Exclusivity has always been the dominant dividing force in the video games industry. We’ve seen those at PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo and PC camps fight it out against each other for decades now, fighting to determine who has the best exclusive games on their platforms. First-party exclusive games have always been a thing, though and many people have come to terms with that after years of fighting. Xbox has established franchises like Halo, Forza and Gears while PlayStation has some amazing single-player experiences like Uncharted, God of War and The Last of Us. At the end, it all comes down to personal preference. However, one new thing that we have started to see pop around the industry is this ‘unfamiliar’ concept of third party exclusivity.
Call of Duty, without any doubt, is one of the biggest video game franchises of all time. Whether it is on PC, PlayStation, or Xbox, the Call of Duty series has always been at the forefront of third-party multiplayer shooter experiences. While the series has recently had a not-so-good run of games during the past few years, the popularity of the franchise is still far from diminishing. All platforms have played their respective roles in bringing Call of Duty to the top over the years. However, recently, we’ve started to see a shift in the tide.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is Getting a Free Early Access Weekend Exclusively for PS4
At Gamescom 2019, it was announced that PlayStation 4 players will be getting a free early access to the Alpha build of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. The Alpha test features the new 2v2 multiplayer mode called Gunfight along with five different maps. It will start on August 23 and will run through until August 25. It is completely free for all PS4 players and you won’t even require a PS Plus subscriptions to play it. That’s nice, right? Well, yes, but only for those who own a PlayStation 4.
But, what about everyone else? Yeah, you guessed it, they aren’t getting anything. Activision has decided to snub the PC and Xbox players for this exclusivity deal with Sony and people are clearly not happy.
People raise their pitchforks at Activision after Alpha announcement
Just minutes after the announcement was made, people were quick to respond on twitter and express their disappointment and anger.
The anger is somewhat justified though as it is an early test to check server capacity and stability. So, if all platforms aren’t actually added into the mix for the test, how will Activision ensure that the game runs smoothly across all platforms at launch? This guy sums it up pretty well.
Yay. I cant wait for Xbox to not get one and when the game launches the servers are trash because we couldn’t test the game to see how the servers would handle the players! 😅👏🏼 Love being FUCKED because I choose to play anything other than PlayStation.
— Travis (@Derlexium) August 19, 2019
There are also many who are accusing Activision of having double standards. The company has been pretty vocal about promoting cross play and industry inclusiveness so it is pretty weird to see them pull something like this off.
On the other side, however, PlayStation 4 players are being really smug and are boasting about the whole thing. To be fair though, in that position, who wouldn’t?
I can hear fanboys on other platforms crying already. Glad to be a PS4 owner 💙 & a PS fan 👌
— R-DXB991 (@SilverMania2) August 19, 2019
Is Exclusivity Toxic for Gaming?
One question that does come to mind though, is that, are these exclusivity deals promoting toxicity among the gaming community? Do they hurt the industry as a whole or is there anything good about them as well? Well, the issue isn’t really black and white. Exclusivity has always been a major part of the video game industry. It is one of the biggest driving forces for competition among different platforms. If PS4 didn’t come out with such great exclusive games this generation, Microsoft would not have spent so much money on buying first party studios for Xbox to prepare for the next generation. Exclusivity is why we have so many great games on different platforms.
While it is a shame that not everyone has access to them, it indirectly does make the games on your platforms better as well as companies try to one-up each other to get the greater market share. We also had the Epic Games store vs Steam battle a few months ago. People hated what Epic Games Store was doing with exclusivity on PC games. However, Steam had been getting away with mediocrity for far too long and that really gave Valve a wake-up call which, in the end, is a win for us, the consumer.
This Call of Duty saga is slightly different though as the game will be out on all platforms on the same day. Alpha tests can be conducted randomly on different platforms and that is totally fine. We’re probably going to get an all-platform beta test sometime in the future anyway. However, timed exclusivity for a game that will be out on all platforms is still not okay and does seem to hurt the sentiments of the community a lot. Sadly, we are in a corporate world and companies will always make corporate decisions and agreements to one-up the opposition. As far as the anger and toxicity is concerned though, the gaming community has been fighting about which platform is superior ever since video games were invented. This is just human nature. Conflict has existed since the beginning and it shall continue for many millennia.