Studios avoiding platform exclusives as cost spiral, says report

Studios avoiding platform exclusives as cost spiral, says report
Michael French

By Michael French

August 27th 2008 at 10:59AM

Format-holders to start funding more games directly as current gen beds in

The age of the platform exclusive is fast coming to a close as publishers look to beef up their multiplatform development strategies - and it will be just format-holders funding third-party studio exclusives, according to a Reuters investigation.

Platform-exclusive games "will become far more infrequent" says the news agency's sources, as publishers look to manage the still-rising costs of current-gen games development, leaving the likes of Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo to chase third-party studios for killer apps made specifically for their consoles.

"The reality of exclusives is that they will become far more infrequent. The way hardware companies have to offset that is through enhancing the quality of games coming through their own studios that will drive customers to buy their own hardware system," claimed BMO Capital Markets analyst Ed Williams.

He says that the lack of dominant console on the market means it is too 'difficult' and costly for publishers to choose either Xbox 360 over PS3.

The report points out Rockstar split with tradition by releasing its GTA IV across both platforms earlier this year.

And indeed some of Sony's most heavily-touted upcoming PS3 games - LittleBigPlanet (by Media Molecule) and Heavy Rain (by Quantic Dream) - are those not from publishers, but third-party studios working directly for the format holder.

This kind of investment is something Microsoft seems keen to encourage, too.

"It's a trend we're excited about, but not completely surprised about if you look at the installed base and attached rate," Microsoft spokesman David Dennis told Reuters.

"Third party [publishers] are looking at the same things we are and they want to put games into as many people's hands as possible."