So through the midst of articles and speculations, there’s some rumours that a number of Xbox exclusives, Halo included, may be going third party. Whether that’s Phil Spencer’s ominous tweet announcing a business update on the future of Xbox or the 343 Industries job listing that has surfaced emphasising ‘experience for all players, on all platforms’ for its new Halo game… it’s pretty vague but Halo could be coming to PlayStation. Shock! Horror! Everybody panic! What kind of alternate timeline is this?!
Again, all of this should be taken with a good grain of salt, rumours are rumours after all right? ‘All platforms’ could simply be putting an emphasis on a PC port, with the idea of exclusivity just being an assumed prerequisite as it’s an Xbox game.
However, with Xbox’s recent first party track record they are not looking too strong at the moment. Well, nobody is really besides Nintendo, giving these rumours potentially even more credibility. What I think we should be more interested in however isn’t the possibility of it happening per say, but the repercussions of whether it did happen…
I think why people are getting upset about this, particularly about Halo going third party, is due to its intrinsic identity within the Xbox branding. The Master Chief going to PC? By all means, still technically Xbox as Windows is Microsoft. But PlayStation? No way! That’s considered heresy of the highest order! And don’t get me wrong I get it, I adore the franchise and I get when you have something that you hold close and have a passion for it can be hard to share it for fear of it being meddled with, critiqued or not thoroughly appreciated.
But at the end of the day, if it’s a franchise you like so much, then wouldn’t you want everyone to enjoy it? To experience the vistas of Alpha Halo, bunker down in the streets of New Mombasa, or stand tall as Reach’s last defence… There’s a whole world here that people haven’t been able to explore simply due to the matter of exclusivity.
I think this brings us to the bigger problem of exclusives in general, as a concept in the first place. Initially a way to support a platform and help it stand out against competitors, it seems archaic at this point to still have. Nintendo, however, have proven this to be a very successful strategy for as long as the company has been around, bolstering strong IPs that continue to be incredibly successful, whilst also being only on their platforms – ensuring people are within the Nintendo ecosystem.
So, I don’t blame Xbox or PlayStation from trying to adopt this strategy at all. And as a positive, if a game is exclusive then more work and attention is put on the games themselves, shortening production cycles or making use of the extra time they have spare by making everything as best as it possibly can be.
Perhaps if Xbox plans to make specific major IPs third party, especially ones as big as Halo, then Phil Spencer might be able to negotiate exclusives such as The Last Of Us and God Of War to be ported over to Xbox? Who knows, anything would be possible at that point! Here’s to hoping, see you on the battlefield Spartan.
By reader V
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