Damned because it doesn’t feel its own games can cut the mustard.
“We don’t feel the need to write cheques necessarily with every publisher, like they did with the Lost and Damned and some other titles, because we feel very strongly in our first-party line-up,” Koller told GDC last month.
It’s fighting talk, but where does it leave gamers? When it comes to buying full-game exclusivity, we can’t this kind of squabbling making much of a difference. No one ever said all games had to be multiplatform unless they were made by a studio owned by the console maker. We doubt Sony will be able to shame developers (*cough* Valve *cough*) and publishers into supporting the PS3 as well as the Xbox 360. It’ll always be a business decision.
However, we do feel strongly about the recent surge of DLC exclusivity. The Lost and Damned is the prime example, and there are also the two Fallout 3 downloadable content packs to consider. Supporting one console versus another for extra content feels like the developer is waving two fingers at half its fans.
The decision to buy DLC comes a lot further down the line down the line than the decision to by either a PS3 or Xbox 360. So if Microsoft has paid for DLC exclusivity, then the PlayStation players are going to miss out. But one thing they certainly are not going to do is rush out and buy a new console and another copy of the game just to get at it. It undermines the game, not the console.
Who knows – maybe Koller’s statement, coupled with the slowly rising PS3 market share, will cause publishers and developers to think twice when it comes to exclusivity. Meanwhile, Microsoft’s decision to extend warranties on Xbox 360 consoles might be making the Redmond chequebook feel a little bit lighter in the forthcoming months.