What do you feel about Todd Howard’s thoughts on exclusivity? Does he make a good point? Or is he missing the “bigger picture”? Let us know below!
One of the biggest arguments that many gamers and developers get involved in is the discussion of console exclusivity. The general premise behind exclusivity is simple: it keeps certain games and franchises on specific systems so that they can have a “unique title” compared to other systems. In contrast, when a game is multiplatform, the game dev team has to attempt to ensure that everything works on every single system it’s on, which can be very stressful. The Starfield release on Xbox and PC is a hot topic issue given Microsoft’s buyout of Bethesda, but Todd Howard is looking toward the positive side of things.
In a chat with BBC, Todd Howard brought up the exclusivity “issue” and revealed his opinion on why things are sometimes better because they’re “rooted’ in one system versus multiple. For example, with his newest title, he said:
“When you’re making something exclusive then the more you can focus. You know this is the hardware or the thing people are playing on, so the ability to focus on that always yields a better product. You do want people to be able to access it of course. But being with Xbox means there is an ease of access for us and I’m told we’re expecting more people playing this launch than anything we’ve ever done before and that’s despite the success of our previous games.”
Sure, some of that could be seen as “corporate speak,” but it’s also true that Starfield has already gotten two million players via early access. Not to mention, the title is on Xbox Game Pass, which will open it up to even more players should they not want to buy the game in full.
The issue of exclusivity has pros and cons on both sides. Nintendo, for example, is known for its exclusivity, and they’ve benefitted from that because they kept their vast library of IPs to themselves. So much so that with the Nintendo Switch, just about every 1st party title has been a serious hit because Nintendo put their all into them. Even Todd Howard admitted that “when you think of Zelda, you think of Nintendo,” which is true.
Plus, as other people within Xbox have noted, when you only have to make a game for one system, you can do better to ensure quality by having multiple QA runs, which is harder to do when you have to playtest potentially four or more different versions of a title.