Timed exclusive content seems to be something that has become more prevalent within gaming over the past few years. Basically, what timed exclusive content refers to is the action of making a new game or an upcoming #DLC exclusive to one platform for a limited time and is largely associated with consoles.
Probably, the most popular example of this is Activision’s deal, first with Microsoft and, then with Sony to release #CallofDuty DLC packs first on their respective consoles. Currently, if you’re a huge fan of Call of Duty, you would know that all new DLC is released on #PS4 first and then 30 days later on #PC and #Xbox due to the agreement Sony has with Activision.
Now, Destiny 2 Is a Timed Exclusive For PS4
The theory behind such agreements is to provide gamers with incentives to invest in a particular platform, whether through actually buying a new #console or device or just choosing to play a game on a particular platform if you own multiple.
The degree to which timed exclusive content actually affects hardware sales or software sales on a particular platform is something that I have thought about in the past quite a bit.
The news that #Destiny2, another one of #Activision’s big FPS titles, would again have timed exclusive content (even if only very minor items, such as skins) for PS4, had me pondering on this idea again, however, this time the exclusivity period will be a year as opposed to 30 days.
So, do timed exclusivity deals increase the sales of a particular brand either in terms of hardware or software?
How Timed Exclusive Content May Increase Hardware And Software Sales
There is an argument that has been put forward that timed exclusivity deals have replaced the idea of exclusives in terms of consoles. While I don’t really agree with this idea, due to the fact that if you look at the past few months, Sony still seems to be trying to pump out system selling exclusives with a vengeance, I do understand the idea behind the notion.
There are a lot of gamers out there who are heavily invested in particular franchises and genres of games. It’s hard not to think that these gamers will be affected by timed exclusivity deals and choose to invest in a particular platform because of it, particularly when such deals concern extremely popular titles, such as a title like Call of Duty.
If you take into consideration the fact that titles such Call of Duty: Ghosts and Battlefield 4 were the highest selling titles on both the PS4 and Xbox One when they were first launched, it is hard to argue with this idea.
There are a lot of casual gamers who only desire to play Call of Dutyand sports games like FIFA and Madden, and then every now and again maybe buy the latest Grand Theft Auto, and for these gamers such exclusivity deals could perhaps affect which platform they choose to buy.
Remember then also that once a person has bought a new platform, said person will probably start encouraging their friends to buy it too. Why wouldn’t their friends buy it? They know that if they do choose to purchase the platform they will already have some people to play new games with.
With this in mind, there do seem to be some benefits for console producers, such as Sony and Microsoft with regards to timed exclusivity deals, but I don’t think this is really true with every title that seems to contain such agreements.
However, an important factor to note is that when the first Destiny title was released in 2014, more copies of the game were sold on the Xbox One despite the fact that there was a timed exclusivity deal for DLC on PlayStation and more PS4s than Xbox Ones had been sold overall.
In such an instance, is it possible to say that a title had a significant impact in selling hardware? Despite the previous fact, the sales of the PS4 still rose in the week that Destiny was released despite the title selling better on the Xbox One.
Did timed exclusive content really help in this action? Perhaps.
How Timed Exclusive Content May Hurt A Title’s Sales
There is evidence, however, that timed exclusivity in terms of full games may actually be bad for the sales of the title. The activity surrounding Rise of the Tomb Raider could perhaps be taken as an example.
The title had a timed exclusivity deal that meant it would only be available on the Xbox One (and a short time later, PC) for a year before it was released on PS4 and only sold about 1.5 million copies on Xbox One and PC (most of which was made on PC), whereas the 2013 Tomb Raider reboot sold 8.5 million copies across the five platforms it was released on.
I think it’s somewhat fair to say that Rise of the Tomb Raider perhaps didn’t sell as well as Square Enix may have wanted it to and that the decision to abstain from releasing the game on the most popular console at the moment may have indeed hurt these sales figures.
A lot of gamers were also annoyed by Microsoft’s decision to engage in a timed exclusivity deal regarding a high-profile, multi-platform title and stated that they would not buy the game even when it came out for PS4 on principle.
This, perhaps, may dissuade some developers in future from making a multi-platform title a timed exclusive.
Does Timed Exclusive Content Affect Hardware And Software Sales Patterns?
Personally, I don’t think that I have ever really been affected by timed exclusivity deals. I don’t think I’ve bought a new console or game on a particular platform because of timed exclusive content, but it doesn’t mean that I haven’t taken notice of such activities or that I’m a fan of it.
Particularly with #RiseoftheTombRaider, I was disappointed with the fact that I was not going to get to play the game as when it was first announced, I only had a PS4, and I had really enjoyed the first one, but the title wasn’t really a system seller for me.
I think that’s also the ultimate factor in deciding whether timed exclusivity actually matters with regards to a specific title and whether it will increase hardware sales; the overall audience perception of a game.
Destiny, although it initially sold less copies on the PS4 and was a new IP, it was a game many people were excited for due to the promises that were made in the game’s capabilities and the fact that it’s from a genre that appeals greatly to the larger gaming public.
There is no disputing that FPS games are currently the most popular on the market.
Destiny sold PS4s and perhaps Sony is hoping now that the sequel will do that again, especially with it’s timed exclusive content deal.
While Tomb Raider is one of the most iconic #videogame franchises of all time, you can’t really say that it has the same sphere of influence as titles such as Call of Duty or Battlefield, and thus many gamers may simply decide not to buy the title if it is made a timed exclusive, not even always out of protest, but sometimes out of the fact that they forgot it even exists due to the fact that it wasn’t released on their system of choice.
Whether you like the notion of timed exclusive content or not, it does seem like it is here to stay because it does affect both hardware and software sales.
What do you think about timed exclusive content? Please share in the comments down below.