Monday, February 22, 2010

Exclusive Contracts in Games

John Marine | 2/22/2010 08:52:00 PM | |
The premise of exclusive contracts in gaming upsets me at times. They are good because a company feels happiest working with a certain deal rather than having someone else do it. It means that only a certain game company can deliver something better than other people ever will. However, if a game isn't all that good or if the game company just isn't all that good, fans will become almost monopolized. Part of the gaming industry (let alone any other) is competition. The majority of exclusive contracts in video games usually pertains to sports games (racing/driving games count as sports games).

--- Positives to Exclusive Contracts ---
The positives of exclusive contracts in games is that one company (and only one company) can deliver gaming experiences better than any other. It means someone loves your product so much that only you can create games the representing companies can be proud of. It means that only your company can make the most satisfying experience even if some other company makes their own product.

--- Negatives to Exclusive Contracts ---
The negative to exclusive contracts is that you're basically being stingy in preventing other companies from making their own products, causing certain games to not be as good or have to consider other alternatives. In the case of racing games, some companies can't include certain car companies. Think of all the people who bitched (yes, I said it) about Gran Turismo 4 not nearly having car companies most discriminating racing gamers care about (like in the Forza Motorsport games).

--- What Competition? ---
NOTE: This section contains links to YouTube videos. Performance of this blog may slow down based on your Internet connection. Click on the links below the embedded YouTube videos to go straight to the YouTube video rather than stay on my blog to see them.

Let's take a look at competition. Some games are better than big-name titles, and some others aren't as good. I tried to find the best videos that don't have some blaring loud rock songs I don't like. Let's take a look at different companies utilizing certain licenses:

NFL Games.
I'll stick with a certain year here. Madden NFL 2005 vs. ESPN NFL 2K5:

Madden NFL 2005:

Madden NFL 2005 sample


ESPN NFL 2K5 (includes gameplay footage)

NBA Games.
Now some more modern titles! This is a battle of NBA Live 09 and NBA 2K9:

NBA Live 09 (LAC at LAL)

NBA 2K9 (DEN at PHX)

College Football.
I'm again being consistent with games based in a certain time. So since the NCAA 2K game was way back when, I'm being consistent and include NCAA Football 2002.

NCAA Football 2002

NCAA 2K2: The Road to the Rose Bowl

College Basketball.
To be consistent- NCAA March Madness 08 vs. College Hoops 2K8:

NCAA March Madness 08

College Hoops 2K8

How do you feel about exclusive contracts in games? Feel free to read and comment!
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