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Microsoft's chequebook warfare is bound to fail

Microsoft's chequebook warfare is bound to fail

Fri 15 Aug 2014 7:41am GMT / 3:41am EDT / 12:41am PDT
Business

Success in the console industry requires more than deep pockets; paying for exclusivity is no substitute for nurturing great games and services

When Microsoft first entered the console industry with the original Xbox (I guess it's just too confusing to call it the Xbox 1), it was met with a lot of skepticism. The key figures behind Xbox - people like J Allard, Seamus Blackley and Ed Fries - were well-liked, but the console itself had a serious credibility problem. Microsoft made the tedious software you had to use at work, not cool things you entertained yourself with at home; even for PC gamers, it was hardware makers like NVIDIA who made cool things, while Microsoft just made an operating system that annoyed you with cryptic messages about device drivers instead of letting you play. It didn't help that both the console and its controllers were big, ugly and clunky, suggesting a company that just didn't "get" what people wanted from a living room device and couldn't hold a candle to the long-standing masters of consumer hardware at Sony.

Amidst the skepticism, there were a number of voices pointing out the obvious but often-ignored; the fact that we were talking here about one of the richest companies in the world, headed up by the world's wealthiest man. Microsoft hadn't succeeded at everything it attempted, even back then, but it had deeper pockets than anyone else. If Microsoft wanted success in the games market - really, really wanted it - it could buy it. It would take time and a truly eye-watering number of dollars, but Microsoft, and perhaps Microsoft alone, could do it.

In a sense, that's what they did. Throughout the lifespan of the original Xbox and the early years of Xbox 360, Microsoft splashed dollars around the industry like wedding confetti. We easily forget that Halo, the iconic Xbox franchise, didn't actually start out on Xbox - Microsoft in fact caused plenty of upset among gamers when it bought long-standing Mac developer Bungie to get their hands on this promising PC/Mac title and secure it for the Xbox. Later, it would spend hundreds of millions on buying Nintendo's former second-party studio, Rare, and pump countless millions more into a hugely expensive financial arms-race with Sony to secure platform exclusives, knowing that its Japanese rival could scarce afford to compete on these stakes.

"It feels like a knee-jerk reaction from a company which honestly didn't expect to be this far behind so early in the game - quick, buy something big!"

None of this is to say that Microsoft "bought" its presence in the games business - this was only one part of the puzzle, one factor among many which eventually gave the Xbox 360 a tight race with the PS3. Other vital factors included Sony's own hubris and miscalculation with the PS3, and of course, the foresight and intelligence of the Microsoft engineers and designers who doubled down on Xbox Live even as other console manufacturers hesitated to commit to online services. All the money in the world couldn't buy the head-start Xbox Live gave to the Xbox 360 over its rival platforms; it certainly couldn't buy the clear water that separated the consoles in the first years of the generation, as PS3 stumbled out the gates, hobbled by a disastrous price point and terrible, stupid communications from senior management.

All the same, it shows you something about Microsoft's culture during that era. Money wasn't the only thing that ultimately brought success to Xbox, but in the face of adversity, it was the first weapon that an embattled Microsoft reached for. If success didn't come naturally, if a product didn't perform to expectations, if skepticism and uncertainty stood in your way; a deep enough wallet could overcome anything. Nobody could compete with Microsoft's money. It was the company's trump card.

Today's Microsoft might be expected to be different. It's still a hugely profitable company, but its days of market domination are behind it. It's squeezed by Apple on one side and Google on the other, led by new CEO Satya Nadella, who's more realistic about the firm's place in the world than Steve Ballmer was, and might be expected to be more cost-conscious and less bombastic about using its wealth as a hammer (and consequently, seeing every problem as a nail).

All of that may be true, but sometimes, we see flashes of the old Microsoft. We saw one this week at GamesCom, for certain, with the decidedly odd announcement that the next Tomb Raider game will be Xbox exclusive. The wheels are coming off this announcement already, to an extent; "exclusive" in this instance seems to mean "timed exclusive", it's just that all of the mealy-mouthed managers talking about the deal have been carefully coached not to say "timed", not to give any indication about timings, and if possible, to demonstrate an astonished lack of understanding of the basic concept of time itself, and to react like a caveman presented with an iPhone at the mere sight of a wristwatch or a calendar. Still, Microsoft has secured for the Xbox One an exclusive period of time, almost certainly spanning the 2015 holiday season and then some, for a game in a much-loved franchise whose last iteration sold many millions of copies.

That did not come cheap. Square Enix will, of course, have been aware that a potential holiday 2015 launch for the next Uncharted game would render the PS4 hostile territory for a Tomb Raider launch, but with the PS4 installed base still growing at about twice the rate of the Xbox One, if not more, the publisher will have required a truly enormous money hat in return for Lara's exclusive attentions being paid to a much less successful platform. I can't help but wonder, though, who else Microsoft sought to woo with its chequebook before settling on the Tomb Raider deal; Square Enix probably only took the bait because of a willingness to move its franchise away from the Uncharted juggernaut, so just who else did the holders of Microsoft's seemingly loose purse-strings have on speed dial that week?

"For the sake of both the Xbox and the industry, I hope that Microsoft isn't blinded by its own wealth. The reality is that a chequebook war between Microsoft and Sony wouldn't really be good for anyone"

This is, as I said, a decidedly odd deal. It feels like a knee-jerk reaction from a company which honestly didn't expect to be this far behind so early in the game - quick, buy something big! Tomb Raider, though, has pretty much always been a multi-platform game; popular, well-liked, commercially successful, but not really a platform seller in its own right. It's the epitome of a solid third-party game, one you'll probably buy once you've got a console, but not one for which you buy a console. I don't doubt that it'll shift a handful of Xbox Ones, but I very much doubt that it'll justify whatever Microsoft just paid for it. Few PS4 owners (or potential PS4 buyers) will be swayed from their path by the possibility of playing a Tomb Raider game a few months early; some will certainly be annoyed though, and may even harden their view of Microsoft ("trying to buy the industry" doesn't resonate well with consumers unless it's very well presented, and that's hard to do when sewing up rights to a formerly multi-platform game).

Like most gamers and industry types alike, I reckon, I'd prefer if Microsoft had spent that money on finding and funding a really interesting new IP. The company, incidentally, seems to be absolutely fantastic at finding promising IP that's struggling to realise its potential, buying it and honing it to greatness - that's what it did with Halo and with Crackdown, to name but two. More of that and fewer money-hats for existing franchises would be a better long-term plan; but if the Tomb Raider deal is a flavour of the future, Microsoft seems to have fallen back on chequebook warfare. One wonders how far it is willing to go. Speculation about what happens when Microsoft opens its war chest is endless, but if it's now in the business of paying for exclusivity of established franchises, the sky barely even qualifies as a limit. GTAV would cost billions, probably more than any other game, but would probably change the Xbox One's fortunes markedly; for money like that, the firm could even buy a major publisher, wrapping up a bundle of big franchises into the bargain. This is circular speculation, of course; we wondered what Microsoft's billions would buy over ten years ago when the original Xbox launched. That speculation died down as the Xbox 360 built its own success. Today, it seems a little more justified again.

For the sake of both the Xbox and the industry, I hope that Microsoft isn't blinded by its own wealth. The reality is that a chequebook war between Microsoft and Sony wouldn't really be good for anyone; it would just pour more money into franchises that are already successful and create artificial platform divisions that would smother innovation and creativity. Microsoft is losing ground right now and needs to make it up, but the only way to do that effectively is the hard way - it has to be better than Sony. It has to find, nurture and launch better games; it has to provide better services and a better vision for the future of gaming. That's not easy. It takes patience, effort and bloody brilliant people to accomplish something like that, and it's easy to see why the quick fix of reaching for the chequebook is tempting by comparison. The chequebook, however, is no real alternative. The success of Xbox 360 was built on great games and great services; so was the eventual resurgence of PS3. If Xbox One is to stage a comeback, it will need to do so on the same terms. There's no financial shortcut.

34 Comments

Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator

956 184 0.2
Great article, it's like looking at pay to win models in mobile F2P games. You can pay for a nice bonus for now but effects are temporary. :P

Posted:3 months ago

#1

Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany

837 671 0.8
Good article. Personally I think this is just something complementary. Sure MS did pay for a temporary exclusivity here but also is offering some exclusive game for XOne. I feel that it is still a bit too soon to predict that 90% of their tactic is going to be this.
Of course, me here wants it not to be their tactic.

Posted:3 months ago

#2

Adam Campbell Associate Producer, Miniclip Ltd

1,200 1,017 0.8
The time of the third party exclusive is nearly over, last generation it really showed when just about anything that was once platform exclusive fell one by one - DMC, Final Fantasy, Tekken and so on...

I would be very surprised if this became a long term tactic for this generation. Fewer studios seem willing to restrict their big franchises to one system and it hasn't appeared to have the same impact on console sales for manufacturers when they are present.

Posted:3 months ago

#3

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,162 1,232 1.1
Popular Comment
The Xbox One announcement and launch period really is something for the history books.

One PR disaster after the next. Shouldn't we be talking about Xbox One games coming out in the next three months instead of a game 16 months out? Ever since the first announcement event, it is as if Xbox division is infiltrated by Sony agents distributing phony focus group results wherever they can.

Posted:3 months ago

#4

Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd

1,020 1,467 1.4
Popular Comment
Klaus, you could levy the same complaint at the PS4 right now. Sony's big PS4 release for Holiday 2014 is LittleBigPlanet 3... which is a PS3 port and a game practically no one wanted. Even the multiplats were all pushed into 2015, except for Destiny (last gen version available) and AC Unity. There is very little reason to own a new generation console... unless you're buying a Wii U, which does actually have major exclusives this year.

Posted:3 months ago

#5

Caleb Hale Journalist

156 231 1.5
It's quite the pendulum swing, isn't it? From last year introducing the Xbox One as your all-in-one entertainment solution, to this year buying up timed exclusives from third party publishers to prove Xbox One is "all about the games." Really, though, I see this as a flash in the pan; Microsoft trying to build perception the Xbox One is the console to get if you want access to the big games first. In today's industry I doubt buying up exclusives is a sustainable business model for Microsoft or the publishers they try to entice. I think the Xbox division knows this too, but they also realize they need to catch up to Sony. Second place isn't where Microsoft wants to be with the Xbox One, not after the Xbox 360 enjoyed the premiere status it did last generation.

Posted:3 months ago

#6

Alex Eddy IT-Specialist, WWNY-TV

9 12 1.3
If your talking First party, The Last of Us Remastered is selling like crazy and is worth owning a PS4 for, If you are a motorhead I hear Driveclub is looking amazing. Then you have things like Destiny which although are not First party, definitely a system seller since the game is being bundled.

Add in the features like Co-op Far cry 4 without owning the game that is s feature exclusive to PS4, add in Call of Duty Advanced Warfare, AC:Unity and all the hot Indie titles and you;ve got yourself a decent lineup. Maybe not all First party, but when you look at Microsoft it's mainly Master Chief collection, sunset Overdrive, and Forza that are anything worth mentioning.

Comes down to if exclusives are all you play. If you like Third party games like Call of Duty, Assassins Creed, Far Cry 4, Destiny then you would get a next gen system.

And the fact that Destiny is the most preordered game in history proves that people want better playing/looking muliplats along with their console exclusives.

Nintendo has a good lineup so far this year, with MArio Kart, Smash Bros, Captain Toad, and Bayonetta 2. But they lack anything in between. The in Between is why PS4 is selling so well. They have the better versions of Multiplats, and have really good AAA indie games that are sprinkled in between the year.

If you want to play Nintendo games, then a Wii U is a good investment just for that. If your looking for Diversity in types of games like playing a Bethesda game along the great Nintendo lineup then look elsewhere. After this Holiday I don't see many Nintendo releases for next year that are exciting besides X Chronicles, and Zelda, Splatoon has yet to prove itself.

By February of 2015 the Wii U will already look like the wrong choice for diversity of games. There;'s so much new next gen only games coming out that Nintendo's current release schedule will not be adequate enough to keep up. The only reason this year looks good is they pushed most of these games into the same year, when they were suppose to release much earlier in 2013.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Alex Eddy on 15th August 2014 4:06pm

Posted:3 months ago

#7

Yiannis Koumoutzelis Founder & Creative Director, Neriad Games

363 208 0.6
Popular Comment
Are we pretending that Sony did not build pretty much the entirety of its exclusive library this way or is it only me who is aware of it?

Posted:3 months ago

#8

Alex Eddy IT-Specialist, WWNY-TV

9 12 1.3
Besides personally, I would call Mario Kart, Bayonetta, Super Smash Bros, Captain Toad, Hyrule Warriors, Chronicles X, Zelda, Splatoon, Kirby and the Rainbow Course, Yoshi's Wooly World, Mario Party 10, Mario Maker
It totally make sense, Because if you read my post more carefully I touch o that outside of Nintendo First party releases that were really sparse last year, there's not much else to play on Wii U. At least your not going to have as good of a time playing a third party game online, with such a small install base. Those games you listed are all for the most part First party Nintendo, and you think Captain Toad will sell next to Yoshi?

Those games are mostly platforms, or variants of them. Mario Kart sold well in the month of June, but dropped like a rock in July.
The days of all their First party having pull are almost gone outside of Mario Kart, and Smash Bros for universal appeal.

The fact that the games outside of Nintendo First party don't sell, shows you they don't promote correctly and focus more on their internal developed games than, looking for other avenue's to promote.
Nintendo lacks games that are promoted well on their system that are not First Party. I will eat crow that after this fiscal year the Wii U goes back to doing numbers from 2013.
Mario Kart was so for their biggest game that moved systems, mianly because it was bundled with it. The PS4 is selling without being bundles with anything.
And that's because of value proposition.

Indie games are now debuting on PS4 , not just because of friendly relations, which I here Nintendo has as well, but mainly the audience is broader on a console than it is on steam.

Example: Outlast was given for free for PlayStation Plus this past February, and because of the share/streaming features and wider audience of consoles, the game had a lot of buzz, so much that they are bringing it to XBOX. The positive streams made more people buy the stand-alone DLC which I guess sold pretty well on PS4, and then sold well on steam.

More games are debuting on PSN first, because of the heavy focus Playstation has on Indie games.
Now we see this Gamescom games that are AAA indie that people came out excited for.

These smaller releases help fill in the gaps during the Fiscal year. Last year Nintendo was sparse in it's releases, that it hurt them a lot around Christmas.

They pushed more games into 2014 to make a good roster, but after this year what do you have for releases? Third party is all but dead on Wii U to the point that there are games already to be released, but companies like Ubisoft are holding off till install base get's bigger.

The sales of the WIi U show that not everyone want's to pay 300+ dollars for a Nintendo only game system.
In a day and age of strong competition for your dollar, people want value. Nintendo has value in their first party Properties since you can only get them on their platform, but they have failed to make a case in other services, and Third/second party games.

So my stance still stands the days of buying a Nintendo system just for Nintendo games is long over. People don't buy PS4's and Xbox's just for the exclusives. It's a big deciding factor, but also value proposition in other services, Indie games, and third party are huge factors as well.

Destiny proves my point as the most preordered game in history, and most preorder's are on Next gen consoles.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Alex Eddy on 15th August 2014 4:41pm

Posted:3 months ago

#9

Todd Weidner Founder, Big Daddy Game Studio

420 1,000 2.4
Popular Comment
Its a terrible article IMHO.
but its days of market domination are behind it
really, record profits and still complete dominance in many areas such as OS that runs the business world.

You act as if you cant pay exclusive rights and also nurture and launch better games. These ideas are not mutually exclusive. Using and paying for exclusive rights to games have been going on since day one of video games, why the shock now? Its a proven strategy.

The whole premise of this article makes no sense. " Bound to fail" except that the last 40 years of video gaming shows its actually a proven and viable strategy that works.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Todd Weidner on 15th August 2014 4:50pm

Posted:3 months ago

#10

Barrie Tingle Live Producer, Maxis

391 211 0.5
All* console manufacturers have opened their wallets in the past for exclusives. Sony, SEGA, Nintendo (*maybe if they paid for Bayonetta 2), Microsoft. It is a given that at some point it will happen in a consoles life cycles. Not great for gamers on the whole but tends to get a short term influx of gamers to a platform.

Posted:3 months ago

#11

Anthony Chan Analyst, CPPIB

101 96 1.0
I think outside of selling consoles, having exclusivity on the right games, can generate a buzz which MS, Sony, and Nintendo realize could cause quarterly NPD sales to go up or down. I understand the opinion of this article and from most of the community members here - and yes, exclusivity and other chequebook tactics are short-sighted from a games point of view.

But at the end, console makers sell consoles; and despite all the industry echoing "games sell consoles", the makers would like to comfort their shareholders that there is a backup plan. This backup plan is marketing. Exclusivity and chequebook tactics are a marketing strategy as opposed to a games strategy. The whole idea is to appeal to a large demographic who buy a console simply because it is "cooler" to own that one console. Exclusivity (which can be negative btw) drives "fanboys" and fanboys can help drive market share one way or another. At the end of the day, more than sales figures alone in the first 5 years of a console's life (because lets face it, seeing red for 5 years will not bankrupt any one console division of any of these large companies) market share trending is more important.

EDIT: btw when I said exclusivity could be negative, Microsoft was bathing in uber-dom with relation to Skyrim. PS3 had exclusive errors for the Skyrim DLC which caused the DLC to be delayed for over a year. The forums were ablaze with MS fanboys jilting Sony fanboys and at the end Sony's camp had to retreat "tail between the legs". Anger was directed at Sony and at the end, PS3 popularity wanes compared to 360. Console manufacturers live for this kind of stuff.

TL;DR - chequebook warfare has its uses and reasons, and drives another avenue of generating hype and market share. It helps create fanboy-ism which through word of mouth and social media can influence buying decisions of an exponential number of consumers.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Anthony Chan on 15th August 2014 5:04pm

Posted:3 months ago

#12

Ben Link CoFounder and Podcast Host, GamerBrew

5 13 2.6
Not sure why this article is passing off the Tomb Raider exclusivity as a bad move for Microsoft. This is a great move for Microsoft. As a One and PS4 owner, I could care less, but I have friends that have neither console and this does weigh on their decision on which console to get. I personally would prefer to play Tomb Raider on the PS4 and understand the frustration of other PlayStation owners, but Microsoft has added a reason to buy the Xbox One over the PS4. Specifically for people that own neither console. Timed Exclusive or not.

Posted:3 months ago

#13

Brian Smith Artist

198 92 0.5
Reads like an anti-MS article when all the holders have done the same many times in the past. Didn't Sony in fact write the rule book on this ?

Posted:3 months ago

#14

Raymond Goldsmith Chairman & CEO, ISM

7 1 0.1
A great article and oh so many truths of events these past 14 years or so... On platform exclusives though, I remember well the much bandied coup by Kutagari to sow up Tomb Raider as a PlayStaion exclusive from Eidos during its dizzy days of stardom !!

Posted:3 months ago

#15

Richard Browne EVP Gaming and Interactive, Evergreen Studios

111 127 1.1
This has been around as long as the console business pretty much, I don't think there's anything wrong with it other than it rarely works for the IP holder. I can certainly see SE thinking Uncharted was going to steal their lunch on PS4 so for them it makes some sense, but it'll hurt their PS4 sales long term and if Sony keep outstripping Microsoft at the current rate then that's a lot of lost sales. For Microsoft it's a case of which title was feasible, I wouldn't call landing Tomb Raider these days a marquee steal, ten years ago maybe.

Posted:3 months ago

#16

Daniel Trezub QA Analyst, GameLoft

12 9 0.8
LittleBigPlanet 3... which is a PS3 port and a game practically no one wanted
Agreed, except for the fact that LBP3 is not a port, it's a sequel.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Daniel Trezub on 15th August 2014 6:09pm

Posted:3 months ago

#17

Nic Wechter Senior Designer, Black Tusk (MGS Vancouver)

33 69 2.1
I'm sure people would say I'm biased as a MS employee but I watched the Sony Gamescom press briefing and they had more than a couple of 3rd party exclusives lined up as well. I don't really understand why only Microsoft catches heat for this kind of thing.

Posted:3 months ago

#18

Alex Eddy IT-Specialist, WWNY-TV

9 12 1.3
Christian Keichel
Your not getting what I was saying. I said there wasn't as much Diversity in the type of games that can be played on the Wii U. And if you wanted to play Wolfenstein,, Dishonored 2, Doom 4, The next Elder Scrolls, or next Fall out you would have to look elsewhere than the Wii U.

My point wasn't in being able to play just Nintendo games, it was that the Nintendo games coming out are mostly the platformer variety with Zelda, Hyrule warriors, smash Bros, Bayonetta, and Splatoon being the only exceptions.

There very similar in the types of games, and types of used characters. My point is your not going to see Destiny, The witcher series, the next batman, call of duty, OUTLAST, tower fall:ascension, hotline Miami and the like on Wii U.

The Wii itself was a different scenario where they were aiming at casuals. The sales show this, and along with how fast interest in motion control fell like a rock.
It's on of the many reasons Wii U is doing so poorly compared to Sony and soon this Holiday Xbox as well.
They pushed more games into 2014 to make a good roster, but after this year what do you for releases?
The following games were released by Nintendo in 2013:
Lego City Undercover
Game & Wario
Pikmin 3
Super Mario 3D World
The Legend of Zelda Wind Waker HD
The Wonderful 101
Wii Party U
New Super Luigi Bros U
Art Academy Sketchpad
Pokemon Rumble U
Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games
I am not really sure,.what you mean when you say they "pushed more games in 2014", when the only game they pushed was Donkey Kong Country, while they released 9 retail games and 2 downloadable games in 2013.
And how many of those games actually sold, and how many of them were even promoted as much as Mario Kart? WHich proves my point as they rely heavily on first party to bring in revenue. And outside of giant broad titles like Mario Kart, Party, and Smash, they're re not selling.

Wonderful:101 did awful numbers and so did Pikmin 3, which took almost 5 years to make since it started as a Wii title and transferred over to Wii U hardware.

Nintendo hasn't reached out to developer's to make exclusive games for them. They did for Platinum and after winderful 101 did awful numbers, they concentrated on Bayonetta 2 which I feel is a narrow audience on a console that's no moving enough units to stay relevant.

Wii U is selling the same as xbox, but xbox is close to Wii U numbers and WIi U has almost been out for 2 years. When holiday hits and all the bundles that Microsoft has that are cheap with free Sunset Overdrive, COD, Madden, and MASTER CHIEF COLLECTION. I only see SMASH BROS bundle doing well, I don't see toad selling that much, and I see Bayonetta selling maybe as much as 2 million over the course of the holiday's and into spring, if bundled.

The fact that company's that have games that would actually find an audience on Wii U, ready to go, but are holding back is telling about Wii U's stance on outside software.

It's mitigating damage control right now, as it is the same with Microsoft, and this Tomb raider thing will put a bad taste in people's mouths but, luckily they have valued bundles this holiday with a possible price cut in new Tier 2 Territories.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Alex Eddy on 15th August 2014 6:46pm

Posted:3 months ago

#19

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,162 1,232 1.1
The bad move on Microsoft's part concerning the announcement of the alleged exclusivity of Tomb Raider was that it invited the reaction of all the people who like Tomb Raider very much, but were not fans of Microsoft at the same time. Those people had a field day with MS, because copying Sony from 14 years ago is not an option these days.

Did Microsoft think this through? Sure, those who are entrenched with the Xbox brand can make inflammatory remarks at everybody else about how they get this game and the other players do not. Is that the sort of message Microsoft wants out there? Is this how they want to attract customers? Go for the manchild demographic?

All you could say afterwards was that everybody at Microsoft seemingly was noticing how things shifted in a bad direction, but were still sticking to their rehearsed role and deceitful statements. Sure, there was an update to the situation later, but by that time, everybody at the event had already come off as a weasely snake oil salesmen. Again I ask, if this is the sort of company you happily give your money to?

This is what Microsoft has to work on the most. They seem to think of themselves as a bit too smart for their own good, and are consistently caught with their hand in the cookie jar. On paper, the console and its games look fine and could well compete with the PS4, but everything surrounding the console is not looking good.

Posted:3 months ago

#20

Alex Eddy IT-Specialist, WWNY-TV

9 12 1.3
Microsoft to my understanding are not funding the development of the game, That wasn't an issue according to SQE.

They took a game that was essentially most of the brand life, a multiplatform game and made it exlcusive,w hen 2 months ago it was announced as Multiplatform.

The issue is instead of investing in NEW ip's and studios they rely on their checkbook to make a case to buy their system, which doesn't promote creativity for new interesting software.

I mean you work for Black Tusk I would have been a little perturbed if someone came in didn't think highly of a new IP, and put the team on making yet again another gears of war game.

Unless the state of the project was not viable then I guess, it's a smart business move.
They use to promote creativity in original XBox days. There were a lot of new IP's they helped fund, and studios they helped open. But like the article touches on, found more money in short term, by promoting third party, and churning out the same sequels of games every couple years.

It's a huge difference to look at my XBox and xbox 360 collection and see the difference of creativity some of the titles had.

They are catching heat because the money they spent could have been used to fund new games, and studios. Sony does do some things similar.

People have brought up Bloodborne which is a good comparison. But the huge difference is SCE is help funding the game, and helped FROM software get their start with Demon Souls, so the partnership and collaboration is mutual. Sony approached them for a new IP when they were finishing Dark Souls DLC.

The same can be said about Insomniac, even though Sony kept their IP's, they gave them free rain on what they wanted to do when they were first starting up.

Posted:3 months ago

#21

Alex Eddy IT-Specialist, WWNY-TV

9 12 1.3
I would have to agree with the Secondary console/device idea. The sales I brought up were in correlation to games that are most prominent on the system are Nintendo First party, and ones they help finance don't sell well. Which would not promote NIntendo to go back to those franchises, or invest in the studio to make more games for them.

It will be a wait and see approach if Nintendo continues the partnership with Platinum Games. Same with the developer's for Devil's Third which was thrown out by XBox and Sony, because it wasn't in good shape.

Captain Toad is in the same league as Mario and Yoshi, same can be said about Donkey Kong. We need more interesting games on Wii U like Wonderful:101, and they need to be promoted to attract new buyers.

I think this past E3 was smart move on NIntendo's part with the treehouse setup, I think that will help get the word out on the console, to a certain point. But new interesting software that isn't tied to anything Nintendo first party is where Nintendo has to improve on.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Alex Eddy on 15th August 2014 7:14pm

Posted:3 months ago

#22

Alex Eddy IT-Specialist, WWNY-TV

9 12 1.3
Now saying it's not in the same league as Yhosji and Mario is fanboy BS, because genre wise it's Action-Adventure game with Puzzles like Mario and the like. It's a character from the Mario universe. So i treat it as such.


The thing with the Gamecube is they had interesting software that was promoted well that wasn't NIntendo First party. RE4 debuted there first, so did the RE-Remakes, Twin Snakes, Eternal Darkness, Battilion wars, Baiten Katos, and more that escape me.

Wii U because of it's confusion, can only be a secondary console at this point. The naming and promotion of the hardware was fumbled much like Microsoft's was, the difference being Microsoft. The difference being Microsoft has been trying to regain market-share where for a whole year Nintendo did nothing, before both consoles came out. ANd that's when they could have had a great year, if they had made changes.

Posted:3 months ago

#23

Neow Shau Jin Studying Bachelor in Computer Science, Universiti Sains Malaysia

52 81 1.6
Popular Comment
@Nic Wechter

Let me explain how Microsoft catches more heat,

If you watches the Playstation's conference, one particular phrase should have stick out very clearly in your mind: "First on Playstation". That's how Sony announced a timed exclusive, easily understood meaning, upfront, with the most important word "First" placed first. As opposed to Microsoft's vague "Coming Holiday 2015, exclusively on Xbox", which reeks deceit. I immediately thinks that the guy who says it has something to hide, which leads me to further dissect the words, and I already feeling unease, so when I look deeper with that feeling, things will not come out well.

If you are a Microsoft employee, then you can tell whoever handling the PR in your company(which I suspect still the same team from over a year ago comparing this to last year's PR disaster), to stop trying to write these misleading announcement, the consumers don't like it, treat them with respect and be upfront with consumers you are marketing to.

Posted:3 months ago

#24

Brandon Hofer Editor in Chief, Totally Gaming Network

16 11 0.7
It isn't just you Yiannis. Though most have selective amnesia, I fully remember Sony engaging in a lot of "checkbook warfare" back in the PS2 era and nobody really caring. Remember when GTA came out on PS2 6-12 months before it came out on the OG Xbox?

Posted:3 months ago

#25

Alex Eddy IT-Specialist, WWNY-TV

9 12 1.3
Mario games are categorized I believe on certain sites that give them scores. Well sorry for the generalization, I'm just saying the game-play is very similar, and your arguing that just because toad doesn't have platforming it's can't be categorized in the same genre as Mario, which has puzzles, and adventurous levels.

They even have a similar art style, because they are trying to keep the games uniformity. I am not going to get into a battle about a game I think is in the same league as Mario games.

So let's just drop that one.

Eternal Darkness was ten times the game Zombie U was, and you know that. The reviews show it, and to RE4 that game created a lot of buzz for the gamecube at the end of it's life cycle.

Baiten Katos I'll admit isn't as interesting as Chronicles, that game looks cool. But You may say Nintendo did what they should have and released a bunch of games. but unfortunately were not compelling to buyers. Hence why most highest selling games were Mario, and games like Lego City, and the likes didn't sell if at all.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Alex Eddy on 15th August 2014 9:42pm

Posted:3 months ago

#26

Alex Eddy IT-Specialist, WWNY-TV

9 12 1.3
Brandon Hofer
It isn't just you Yiannis. Though most have selective amnesia, I fully remember Sony engaging in a lot of "checkbook warfare" back in the PS2 era and nobody really caring. Remember when GTA came out on PS2 6-12 months before it came out on the OG Xbox?
I think your forgetting the Partnership of Sony Bringing Grand Theft Auto 1 and 2 to original PSX. Then supporting it on PS2, and giving it the royal treatment for PR, making it one of the highest selling games for it's time along side Madden.

Posted:3 months ago

#27

Paul Jace Merchandiser

945 1,433 1.5
Rob I generally like your articles and think that you are a great writer but I gotta say that this was the worst piece you have ever written. I do realize(as most frequent visitors have probably also noticed) that GI.biz has turned into anti-Microsoft central over the past year and a half, particularly the comments section. But you really don't need to make articles catering to that as I assure you that people will show up to complain about Microsoft articles regardless of the subject matter. And as already stated several times, Sony built up the vast majority of their exclusives like this as well over the last three console generations.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Paul Jace on 16th August 2014 1:46am

Posted:3 months ago

#28

Nick Wofford Hobbyist

180 190 1.1
"I think your forgetting the Partnership of Sony Bringing Grand Theft Auto 1 and 2 to original PSX. Then supporting it on PS2, and giving it the royal treatment for PR, making it one of the highest selling games for it's time along side Madden."

You're aware that this entire statement amounts to "They paid Rockstar a ton of money to keep GTA off of other platforms that were actually more capable of running GTA," right?

Posted:3 months ago

#29

Christopher Ingram Editor-at-Large, Digitally Downloaded

52 45 0.9
I think that Tomb Raider is an ace "timed" exclusive catch for the Xbox One - it caters directly to the shooter core demographic that has always found a large following with Western gamers. The issue here isn't the timed exclusivity of this title, but yet again, the choice of language that Microsoft used to convey this exclusivity to its audience.

Sony is very much an entertainment company and it has a lot of personality to show for it. Microsoft, on the other hand, continues to come off just as mechanical as it's hardware; it simply lacks personality. What it lacks in personality, it makes up for in hardware and software - all companies have their high and low points.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Christopher Ingram on 16th August 2014 12:44am

Posted:3 months ago

#30

Alex Eddy IT-Specialist, WWNY-TV

9 12 1.3
Nick Wofford
You're aware that this entire statement amounts to "They paid Rockstar a ton of money to keep GTA off of other platforms that were actually more capable of running GTA," right?
And how well did GTA 1 and 2 sell? How was it even viable for Rockstar at the time, who was still early in their developer shoes to put it on another console like N64 which was awful to develop for? How was it viable to put it on Sega Saturn for GTA 1&2?

Xbox needed to prove itself still when GTA 3 came out. Once it proved itself, all the games came to both PS2 and Xbox. This is the exact opposite scenario, the game was selling well on PS3 and 360 and the Definitive Edition sold well. How is it making a game that was originally announced as Multiplatform, and taking money to make it exclusive the same as GTA 3?

Posted:3 months ago

#31

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,162 1,232 1.1
Early Sony exclusives were a necessity of development, not Sony's master plan. The N64 mainly lacked in the memory department, the Saturn sucked at 3D and Sony had the right product at the right time. Multiplatform was not as much of an option back then.

Dreamcast vs. PS2 vs. Xbox vs. Gamecube is another one of those stories. The situation surrounding Resident Evil 4 and the Gamecube was beat by beat the same mess than Tomb Raider is now. Sony did not invent securing exclusives, Sony simply sold so many PS2 consoles that other platforms stopped mattering to developers in terms of financial viability. At launch the Dreamcast had record sales, then the PS2 came along, outsold it 10:1. Nintendo were the guys who tried to get exclusives to fight Sony, an endeavor which failed for pretty much all the reasons Rob Fahey described in his article.

Posted:3 months ago

#32

Justin Biddle Software Developer

163 493 3.0
As the article says it's not that this tactic hasn't been used before and worked. It's that it is not a good tactic now. Everyone who is complaining that people are attacking Microsoft over this and ignoring the fact Sony has done the same in the past are missing the point. The reaction to the news shows how bad this is from a pr point of view to do these days. You can tell by the comments of Spencer the following day that he is deeply unhappy with how the reaction to the news went down on it. They weren't expecting such venomous negativity. People may say it is unfairly negative but that doesn't really matter. People don't like the tactic anymore. Even some Xbox owners feel uncomfortable with this. Top it off with deceitful language which further destroys future consumers trust in MS and you can see what a bungle they made of this. It serves as a warning to all be they Microsoft or Sony that this practice will no longer win you good press coverage and reaction. There were a lot of other very exciting announcements from Microsoft along with the the tomb raider one. How many people remember them now? Who is even talking about them? That in itself is a massive pr fail. The conference wasn't meant to be only about tomb raider.

Posted:3 months ago

#33

Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing

378 227 0.6
That's the problem Microsoft has not learned to deal with the fanboy factor, and Europe is the Sony fanboy stronghold. Tomb Raider is most popular in Europe, and these people are dedicated to loud and organized disruption, something Sony is undoubtedly paying online marketers to stoke. This is hardly a unique practice mind you. The entire Fortune 500 does this kind of thing. Microsoft did it with HD DVD, the playbook Sony is now following.

Posted:3 months ago

#34

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