Objectivity? This column has none. That’s right, today we’re going to forgo all forms of educated opinion, researched assertions and journalistic impartiality, because I just want to have a right old rant, and I’m going to do it right here, right now. Besides, haven’t we had enough objectivity to last us the year, recently? Let’s get unnecessarily angry, for once!
Here’s the thing: I own a gaming PC that has recently begun to fall apart. Now showing its age, my PC has more than one thing wrong with it and to fix it would require a budget that I am not willing to entertain right now, especially since I’m saving up for an extended rAge trip, this year. Thus, I am forced to endure its issues when they surface, until such time as I am able to save up enough to start anew. I also own an Xbox 360 which, up until a few weeks ago, was something I could admit with pride.
Yeah, I don’t know why Microsoft’s Xbox One issues filtered through to the Xbox 360 but now, even admitting that I own one has some sort of stigma attached to it, which attracts a whole host of critical commentary, as if the gaming world has suddenly become aware of SkyNet’s involvement in the almighty Achievement. As if owning an Xbox 360 is like trafficking humans, and how dare I exist in the same world as regular old human beings who are trying to live an honest life, or something.
I was recently very graciously offered a PlayStation 3 (which, to begin a slew of religiously offensive jokes, might as well be called The Holy Grail 3, nowadays) by someone close to me who was willing to part with it for a short while, and I immediately set out to play some of the exclusives that the console boasted. On offer, because this person is extremely well-informed and listens to the right folks, was the Uncharted trilogy, inFamous, God of War 3, Metal Gear Solid 4 and Heavy Rain. The latter was my immediate first target, being probably the only game that ever made me really want a PS3.
And then I played a bit and realised that this game is entirely doable on the Xbox 360, and fuck Quantic Dream for being a Sony first-party developer. Indeed, any of those exclusives could have made their way to the Xbox 360 under a different developer, and they’d have been every bit as awesome, but the unfortunate truth is that being first-party Sony development studios, and Konami I guess, they all stuck to the PS3 and that’s that.
This upsets me. Why do exclusives exist, if not to segregate? In a world so ridiculously obsessed with equality, why do we glorify exclusives when all they do is highlight how excluded an entire segment of the gaming market is, from the rest?
Sure, the Xbox 360 has exclusives as well. But here’s the thing, I don’t like Halo. Actually, I fucking despise it. (To continue the religiously offensive content, I have, for years, referred to the third game as Halo Jesus, for the sheer unquestionable worship it once boasted.) Further, I’m not really that much of a petrol-head either, so that rules out Forza as something for me to really enjoy. Then there’s Fable, which, I mean, really now; I love the games, don’t get me wrong, but as anyone who’s played Fable will tell you, they’re not exactly… a great source of pride, I guess. Microsoft selling BioWare, Gas Powered Games and closing Digital Anvil means that those studios no longer make exclusives, while Alan Wake has gone to PC, so that just leaves Gear Of War, which is actually a series that I really do enjoy.
So that’s one exclusive, and the rest of my really fun and enjoyable games are cross-platform. Thank fuck for that.
Don’t worry PC Master Race, I’ve not forgotten about you guys. You boast your superior versions of Battlefield 3 and The Witcher 2: Assassins Of Kings, the latter entirely DRM-free. You boast all sorts of indie titles as well as MOBA games the likes of LoL, HoN and the inimitable Dota 2. Hell, I even sampled BioShock: Infinite on PC and was absolutely blown away by the visual fidelity compared to the abhorrently-horrendous-by-comparison console version. Yet you get neither Xbox 360 nor PS3 exclusives.
And now we sit with a whole bunch of really great games that you can only play if you own a particular platform. Tell me, how many of you can afford a gaming PC, a PS3 and an Xbox 360? Because I bloody well can’t. The Xbox 360 I have, I actually won in a competition, a few years back. And this goes for many, many others; we just cannot afford multiple gaming consoles. And if you can, then fine, enjoy all the exclusives you’d like. But that’s such a small amount of people. Most of us have to pick a specific console and settle with it.
Now we have next-gen on the way and it’s the same old story. People on Xbox One will enjoy such games as Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare, Forza Motorsport 5 and Quantum Break, while those on PS4 get
cop-out reboots games the likes of inFamous: Second Son, KillZone: Shadow Fall and Gran Turismo 6.
And you know what? I hate it. I absolutely, unequivocally, irrevocably fucking hate it.
I want an Xbox One. I will most likely, at some point, be getting an Xbox One. And do you know what that means? That means I won’t be able to enjoy games the likes of inFamous: Second Sun, or DriveClub, or The Order: 1886, which looks so awesomely like Van Helsing that my pants are tightening just thinking about it. But nope, unfortunately none of these games for me because I opted for Microsoft instead of Sony. Wait, sorry! Let me do that again, in gamer speak: I opted for Micro$oft instead of Son¥. Look at me, I’m so original, etc.
In fact, why go so far? The Last Of Us released a short while to absolutely rave reviews from everyone and their mothers, and I really, really want to play it. Okay, yeah, now that I have a PS3 in my possession, I technically can just by going out and buying the game, but then when that PS3 is returned to its owner, together with hordes of gratitude, that’s it for my ability to play any PS3 games. And all those sweet exclusives I mentioned above will once again be pipe dreams for me.
Have I made my point yet?
You might see it as a source of pride, or a reward for siding with a particular console. You might even see this column as the bitching and cryfacing of a moaning fanboy who wants to have it all, and if that’s how you feel then sure, but I have to ask: Exactly how does one get so myopic with a human brain? I just complimented every gaming platform except for Nintendo; I just named some really great games that I’d like to play, on each platform. It’s not cryfacing for the sake of cryfacing, it’s ranting out of, you could say jealousy. I just really want to play a lot of games that I can’t, and I can’t play them purely because they’re exclusives.
You don’t have to be specifically a PS3 gamer, or an Xbox 360 gamer, or a PC gamer. Everyone is affected by this. I’m sure there are a loads of PS3 gamers who would like to know what a real racing game is all about — yes, I went there — as I’m sure many Xbox 360 gamers want to experience “emotions” like only David Cage knows. And I’m sure both those gamers would like to see what BioShock: Infinite or Battlefield 3 look like on a high-end PC rig. (Trust me, your eyes will melt.)
I understand that a console’s exclusives are what make it special. If you’ll kindly read the first line of this column again, I threw objectivity right out the door immediately. I don’t fucking care that you feel special because you get to play The Last Of Us while I am forced to watch you, and dream. Do you realise how excluding that sort of practice is? We might as well bring back the Group Areas Act… what, too soon?
This is also a very good reason for why I adore Electronic Arts, you know, when they’re not trying to shove online passes down our throats. They cater to everyone, and do not exclude anyone. And I appreciate that. As someone who was once a PC gamer, and now has an Xbox 360, and hopes to one day own an Xbox One, I can appreciate that.
Feel free to comment and tell me what you guys think of exclusives, although I have a feeling that the Sony fanboys are going to be out in full force once again. I sigh in anticipation. In the meantime, I’m going to go and play some Heavy Rain while trying not to read every line of dialogue in David Cage’s voice. Emotions!