Console exclusivity refers to the status of a video game being released on only one video game console. Console exclusivity is a topic used in discussions of the advantages and disadvantages of rival firms in the video game market, and one which is used for marketing by firms involved. Industry analysts generally agree that there is a correlation between availability of exclusive titles, and hardware sales. Major firms have purchased smaller businesses in order to secure software titles for themselves. Exclusivity is also occasionally used in software released across multiple platforms, in order to add a unique element into each different version.
Usage of console exclusivity in industry
Microsoft often mark the game boxes of their exclusive titles as "Only on Xbox 360". Many of these exclusive titles are used at marketing events such as E3, in order to help drive sales of hardware, as a consumer choosing between options may be swayed by the different range of games available on each different console. Analysts have stated that sales figures in the past have indicated that there is a relation between hardware sales, and the release of software specifically for that hardware. They state that there is also data which shows that during holiday periods, when consumer spending is generally higher, hardware with a list of exclusive releases generally outsell those with a smaller selection. Correlations have also been drawn between the sales of software, and the sales of relevant hardware, as in late 2009 the Wii dominated both the hardware and software charts.
Impact of exclusivity on sales
In addition to sales data supporting the relation of hardware sales to software titles, CNET, the parent company which owns both GameSpot and GameFAQs, stated that "one of the biggest decisions when choosing a video game system has to be the exclusive games". The focus of E3 on exclusive titles at each publishers demonstration also reflects the marketing power of exclusive titles, in addition to exclusive hardware.
Many media reports include exclusive hardware and software as points of consideration for consumers. They also draw attention to the relevance of such exclusive titles for the developer, as there may be a potential for greater sales volume when releasing on multiple platforms. Firms such as Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo also use exclusive titles to their advantage in order to create marketing strategies. Microsoft claimed that the Halo series, specifically Halo 3, was a key "payoff" in their strategy when entering the console market with the Xbox and Xbox 360. It is not uncommon for big firms such as Sony and Microsoft to buy small publishers in order to preserve exclusivity for themselves.
The Wii's dominance has also been credited by the media to a focus on exclusive technology and sales, rather than on pure technology inside the hardware. Microsoft attempted to reduce Nintendo's dominance from their motion control technology with the release of Kinect. Similarly, the PlayStation 3's lack of "killer exclusive titles" was said by analysts to contribute to its suffering sales in 2007.
Console exclusives may also be offered in the form of unique features within a game specific to the console they are released on. For example, the Soul series of games has had unique characters in each different version of its games on different consoles.
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