Chances are if you are a gamer then you are familiar with the term “exclusive”. And as a gamer, you no doubt took into careful consideration what games were exclusives to what gaming console you intended to buy. Take for example, Rise of the Tomb Raider, the next installment in the newly re-imagined Lara Croft series. Recently, a Facebook post by Xbox Australia stated the Rise of the Tomb Raider is no longer a timed exclusive but a full exclusive. Later on Twitter, Microsoft’s head of Xbox division Phil Spencer corrected that Rise of the Tomb Raider was still only a timed exclusive for Xbox One.
What the term timed exclusive would seem to imply is that the game will be released initially on its chosen console for a period of time then later released on another platform. With a new generation of consoles on the market, still early in their expected life-span the question of which console will have what yet-to-be released next gen game is especially important.
Take for example the highly anticipated independent open-universe game No Man’s Sky which is officially set to be a timed exclusive on the Playstation 4. If you own an Xbox One you may be especially curious what exactly the “timed” in “timed exclusive” means with regards to No Man’s Sky just like PS4 owners are wondering the same thing about Rise of the Tomb Raider.
In a recent Inner Circle podcast, the Director of Xbox’s independent publishing program Chris Charla stated that Microsoft would want the popular Indie title on Xbox One. Perhaps one problem Xbox One might have that could prevent an independent game like No Man’s Sky from becoming available to Microsoft is the parity clause, which as it turns out is also exclusive to Xbox One. Microsoft’s parity clause requires downloadable independent games to be released on Xbox at the same time as a release on another system, such as PC or PS4.
So for a game like No Man’s Sky, which has already confirmed that it will release on PS4 first, it would seem that possibly the biggest obstacle to its arrival on Xbox One is Xbox’s own policies. However, in the Inner Circle podcast Charla explains Microsoft is willing to discuss possibilities personally with developers and encourages independent developers not to avoid Microsoft because of the parity clause but instead reach out to them to talk about it.