Wonder why Final Fantasy XIII will be a multi-platform release? It could have something to do with the fact that a UK retailer has predicted the Xbox 360 version will outsell its PS3 counterpart two-to-one.
Exclusivity is a funny thing when it comes to videogames and their fans. No one thinks anything of a long-running series being on its traditional platform - God of War is on PlayStation and Mario on Nintendo (because they're first-party titles, but I digress) - but the moment you announce that a game will be jumping ship and going multiplatform, a thousand Chicken Littles jump out of the woodwork to proclaim that the sky, she's a-falling.
That's how it felt when it was revealed that Final Fantasy XIII would be coming out on Xbox 360 after a decade of Sony PlayStation exclusivity from the main games in the franchise (not counting FF11). Xbox 360 fans crowed in delight, PS3 fans cursed Sony's name, and Square-Enix fans who owned both consoles really couldn't have possibly cared less. But though the PS3 version might be the "native" version of the game (and it's hard to argue otherwise), it seems that some people are predicting the Xbox 360 version will sell more copies.
Discount UK game retailer MyVoucherCodes.co.uk is predicting that the Xbox 360 version of FF13 could outsell its PS3 counterpart by a margin of two-to-one, based on its site traffic. The prediction comes from trends the site has seen in searches for the games in question, where interest for the Xbox Final Fantasy is trending roughly twice as high as for the PS3 one. The site's data also suggests that FF13 could be the most highly-anticipated game of the year, with 250,000 searches made for the Xbox 360 version and 120,000 for the PS3 version in February alone.
"The Final Fantasy series has always been a huge draw for Sony, since its debut on the PlayStation in the form of Final Fantasy VII," said managing director Mark Pearson. "For Microsoft to now be sharing and in fact beating the interest for the PS3 version must be worrying Sony chiefs, who must be wondering just how to steal the march back, if it is at all possible. Our Christmas sales data showed that Xbox 360s were outselling PS3s three-to-one in the holiday period, a fact which seems to be presenting itself here as consumers show more interest in the Xbox 360 title."
In all fairness to Mr. Pearson, I'm actually fairly sure that the Xbox 360 did not outsell the PS3 three-to-one over the holiday season - at least, not here in the US (I don't know about the UK, but it sounds unlikely there too). So while this is some interesting food for thought, and completely throwing out the MyVoucherCodes data would be a mistake, I don't think it's a good idea to start putting your money down with bookies just yet.