Is the Sony/Destiny Relationship Bad For Gaming?

Once upon a time, video game exclusives were a simple concept. Either a game was available for more than one console or it wasn’t. It was hardly a perfect concept but at least everyone knew the score.

Now…well, now things are slightly more complicated.

Now, a game can be available for more than one console, but feature content that is exclusive to certain consoles or exclusive for a time. Gamers who purchased Resident Evil 7 for PlayStation 4 were able to access the game’s DLC add-ons weeks before Xbox and PC owners, for instance.

This concept has created some tension among console owners. In a way, the idea of timed exclusive content or content that is exclusive to certain games based on which console you own is more annoying than a game simply being exclusive. You used to be able to buy a console knowing that certain franchises were simply going to only be available for certain consoles. These days, you kind of have to be able to predict which of your favorite games might receive exclusive content.

As strange as this new approach to exclusive content usually is, the relationship between Sony and Destiny thus far has been downright bizarre.

If you owned Destiny on the PlayStation 4, you got to enjoy exclusive content, an earlier beta, timed release exclusives, and the chance to buy a pretty sweet Destiny-themed PlayStation 4. If you didn’t know any better, you might think that Destiny and the upcoming Destiny 2 are PlayStation 4 exclusives.

That seems to be the point. Sony wants you to believe that the only way to truly experience Destiny is to play it on the PlayStation 4. They even go so far as to prevent commercials in certain markets from even stating that Destiny is available for the Xbox. That’s quite the low blow when you consider that Destiny was almost an Xbox exclusive years ago.

Now, if you own a PlayStation 4 and love Destiny, you’re probably not bothered by any of this. Sony invests more money into Destiny, so why shouldn’t they receive favorable treatment? Besides, it’s more content for you.

What’s scary is the precedent this relationship sets. It’s easy to imagine a future where there are very few true exclusives due to the increasing expense of developing video games, but Microsoft and Sony still spend money to curry the favor of third-party publishers and convince them to hold back certain content.

This creates an ethical dilemma. At what point do developers begin holding significant pieces of content hostage until ransom demands are met? The Sony/Destiny relationship represents the most extreme example of this tactic that we’ve seen thus far, but does anyone believe that this tactic will not become more popular as time goes on?

There was a time when exclusives were just that. Exclusive. If the Sony/Destiny relationship is any indication, there may come a day when every game is exclusive and no game is exclusive. Meanwhile, console owners everywhere are left hoping they won’t end up with too many inferior versions of games on their shelves.

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Matthew Byrd

Matthew Byrd

Matthew Byrd covers the gaming industry including indies, consoles, PCs, iOS and Android apps, as well as topics related to entertainment and technology. He also writes for IndieGameSource and DenOfGeek, and has his own blog at PixelCritique.com.

13 Replies to “Is the Sony/Destiny Relationship Bad For Gaming?”

  1. Demonsrage666 says:

    Mr Byrd. While you made a failed attempt to be completely accurate with video game history, please let me remind you that:

    1- Microsoft heavily relied last gen on receiving content first with games such as Call of Duty and many others. MS may have done it more last gen and this gen than Sony ever has with all their gens.

    2- MS actually achieved in paying a company for an actual entire year of exclusivity, ie, Rise of the Tomb Raider.

    3- Sony actually financed Bungie to make or help create the development of Destiny and in no way made the game an exclusive or received expansions a month earlier than MS. Sony only recieved a couple of weapons, maps and strikes for a year of exclusivity instead of an entire game.

    So while it would be great that you get your facts straight and be truthful as well as take into consideration that Sony and Destiny are really not starting a trend to be concerned with because MS already did.

    Sounds like you’re blaming one for another’s crime…

    1. Demonsrage666 says:

      Made error/typo, not create Destiny but finance to finish the development of.

  2. Barry Harden says:

    Article writer Matthew Byrd: What a way to shoot yourself in the foot!

    lmao

    You obviously didn’t dig deep into the history of Micro$oft’s exclusivity deals during the Xb360 era.

  3. John Moore says:

    Matthew Byrd, as a professional journalist do you not recall the many years of Microsoft having Call of Duty exclusivity rights ? This is not something that is new to gaming. I don’t condone it, yet Sony isn’t to blame as stated in your article. Perhaps dig a little deeper and offer fair examples instead of singling out one company.

    1. Matthew Byrd says:

      Not just Call of Duty, but GTA IV content as well. Not to mention that the Division’s first two expansions were exclusive to Xbox One for a month after their release.

      The reason that Sony is highlighted is because of the relevance of the Destiny situation and just how invested into Destiny Sony is. As stated in the article, they’ve even gone so far as to prevent Destiny from being advertised for Xbox in certain markets (https://www.polygon.com/2014/9/6/6114041/destiny-perfume-fragrance-xbox-uk-spoof).

      If you’re trying to turn this into a console war, you’re missing the point. The point isn’t whether or not Sony and Microsoft (who are referenced in this article) will continue to do this. They will. The concern is whether or not developers are going to make it a rule to auction off content prior to the release of every title.

  4. Not giving you says:

    I think a better question is are Sony and Destiny bad for gaming in general.

  5. GEonWAR says:

    Lol whta? Have you forgot abt Rise of Tomb Raider? or you are new in gaming journalism, do your research buddy.

  6. Rob says:

    Microsoft started this kind of marketing.
    You probably forgot about many EA multiplatform titles.
    Sony is good for gaming. ( Indi, psvr)
    MS is not.
    Do your research. You forgot about DRM and making AAA multiplatform titles exclusives (tom braider.aka paying gamemakers to make games less available instead of paying them to make more)

    1. Capitaldream says:

      Umm Microsoft did not started this, $ony did with gta and final fantasy series.

  7. mike jones says:

    of course it is bad for gaming….but microsoft started the war sony cant be blamed

    1. Apron says:

      Are u kidding me? This was happening long before ms and Sony bud.

    2. Not giving you says:

      I know right? Sony can’t be blamed.

      Just like I can’t be blamed for raping this girl on the street because I am hardly the first one to rape a girl on the street.

      1. mike jones says:

        or you could like….live in reality and make a comparison that makes sense…whichever

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