So GAF, what do you think about these deals? Is there a line when it comes to what is and is not appropriate to purchase exclusive rights for? Who has the better strategy? Is Sony too aggressive? Is MSFT too passive?
1) I have no problem with exclusives. If a game I want to play isn't on the console I bought then I'll look into buying the console that the game is on.
2) No line. When Microsoft made Tomb Raider exclusive to Xbox -- after the game was announced for multiple platforms -- I didn't lose sleep. Business is business. I ended up not playing the game because I had no interest in buying an Xbox, and when the game eventually came to PS4, I had lost interest in it.
3) The best strategy for a portfolio of games, on a console, is for the platformholder to have a healthy combination of first-party and third-party games. With that in mind, Sony has and continues to have the best portfolio of games. There was a time (early PS3 years) where the PlayStation first-party and third-party situation was abysmal. Thankfully guys like Andrew House, Jack Tretton, and Shuhei Yoshida invested in both first-party and third-party support for PlayStation. They (Sony) went from having the weakest games library on console to having the strongest games library on console.
4) Sony are nowhere near aggressive and Microsoft are nowhere near passive. The former makes billions each year through PlayStation and the latter just announced 22 console launch exclusives; even after lying and saying they weren't fans of exclusives. If Sony were to actually open up their wallet -- the same one that has billions added to it every year -- in an 'aggressive' way, the 'console war' would end overnight. The reason Microsoft is perceived as being passive is because their exclusives aren't as high-profile (yet) as Sony's exclusives. Spider-Man and Final Fantasy are bigger deals than S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and a game about vacuuming feces.
I think if the rumors are true and Sony is securing even more exclusives than ever before then Microsoft are going to have to invest more into Xbox. While Xbox profits are a joke compared to what Office and Azure are doing, if they (Microsoft) want to grow the Xbox business then they need to go after the big stuff like Sony is rumored to be doing. Nothing's going to change for them if the PlayStation ecosystem continues to have the best games on the market.
Timed exclusives suck. I've never purchased or felt more inclined to purchase a specific console because of a timed exclusive and even though I'm aware they are probably effective, to me they just feel like wasted money that could have gone towards making a new game instead of ensuring a game I'd get to play anyway doesn't release on another systems.
Content exclusives usually suck too. The only instance in which I like it is when it's something minor (mostly cosmetic) related to the specific platform. Like if, I don't know, Avengers had an exclusive Master Chief inspired skin for Iron man on Xbox and a Kratos inspired skin for Thor on Playstation that'd be fun I guess. But taking away significant amounts of playable content from every version of the game except one sucks.
Real full exclusives are fine. Games Sony/MS/Nintendo have straight up funded or developed themselves specifically for their own platform are great and usually do have a rather large impact on my purchasing decisions.