With the recent announcement of the formerly exclusive Grand Theft Auto IV DLC coming to the PlayStation 3, exclusivity has been called into question. With roughly $50 million dollars spent by Microsoft for only 1-year of exclusivity on the content, the difference in strategy between both Microsoft and Sony have become as apparent as ever. While both strategies could be considered successful to this point, gaming enthusiasts are heavily impacted by these corporate decisions.
On one hand, Sony has had a strong history of deeply involving first-party studios such as Insomniac and Naughty Dog. On the other hand, Microsoft has been pushing hard to secure multi-platform titles from other platforms and also have notoriously spent millions on both exclusive and timed-exclusive titles. When asked about exclusivity after the Grand Theft Auto IV DLC was announced as exclusive on the Xbox 360 more than a year ago, Sony Computer Entertainment UK director Ray Maguire replied with the following:
“One thing to remember, nothing is ever exclusive. Things get wrapped up for a period of time for a large amount of money and if it’s a strategic decision by competition to do that then we have to live with that.”
Now that time has passed and big titles such as Grand Theft Auto IV DLC and Bioshock have eventually made their way to the PlayStation 3, it seems like exclusivity has become a thing of the past. Although first-party studios have truly remained exclusive for obvious reasons, third-party titles have quickly shifted to other platforms.
When asked about Sony’s business strategies, Ray Maguire added the following:
“Obviously, what we have to do is make sure that our business plan is adhered to and we have the amount of money to invest in games rather than investing in stopping other people making games and progressing. So I would much rather that we were investing money into making sure that we’ve got great R&D and we start producing games like LittleBigPlanet, rather than paying other people a huge amount of money to stop people playing their product.”
With unprecedented first-party line-ups in recent years, it seems that so far Sony hasn’t been swayed by the recent business climate. With blockbuster games such as The Last Guardian, Heavy Rain, God of War 3 and arguably the most anticipated title this generation Gran Turismo 5 scheduled for this year, the late release of timed-exclusive titles seems like just a speed bump rather than an obstacle. If history repeats itself as with Grand Theft Auto IV DLC and Bioshock, PlayStation owners across the globe will continue to be rewarded for patience while Sony invests their millions in the bigger picture.