Console Wars: Meet The PS3

June 09, 2010

Now that all three of the major consoles are in the apartment I figured it was only fitting to bring back the Console Wars concept I started in comic 63.

Fair warning, what's about to follow is a giant wall of text concerning the inner workings of the video game industry, so if you don't care about that and instead would rather see inanimate objects argue with each other, click on the comic link now.

Now while I'm on this line of conversation, I'd like to just make clear that I myself do not own a PS3, while I do own an XBox 360 and a Wii, so the next comic might seem slanted towards the 360, but if you click on the following links you'll see what I'm about to say is my own opinion, but it's also based on facts. Once again, I did my homework.

In the current console wars, a certain word gets tossed around a lot, and that's "exclusive." IE, "XBox 360 exclusive" or "PS3 exclusive." It's a way for developers to say 'this game is awesome and if you want to play it, then you have to buy this console to play it.' When the PS3 was still waiting to be released, Sony was sitting on a treasure trove of exclusive titles. Assassin's Creed, Grand Theft Auto IV, Resident Evil 5, Metal Gear Solid 4, Devil May Cry 4 and Final Fantasy XIII. However, for whatever reason, all but one of those games lost their PS3 exclusive status and have come out on the XBox 360 as well. One reason I can think of to explain why this happened could have been the PS3's ridiculous $600 price tag at it launch. Another reason could be that the developers saw that the 360, which had already been out for a year, already had a large installation base, and in the long run developers like Capcom, Square-Enix, and Ubisoft care more about their sales figures and not Microsoft's or Sony's.

Truthfully, I think in the future there won't be any real console exclusives outside of Nintendo, but I'll get to that later. It just makes more sense for developers to sell their products to as wide an audience as possible, and in the end that is way the PS3 lost all it's exclusives.

This isn't to say that there won't be consoles certain games will play better on. Recent memory brings up Bayonetta and Final Fantasy XIII. Bayonetta ran smoothly on the 360, while it suffered choppy lag and buggy texture rendering on the PS3, while Final Fantasy XIII runs best on the PS3. That isn't to say the 360 version of the game is buggy, but the game did have to be put into three discs and the video had to be compressed for the 360 version, while the PS3 version came on a single Blu-Ray disc and had Blu-Ray quality video.

Truth is, the only reason Sony and Microsoft have pretty much all the exclusive titles they have is because they have a contract with the developers, like Sony's deal with Insomniac and Naughty Dog, makers of the Ratchet and Clank and Uncharted series respectively, and Microsoft's deal with Epic Games, makers of the Gears of War series. Point is, these contracts end, and when they do, you may see these companies developing for both consoles.

One company you won't see developing for the PS3 any time soon, however, is Valve. Valve is an independent developer with close ties to the PC gaming market and the 360, but they have ported some games, like their successful Orange Box to the PS3. One game, however, has not made the transition to the PS3, that being the Left 4 Dead series. When asked why a PS3 version of the game hasn't been made, Valve has stated that "making games on the PS3 is just too complicated." The culprit seems to be one of the things Sony lofted as its console's ace in the hole: the Cell Processor. However, developers like Valve have found that when porting a game like Left 4 Dead that was originally made for the 360 over to the PS3 was more difficult than porting games across consoles had been in the past. I think there might be some merit to this theory, seeing as Sony has said that it won't be using the Cell Processor in the PS4.

Truth is, the only console that really has exclusives is Nintendo, and that because games like Mario and Zelda are made entirely in-house by Nintendo, and I don't think you'll see either game appearing on another console anytime soon.