Think that this generation marks the end of the Exclusive Era? Think again. Take-Two CEO Ben Feder thinks that there are still advantages to publishing exclusive titles mid-console cycle.
Speaking with Gamespot, Feder said that the publisher was grooming the upcoming PS3-exclusive Agent – in development by Rockstar North – to be for the PS3 what the studio’s landmark Grand Theft Auto titles were for the PS2.
“We think this has the potential to be yet another great Rockstar North franchise title. … It’s the Houser Brothers and Rockstar North. It’s the A team working on an AAA title. I think the subject matter, the characters, the story, the environment, the background–all the elements are there. It’s such a rich environment to play in,” said Feder.
Feder went on to explain the decision to make Agent exclusive for Sony’s console, a choice that flies in the face of current trends. In the middle of a global economic downturn, sales are everything, and going exclusive limits the potential audience. To make matters worse, the PS3 is in last place worldwide by a fairly healthy margin, trailing competitor Microsoft by 22 million units sold to 30 million Xbox 360s – especially in the West, the traditional market for GTA style games.
That was something that Take-Two was well aware of, said Feder. “The trade-offs a publisher will typically make is, if you’re platform-agnostic, you get a larger installed base.” However, going exclusive has benefits of its own: “You’re platform exclusive when you get the right kind of support from first parties.”
With Sony’s support, Feder thinks that Agent could be a worthy followup to last generation’s tremendously popular Grand Theft Auto trilogy: Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, all of which were initially PS2 exclusives, and all three of which went on to become some of the best selling games of all time: “At this phase in the cycle, when you’re trying to launch a new franchise, exclusivity can really help you launch the franchise. It can give you the kind of platform that you need to start exclusive, start in the right kind of way with the right kind of partner. Exclusivity does work.”
Nor does Sony’s last-place standing bother him – Feder thinks there’s plenty of time left in the race for Sony to scramble back to the lead. “I have a lot of confidence in Sony. I have a lot of confidence in their ability to lead the market, as they always have,” he said. “Their console is a terrific platform to be developing for, and Agent is a great testament as to our belief in what that platform can do, and what they can do with us as part of a partnership.”
(Via Edge Online)