Nobody likes to wait.

People cough up money without thinking twice to get an item shipped overnight. In our world, it’s “I want it now,” rather than “I’ll just wait.” With the choice between now or later, many will put out a pretty penny to have it this moment, instead of running the risk of missing out or not being the first.

Console exclusive games are hardly foreign – Sony and Microsoft obviously have their first party studios that produce their own games to persuade you to buy their system. But timed exclusivity is a whole other demon that gamers must deal with when deciding where to put the few dollars we sometimes find ourselves with. A game arrives first on one console, weeks or months before it makes its way to other systems (looking at you, Lara Croft). But most recently, it’s moved beyond just games. Downloadable content, expansions, and whole portions of gameplay have become available on a single system for an extended period of time before they arrive on another.


If you get bothered by seeing a title arrive on one particular console first, you may not like where this is going. Timed exclusive games and DLC are only going to get bigger as this generation continues. AAA games continue to become more expensive to produce, and we are seeing fewer and fewer of them being released successfully. Sony and Microsoft must do everything in their power to differentiate themselves from another to get you to buy their system and this has overflowed into the third party sector. First party titles are no longer enough to differentiate between the two boxes, so a multitude of deals with third party companies has created an industry full of exclusive missions, downloadable content, and “ultimate experiences” you can only get on one console.

While Lara Croft may currently be leading the charge of timed exclusive games, she’s not the only culprit. Destiny had a slew of content that was part of PlayStation’s “Play it First” campaign. On their systems, exclusive content was marketed that would be available only on PlayStation through fall of 2015. In a title like Destiny, getting content first could make a huge difference in how you play and succeed throughout the game. Activision wins because they get the extra marketing. Sony wins because more (but not all) players will gravitate towards buying Destiny on the PS4. The only loser in this scenario are the gamers who are left missing out on this content for up to a whole year.

More recently, DLC for last year’s Dragon Age: Inquisition launched first on Xbox and PC, a whole two months before coming to Sony platforms. When content such as this finally does release on other platforms, it fails to have the significant splash or appeal that it did when originally released.

Looking back, this increased amount of timed exclusive content and games became written in the stars for this generation when Microsoft took back their original vision for the Xbox One, removed the Kinect, and met Sony’s price level. Since that day, the PS4 and Xbox One have lost most of the things that make the systems different and have been relatively the same boxes of hardware that play a great amount of the same games. To get you to pick a side, each company now must fight feverishly to differentiate themselves from each other, and as of right now, the thing that Microsoft and Sony are battling the most over, is time.

  • Nynja

    Nice observation, just a few decades late. Timed exclusives have always been around. The exclusive time frames are shorter these days. The shift seems to be in timed exclusive DLC.

  • Nynja

    Btw…your mobile page blows. Ads covering comments…

    • Sorry you are having issues Nynja. It works fine for me so I’m not sure if the issue has either been resolved or there was just some random bug. Either way, should be good to go now.

  • Dirty Sanchez

    What a dumb article.Do you remember when final fantasy 7 or Metal Gear Solid were exclusives for ps1? Cause when i was kid i played the previous games on Nintendo first.No, the reason you see this is because Sony is broke and they don’t have enough money to afford big exclusives They can however afford the cheap timed exclusives which works on their favor.So timed exclusives do work and has been working for years.

    • What are you talking about? What timed exclusive has Sony had recently? Microsoft is the one with Rise of the Tomb Raider being a timed exclusive. And what does the first point you made have anything to do…with anything? You just said Sony had exclusives on PS1 and now you say they have no exclusives? And Nintendo is thrown randomly in there? I’m sorry “Dirty Sanchez” but before you call another one of my senior editor’s articles dumb, back your claim or whatever that was with evidence and correct grammar.

      • Alana Fearnall

        Sony has the timed exclusive of No Man’s Sky coming up. Which, IMO, is going to be a way bigger game then any Tomb Raider that’ll come out in the near future.
        Also, Davis, seriously disappointed that you told someone to use correct grammar before they try and post an argument. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

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