Exclusives ‘ethics’ discussion

Alanah Pearce has followed up her original reaction video to MS buying Bethesda with a new one where she puts forward a detailed argument about exclusives and why they are bad apart from in certain circumstances.

To be clear I don’t want to make this about attacking people in the media or their views and opinions. I do want this discussion because this sort of opinion is something that has been irritating me for quite some time.

To layout her well articulated argument in short form and hopefully not misrepresent it she argues… Exclusives generally bad. Believes in accessibility for all gamers. Calls out Spider-Man Avengers as example of bad practice… BUT business does need exclusives for obvious reasons. Exclusives can drive up quality of games - particularly from Sony and to an extent Nintendo and therefore they do serve a function for gamers. Bethesda is different because they are usually cross platform. MS are less aggressive on exclusives than Sony so it’s a discussion to have. Sony would buy Bethesda and all games would be exclusive, so there’d be no discussion.

I think those are the main arguments. My problem with this is that it’s a circular argument where the end result is that Xbox can’t ever have exclusives and always must have people saying it needs more. But Sony can do what it wants because whilst they may sometimes go too far their exclusives are used to drive up quality.

Now whilst I take the argument about differing circumstances any big move to grow a stable of devs will mean buying devs that make cross platform titles. So Xbox doing anything to improve their exclusives stable in the mid term would be in this sort of ball park. And the ultimate extension of this argument is that Xbox shouldn’t be allowed their own stable of games. And shouldn’t be allowed to try and build a quality set of titles and lineups.

I personally believe all this is a product of herd mentality and following numbers. If you in effect Sony are aggressive but MS can’t be you are legitimately saying one company can behave differently to another yet escape any critique.

For me that’s not a good place for us to be in. Yes I do agree Bethesda is a different circumstance but if you accept had Sony bought them they’d just lock everything to their platform I find it really hard to justify criticism if MS DID do that.

Any thoughts - not sure I’ve expressed this one well…


I think for the most part she’a right and i dont see the discussion as anti-MS as most do. This is the first time a publisher with long running multi-platform IP has been purchased like this. I don’t think you can easily compare that to a purchase of a studio or locking away content.

That said, i believe the games will be exclusive and there is a fair bit of denial. I also belive that is okay. There are people that this sucks for and they are our peers, not our enemies. It’s kinda weird to me that we are the ones acting victimized when the other side is the one that just lost access to like 40+ games next generation.


I think the unique situation part is fair. Where I start to think this doesn’t make sense is once you argue that Sony if they bought any publisher would definitely make everything exclusive because that’s what they do so there’d be no discussion. And trying to sort of explain that away with - Sony have quality so it’s ok.


Agreed, that doesn’t make sense. I didn’t really get that from the video but it is also 4am here and I’m still in bed lol.

Her point on that topic is that exclusivity forces sony to make higher-quality games (because these are tied to their brand, and long-term sustainability of PS). But it is said as a point for celebrating if MS decides to make bethesda games exclusive: we can expect an increase on their quality.

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You can argue differently that the danger of exclusives from Sony is that they have no diversity because they don’t want to make niche games or things that aren’t huge sellers or pushers of hardware.

Xbox have and will in my view use ‘exclusives’ to create a varied and diverse library for gamepass.

My worry is many of these arguments reinforce this sort of view that only AAA 3rd person narrative style games matter. They do but are just one genre and we need to ensure people understand that a live art should not overepresent them.


Sounds resonable to me then. In the end, the quality comes down to time, talent, and investment. I’m not sure therw is a direct correlation between that and being exclusive though, see Rockstar and CDPR.

1st Party Games should fully leverage the platform they are designed for and sell users on said platform. That is their purpose, and there’s nothing wrong with that.


It’s not anti-MS, it’s pro-Sony. She admits that if Sony did this, nobody would ask if the games would be exclusive. She also didn’t seem to would be having a problem with that. She wouldn’t seem to be concerned about Xbox-only gamers.

She goes on a mini-rant about the importance of exclusives and framed the entire rant about Playstation and how they are important to Playstation. She then went right back to feigning concern for the the poor Playstation-only gamer and how “this is different”.

Was it “different” when Sony paid Capcom to keep Street Fighter V off of Xbox even though the FGC had SFIV tournaments exclusively on XBOX360 for years? Nope.

And the final insult was pretending to care how MS would get a return on investment by keeping their games “only” on Xbox, PC & mobile. The bottom line is, the Sony-centric media feels the “wrong” company bought Bethesda and feel a certain way about a great stable of Bethesda games not being available on the console they favor, the Playstation.


It’s exactly what she’s saying. Sony can be aggressive and have exclusives because that’s their nature. But Xbox can’t have exclusives because…reasons. And since they don’t have exclusives, their platform is “lesser than” Sony, which is why I prefer Sony. Everything is an argument to favor Sony. I don’t even think she realizes she’s making that circular “logical” argument.


Also why they have this discussion right now. Why they didn’t have concerns over Sony buying Insomniac back in the day. Full hypocrisy. Xbox can’t win with them. Waste of time.

The soon they come to terms with it the better it will be for their sanity.

As for me I just sit back and enjoy the meltdowns. Xbox deserved a bit of glory, and it’s just the start. The fanboys anger might grow who knows, not good for heart apparently.


Also, if she’s SO concerned about the poor Sony-only gamer that can only afford one console missing out on Bethesda games, why didn’t she mention Xbox All-Access? MS made a program SPECIFICALLY FOR gamers that struggle with affordability. $25 a month of Xbox Series S + GamePass Ultimate and you can play all the Bethesda games you want on Day 1. Perfect solution. Not a single mention of that is surprising when she claims to be so “concerned” for them.

  1. I really like Alanah. She’s become one of my favorite commentators and I always dig her contribution to KFXcast.

  2. Just don’t agree here. Rant engage: Everyone seems to be doing mental gymnastics to raise issues about Xbox exclusives that get accepted as a matter of course when it comes to PlayStation. I’ve been buying multiple consoles for generation after generation to play the games I wanted to play. It’s just the way it is. Want to play The Last of Us? Buy a PlayStation. Can’t afford multiple consoles? Too bad I guess? Choose which one fits your tastes better and go without the other. That’s always just been the answer. Buy the console or go without. But now that it’s “I prefer PS but Xbox has more desirable exclusives” instead of the other way around, suddenly we’ve got to reevaluate the ethics of exclusive games. Nah.


The mental gymnastics just to throw shade at Xbox

images (2) caveman-spongebob-spongegar

“Bu…bu…but Minecraft is on PS5!”


It’s funny because Microsoft is the only console manufacturer who is committed to putting their games onto PC on day one, in fact the PC platform has games that are yet to make their way to console lol. Even though Sony is now dipping their toes into the PC platform it is not day and date, so why is no one going onto Sony about it, or Nintendo for that matter.

What people don’t like to admit is that a game produced by Microsoft will reach a wider audience than a game from Sony or Nintendo.


Xbox Game Pass + xCloud is probably the easiest and cheapest way to game so the whole people who can’t afford to buy 2 consoles or whatever seems silly to me.

Also what about if someone wants to play Spiderman but they can only afford a Xbox, I don’t hear people championing for those people. I guess it’s only the low income PS users that people care about, the low income Xbox users just have to deal with it…


I wouldn’t even say its Pro-Sony. She uses the Sony example to discuss first party exclusives… which makes sense because they really knocked it out of the park in that regard.

Im really struggling to see how so many people can watch this video and walk away with a negative message.


The entire video is about being pro-Sony. She freely admits that if Sony bought Bethesda, she wouldn’t even be discussing this. She wouldn’t make a video expressing “concern” for poor Xbox-only gamers. She ADMITS this. She then does the mini-rant where she talks about how important exclusives are to Sony. Then goes BACK to why Bethesda being exclusive to Xbox is bad.

It’s a negative message because the message is ONLY for MS. She’s pretending that “all exclusives are bad” which she obviously doesn’t. She seems to love Sony exclusives. She seems to have a problem with Xbox exclusives because “Microsoft is different”. Meaning Microsoft SHOULD be different.

So Xbox sucks because it doesn’t have the exclusives Sony has. But Xbox SHOULDN’T have exclusives because “Microsoft is different” and "won’t someone think of the poor Sony-only players?!

IT’s the same Sony-centric bullshit as always.


Her pro-exclusive talk was primarily about first party and touches on the benefit of exclusives. She claims to have complained about other exclusivity deals in the past, though I haven’t followed her long enough to be sure.

Anyway, all I see is someone discussing the pros and cons of exclusives, using Sony as an example of the pro.

Alanah is not pro Sony or anti Xbox. That’s why I wanted this discussion. Because she’s raising a commonly heard argument and it’s one that I find a little hard to swallow. Generally gaming media in my view behave like Sony should be allowed to do whatever they like and behave however without criticism. But Xbox have to be perfect and if they dare take games away from Sony it’s terribly unfair. As someone primarily on Xbox I haven’t seen the outcry over Deathloop. A game I wanted to play. Why aren’t the media all over that and criticising Sony? Yet MS stump up a huge amount for Bethesda and suddenly it’s all about how Sony can have exclusives because they are special but it’s not really fair to take stuff off them.

I’m fairly ambivalent about whether these games come to PS5 or not but when I read and see this stuff it does make me wish that Xbox PR would tackle some of the hypocrisy and inconsistencies in how these things are viewed.