Exclusives are nothing new to the game industry, but recent years have seen developers and publishers opting for time-limited exclusivity contracts: A title – or even extra content – starts out on only one system, but eventually moves to all platforms. When Titanfall showed up with only Xbox 360, Xbox One and PC versions announce, everyone assumed the PlayStation 4 version would show up in time.
According to recent press, however, the first game from Respawn Entertainment – made up largely of veteran Call of Duty developers from Infinity Ward – will bring it’s high-octane mech-driven action to Microsoft platforms only, forever and always. The developer cites Microsoft’s cloud and dedicated server support as essential to having the game run correctly.
According to Jon Shiring, an engineer for the developer, ““Microsoft realized that player-hosted servers are actually holding back online gaming and that this is something that they could help solve, and ran full-speed with this idea. So they built this powerful system to let us create all sorts of tasks that they will run for us, and it can scale up and down automatically as players come and go.”
This news is a potential game-changer as we approach the launch of each new console, considering the pedigree that Respawn carries. The gameplay footage for Titanfall is arguably the most unique thing to emerge from the ever-growing sea of first-person shooters in recent years. I’ll readily admit that Titanfall holds my interest considerably more than even Bungie’s Destiny, based on what we’ve seen so far.
Personally, I think there was probably also a substantial amount of money involved, techno-babble aside. I agree that Microsoft offers the better option as far as online multiplayer support; “free” games help ease the cost of PlayStation Plus, but they don’t counter Xbox Live’s superiority in letting people play together. While we’ve already seen the footage of “Halo 5,” I think Microsoft understands that they need a franchise that is decidedly Next-Gen; Xbox One needed its Halo: Combat Evolved or Gears of War to set the stage.
Here’s hoping Titanfall delivers come March 14.
UPDATE: Both Respawn and EA have attempted to clarify statements from yesterday, and have possibly succeeded in making it all more convoluted. The main point that seems to keep coming up is that the exclusivity does NOT apply to all future Titanfall titles, as was widely reported; it is only the current title that is guaranteed to Microsoft. This definitely changes things down the line, but doesn’t influence the fact that Microsoft has secured a key piece in swaying people about what console to buy over the next six months.