One of the most common arguments I hear from Sony fanboys recently is that Microsoft doesn’t have any exclusives. I have even had this allegation thrown at me from fellow Enthusiasts during the ‘Enthusiast Gaming Sundae’ (our weekly podcast). With last year’s holiday period still fresh in my mind, where Microsoft crushed Sony in the exclusives department, I have been valiantly fighting Xbox’s corner. So, what is the reality of the situation? Does Sony have all the exclusives? Has Microsoft got a lack of exclusive content? Let’s have a look at the actual facts and talk about it.
As they say, numbers don’t lie, so let’s see which console has the most exclusives, and it’s closer than you may think. With the help of our resident PlayStation expert, Brett, I have gone through and counted every game that is only available on either PlayStation or Xbox. I have excluded any game that didn’t get a full retail release, was a timed exclusive, standalone DLC, or a remake/remaster. The final figures show that there are 21 qualifying PlayStation games and 21 applicable Xbox games. That’s right, it’s a tie; they have exactly the same number of exclusives!
Maybe it’s the quality of the games that “sets PlayStation apart”, so let’s take a look at the Metacritic scores. PlayStation does have a bit of a lead here with an average score of 77.6 over Xbox One’s 75.7. The PS4 has the highest scoring games as well with Persona 5 and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End both scoring 93. The highest scoring Xbox One game is Forza Horizon 3 with 91. Microsoft’s console is also home to the lowest scoring game, the rather appalling Kinect Brawler, Fighter Within, with a Metacritic average of 23!
One interesting thing that was brought up by my list is that although the two consoles are close on exclusives now, they weren’t 6 months ago. If I had written this article on 12th October last year, Xbox would have crushed PlayStation. Sony would have only had 11 exclusives while Microsoft would have been the run-away winner with 19! What’s more, the Metacritic average would also have had Xbox ahead with 75 to PlayStation’s 74.
The last six months have been truly impressive for Sony, with not only a wealth of exclusives being released but a lot of them scoring well in reviews. In fact, the last five exclusives (Persona 5, MLB: The Show 17, Nier: Automata, Nioh, and Horizon Zero Dawn) all scored over 85 on Metacritic. It has been a true purple patch for PlayStation, and while this is great for owners of the system, it does suggest a major error in planning from Sony. Microsoft cannot compete with their rival over the last six months, however they have been shipping games at a regular rate during the other 36 months that the systems have been available.
This also poses a question moving forward, as if a large majority of Sony developers are releasing their games at this time, will this scheduling problem happen again. Assuming that it takes 3-4 years to develop a project, will Sony have a quiet 2018-2019? Microsoft has been able to give us at least 2 exclusives every holiday period since launch (it would be 3 if you included Rise of the Tomb Raider’s timed exclusivity). This goes to show solid planning and good use of their resources to maintain a steady stream of exclusive content. Even with Scalebound getting cancelled, it appears likely that we will still get 3 exclusives this holiday period (Forza Motorsport 7, Crackdown 3, Sea of Thieves).
As a consumer without a limitless budget for gaming, I would much prefer a steady trickle of quality exclusive content than having a flood of exclusives all at once and then nothing for months. Even though the videogame market is never stagnant as there are numerous multiplatform games being released, as well as a wealth of quality indie games, it is the exclusive titles that get fanboys from both sides buzzing with excitement.
Sony may have had a fantastic start to 2017, but no matter what their fanboys say there is no evidence to suggest that they have all the exclusives. I now own both systems as I picked up an Xbox One at launch but was waiting for the PS4 to have enough exclusives that it made it worthwhile to purchase one (handily, it also meant I could get a PS4 Pro rather than picking up a standard console and then wanting to upgrade later). I have spent far too many hours playing Horizon Zero Dawn and I enjoyed every one of them. I have also spent quite a bit of time playing Halo Wars 2 and had a great time with that. Both ecosystems have fantastic games and there really isn’t, nor will there ever be, a decisive winner for which is best. Let’s leave our arguments at the door and just all enjoy some brilliant gaming.