Overall, platform exclusivity is not a good thing for gamers. It can be a good thing for platform holders, of course.
In principle, it's great for games to be as widely available to as many potential players as possible. Releasing across formats helps that. Of course, it comes with other complications – multiformat releasing are technically far more challenging for developers – but in an ideal world, where this is handled correctly, it's a win-win.
So why did Xbox boss Phil Spencer face hostility on Twitter yesterday when it was announced that Quantum Break would release on PC at the same time it arrives on Xbox One?
Lots of arguments were presented, but the ones that attracted the most attention online were these:
The argument here is that Microsoft should have consulted with fans before making a business decision, and that by making the game available to PC players, Xbox One players are in some way harmed.
Which seems ridiculous on both counts, as Spencer very politely pointed out:
Although the debate continued:
That wasn't the end of it for Spencer, either:
Whether Microsoft is right to release some of its Xbox One exclusives on PC is a valid debate, however. With the console lagging so far behind PS4, a stronger slate of exclusive games can only help sales.
On the other hand, Xbox One sales are outpacing the wildly successful Xbox 360. PS4 sales, in that context, are beside the point. And why not make the most of its Microsoft Games Studios by making its titles available to a wider audience? After all, are PC versions of these games really likely to eat in to Xbox One sales?
And is this not precisely the thing that Nintendo has for years been urged to do – release its top quality in-house releases from the confines of its own struggling hardware?