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Reason 1: Developers Need a Larger Market Share
Back in the early days of gaming, exclusives were definitely an important thing. Looking back to the early generation in the nineties, the Mario versus Sonic debate was probably one of the biggest questions on the playground. Logistically this makes a whole lot of sense because the market was so much smaller than it is today. You only had two real main competitors vying for your cash, and the only people really taking the time to play these titles were the ones that really knew what they were talking about. If we look at where we are today, not only is there an additional third member to the party, but you also have a market that has become much larger and commercialized to an unprecedented level.
In case you don’t see where I’m headed, it might help to think about this from a market perspective. Why in the world would a developer waste their time and millions of dollars on a game that will only reach one third of the overall consumer base at its very best. It really just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to do that, and you can see developers realizing this with games like Rayman Legends. The title was meant to be a Wii U exclusive, but now other major consoles will be getting a taste too. For the most part, the only reason you have other studios other than the main company making exclusive titles is either because Microsoft or Sony bought them entirely or they struck some kind of amazing deal with royalties that work in their favor. When you have a huge base of consumers to sell to, why not sell to all of them instead of banking on just a few?
Apps also have a large impact on systems too. Can that reduce the need for exclusivity?