Is The Current Console Generation Light on Exclusives?

Horizon Zero Dawn - A rare PS4 exclusive

Horizon Zero Dawn - A rare PS4 exclusive

E3 just ended and I can't help but ask "Where are all the exclusives?" Tons of games were announced — many of which I am extremely excited for — but off the top of my head, there are only a handful of games that are actually exclusive to specific consoles. As it turns out, there are far less exclusives in this generation than the last. Looking at the numbers, there are currently 575 games available or announced for the PS4 and 428 for the Xbox One, of which only 9.2% and 8.9%, respectively, are exclusives. Compare that to the substantial 19.1% of exclusives the PS3 and the 9.6% the Xbox 360 boasted.

(Note: That isn’t counting company exclusives such as games that are available on only the PS3/4, since that still doesn’t really encourage you to buy a new console.)

The Xbox 360 exclusive percentage is only marginally higher than the Xbox One, since a significant percentage of their games are exclusive to the Xbox on the console, but then also available on PC (which I doubt Microsoft minds too much), but the PS4 ratio is half of that of the PS3! Yes, we are still really early in the current gen console’s lifetime, but, at this point, the percentage of games that are exclusives is far lower than last generation.

Halo 5 Guardians - Forever an Xbox exclusive

Halo 5 Guardians - Forever an Xbox exclusive

That’s not to say that the incentive to purchase a console has gone down. The fact that almost every AAA game, or even indie games for that matter, come out on both Xbox One and PS4 is great for the consumer. It doesn’t matter which console you purchase, you are able to play 90% of the games currently announced! The decreased need to purchase multiple consoles drives more money towards the game devs themselves, which will hopefully lead to higher quality games. I doubt Microsoft and Sony mind either, since they get a cut of each game purchased. Everyone wins!

Unless you are a Wii U owner. The Wii U has cemented itself as a niche product. It rarely gets ports of the big releases and even when it does they are usually vastly inferior to the other consoles. Luckily, Nintendo has put a lot of effort into providing valuable content for Wii U owners. New installments of almost all of their seminal IPs, such as Pikmin, Mario Kart, and Star Fox, have been released or announced, resulting in a resounding 27% exclusive rate, almost triple the percentage of other consoles.

PC gamers are in a similar position. Almost all of the non-exclusive games end up on PC at one point or another, but sometimes they are delayed months after the console release and other times the ports are garbage and require significant community effort to render it playable, like with Dark Souls. It is also very difficult to count the number of games that are exclusive to the PC, so the value of owning a PC for gaming is hard to calculate. Regardless of exact numbers, PCs gamers have definitely benefited from the recent freedom from game exclusivity as well.

So far, the number of games that are exclusive to specific consoles is much lower than last generation. This move towards gaming standardization greatly benefits consumers and I hope the trend continues throughout the "current generation." The division between the PS4 and the Xbox One has thinned to a few choice titles, which is fine by me.

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