SCEA: “Exclusivity is something that doesn’t truly exist in this cycle”

Wednesday, 15 April 2009 14:08 GMT By Patrick Garratt


SCEA hardware marketing boss John Koller has claimed that console software “exclusivity” was a a last-gen concept, and that higher development costs have forced game-creators to become platform agnostic.

“Exclusivity is something that doesn’t truly exist in this cycle,” the exec told VG247, speaking at GDC.

“What does exist is first-party product. That’s your exclusive product.”

Koller explained that the reality of PS3 and 360 development spelled the end of Sony’s great third-party PS2 exclusives, saying that Microsoft now has “the same thing”.

“Exclusivity in the last console was a much different proposition, because developers would have smaller development costs, and they wouldn’t necessarily feel the need to advertise that across all platforms,” he said.

“At that time we had a Grand Theft Auto exclusive, we had EA Sports at the beginning of PS2, we had Final Fantasy. And then we had a tremendous line-up of first-party games, that started off with the Jak & Daxters but went to the SOCOMs.”

Koller added: “We go to the next gen and Microsoft has the same thing. So you either have your first-party line-up, or you write cheques, and you need to buy that down.”

He said in the same interview that, in his opinion, Micrsoft had a more lenient policy to paying for exclusivity than Sony.

Sony’s first-party dev effort, Koller said, was as big as Microsoft and Nintendo’s combined.


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    So you either have your first-party line-up, or you write cheques, and you need to buy that down.

    Yeah, ‘cos first party development is FREE!!!

    …or is it…?

    #1 6 years ago
  2. Blerk

    Is it too much to hope for that this guy chokes on his own froth sometime in the near future?

    #2 6 years ago
  3. Shatner

    Hmm. Another scraping of Pat’s GDC 2009 barrel and, as usual, not divulging the games media’s questions that prompted the statement.

    Come on Pat. Aren’t you getting fat from having all that cake and eating it?

    #3 6 years ago
  4. Patrick Garratt

    Steph’s question was, “How important is exclusivity to Sony?”

    #4 6 years ago
  5. Michael O'Connor

    “Steph’s question was, “How important is exclusivity to Sony?””

    Then why not state that in the piece? It’d give the story a lot more context.

    “Koller, when asked about the importance of exclusivity to Sony…”

    #5 6 years ago
  6. Patrick Garratt

    Because I feel it’s a better standalone piece without it. It’s a news story, not an interview. If I post Q&As I always include the questions.

    #6 6 years ago
  7. Captain Fruitloop

    “Exclusivity is something that doesn’t truly exist in this cycle”.

    There’s a vital piece of information the likes of Free Radical Design could have done with hearing long before now from a senior Sony exec.

    #7 6 years ago
  8. Tonka

    What I heard is that he went around the place shouting “SONY pissess all over stupid exclusivity deals” to anyone with a note pad.

    Don’t tell Shatner that though. He might take it the wrong way.

    #8 6 years ago
  9. Shatner

    Sorry Pat, you may feel that way but when it’s combined with your deliberately spaced out articles from a single interview it is impossible not to feel that the presentation of the information is orchestrated for maximum effect, not maximum information.

    Removing context is always going to detract from something, not add to it. Unless that’s the effect you’re aiming for.

    It’d be better for journalism’s pleas for more trasnparency in the industries it covers if it were to lead by example.

    #9 6 years ago
  10. Michael O'Connor

    “Because I feel it’s a better standalone piece without it. It’s a news story, not an interview. If I post Q&As I always include the questions.”

    Technically, it was an interview, but *shrugs* it’s your site I guess.

    #10 6 years ago
  11. Patrick Garratt

    Shatner – Well, news kind of lives or dies on its headlines, in my opinion. I honestly believe that by breaking quotes out in this way and delivering them as news stories, I’m reducing the barrier between the interview’s content and the reader.

    I could just as easily transcribe the entire thing, post it all with the headline “John Koller interview from GDC” and leave you all to it. I strongly suspect, though, if I did that, the following would happen:

    1 – Most of you wouldn’t read it. The whole point of VG247 is to give people an easy way to see what’s going on. There are tons of other sites that publish huge articles on games. We’re supposed to be the antidote to that. I know we have published large pieces in the past, but it’s not the norm.

    2 – VG247 would get one round of links from it. By writing out news in this way we get a lot more exposure. I have to make the content easily digestible for other sites as well as its readers. That’s part of my job in terms of increasing awareness of the VG247 brand.

    That’s it, really. You’re still going to get all the interview, just in manageable pieces that you’ll definitely read.

    To take the point to the extreme, I could just post the sound files. In fact, I did that at the EA event in London last year. I had interviews with Ray BioWare, Mythic, DICE (on two games) and tons of other stuff. VG247 didn’t get a single credit. Because no one listened to them.

    When I went back and dragged out stories from the interviews, we got links all over the place. That’s just a by-product really, though. I’d argue that by posting in this way you’re actually getting far more usability and context than if I just posted everything in one go. Which is why VG247 is the way it is :)

    #11 6 years ago
  12. dirigiblebill

    “Removing context is always going to detract from something, not add to it. Unless that’s the effect you’re aiming for.”

    And what, in your pleasantly nit-picky view, do we really lose here by eliding Steph’s question?

    #12 6 years ago
  13. Shatner

    Transparency, dirigiblebill. I said so quite clearly.

    I take it all back Pat! People clearly don’t read properly :D

    #13 6 years ago
  14. dirigiblebill

    “Context, dirigiblebill. I said so quite clearly.”

    Be specific. You’ll find it easier if you climb off your soapbox first.

    #14 6 years ago
  15. Patrick Garratt



    #15 6 years ago
  16. Shatner

    Now now DB, just because you don’t like an answer don’t sulk. My point was clearly made. If your inability to read makes you feel inadequate there’s no need to lash out at others.

    Asking the same question, will get you the same answer I’m afraid. If you want an answer more compatibile with your views you had better ask someone else or ask a different question.

    Oh, and just so you know, you look like an ant from all the way up here.

    #16 6 years ago
  17. dirigiblebill

    /kicks podium
    /upsets Shatner’s coffee mug

    I’m asking you why, in this particular instance, you think removing the question makes the article misleading. I agree that decontextualising material is a problematic process in general.

    Pat, have you thought of posting interview transcripts in full after you’ve dragged a few news stories out of them? Might rupture the VG247 ethos a tad, but you wouldn’t run the risk of unwittingly distorting your material. Perhaps you could create a discreet subsection for full-length articles?

    #17 6 years ago
  18. Stephany Nunneley

    No one is allowed to post a sound file of me talking, ever. I put my foot down on that one ;-)

    #18 6 years ago
  19. No_PUDding

    Christ…. Bit of news from eitehr of the HD console manufacturers and the shit hits the fan, inevitably.

    #19 6 years ago
  20. TimClark

    I don’t think pulling a sexy quote out of an interview and making it a news piece is an issue. But isn’t the problem that if you keep doing it for weeks on end, there’s a chance of giving the impression that your interviewee is constantly spouting off, an impression that’d only be exacerbated by aggregator links, copy/paste merchants and retweeting on Twitter etc. Mentioning the ‘same interview’ in the linkage at the end of the piece helps, I guess, but it could be clearer about when/where the content is coming from. ‘When we spoke to him at GDC or somesuch’. Just an observation rather than a criticism (and also aware we publish interviews weeks after the fact).

    #20 6 years ago
  21. deftangel

    Personally speaking, I like the fact that when I visit VG247, I get short digestible pieces of information/”news” that isn’t full of itself, like, Kotaku. Combine that with a general ability to catch *everything* means I only have to scan this site to make sure I’m not missing anything of interest. If I want more detail or depth then there are other sites in my RSS reader that’ll have it.

    I wouldn’t want this approach to change. If I want context on something, I’ll look at another source and add it myself. At least Pat’s been honest about why he has the site set up that way, which is fair enough. There are plenty of other gaming “news” sites that don’t know what context actually means.

    Gaming executives don’t just give interviews to every games media site that wants one, a lot of the time they do the interview because it’s to their benefit as well. If Mr Koller wasn’t already looking to gob off about how great their first party entourage is then he wouldn’t have said anything. If you go back in time though, they’ve been saying the same thing for a couple of years. I’d believe they might call it being “on message”.

    #21 6 years ago
  22. No_PUDding

    Pffft, Pat don’t listen. Elitist print journalists.

    #22 6 years ago
  23. dirigiblebill

    Good observation, TC.

    #23 6 years ago
  24. Patrick Garratt

    Tim – Yeah, I’m aware of the “fatigue” issue. It’s a fine line, really. I personally believe I’m amazingly good at walking it, but that’s just me :D

    The story is tagged GDC, but I guess it should be clear where and when he said what he said. Where, when, what, etc.

    #24 6 years ago
  25. Shatner

    You mean transparency Pat?

    Yeah. That’d be a good idea!

    #25 6 years ago
  26. Patrick Garratt

    And that’s me out :)

    #26 6 years ago
  27. TheTwelve

    I like this site because it’s much more news than opinion. Think I’ll stick around.


    #27 6 years ago
  28. No_PUDding

    I do miss a good opinion. We don’t have enough forums and nameless sods like myself poisoning the text-space.

    #28 6 years ago
  29. deftangel

    So what is it Shatner that you no longer view as being crystal clear?

    #29 6 years ago
  30. Shatner


    You know, obvious questions really show who has been paying attention so far. :)

    #30 6 years ago
  31. Mike

    I rather surprisingly agree with Pat.

    #31 6 years ago
  32. deftangel

    Well the context is a question asked to the bloke in an interview at GDC. His response was along similar lines to what they’ve said for the last couple of years regarding Sony’s first party resources vs their competitors.

    What more context do you need?

    #32 6 years ago
  33. Shatner

    GOTO #9

    Stop asking questions that are already answered dear boy.

    Also, whilst things my now appear clear AFTER the fact, without any initial transparency there is no way of knowing.

    Given the frequency and fondness for journalism to warp details and twist context in order to sell copy at the expense of clarity and accuracy I’m not in the habit of blindly swallowing down a one-sided delivery of anything. Sorry that a request for balance and clarity irks you so!

    #33 6 years ago
  34. Truk

    We live in a world where “retweeting” can be used without anyone batting an eyelid. Who cares.

    #34 6 years ago
  35. dirigiblebill

    “Sorry that you seem put out to hear what BOTH people are saying in a conversation. Perhaps you favour a more one-sided view of things.”

    The problem, oh Archbishop of Games Journalism, is that you’re refusing to look at the particular (what was that word again?) “context” under discussion here. Here, let thy humble acolyte leap to thine assistance:

    Q: “How important is exclusivity to Sony?”

    A: “Exclusivity is something that doesn’t truly exist in this cycle,” the exec told VG247. “What does exist is first-party product. That’s your exclusive product.” etc

    Now cover the first part with your hand, and tell us where the distortion occurs.

    I’m not disagreeing with the broad thrust of your point, but I think your sanctimonious initial response was a bit unwarranted, basically. Nor am I totally convinced that you aren’t just looking for an excuse to wave your saintly willy around (but then this is the internet – who isn’t?)

    The fact that the article doesn’t make it 100% clear when/where the interview was conducted is more of a problem, but that was never your original quibble, was it?

    PS. For somebody so indignant at the media’s “warping” and “twisting” of fact, you seem to have few qualms about surreptitiously editing your own posts. Takes one to know one? ;)

    #35 6 years ago
  36. deftangel

    If there was no way of knowing, then how did we get here? Perhaps on all these other less “one-sided” sites there would be no need to have a comments section where we can frequently dialogue with the editor not only to clarify something about the article posted but garner an understanding of why they are presented as they are.

    If that isn’t to your preference, perhaps there is another site that is? On the other hand, as long as we have you around to keep things in check, we have no reason to worry. :D

    I asked you specifically if you needed more context, which you answered in the negative in #33..not #9. Try to keep up.

    #36 6 years ago

    People are somewhat naïve if they can’t even get a grasp of the obvious ways of competitive journalism.

    Anyone who doesn’t view stories such as this, on websites such as this, with a certain degree of cynicism strikes me as being someone who is ignorant of the basics of the entire modern news media.

    #37 6 years ago
  38. bytemap

    Wow the comments was like a great news article. Great Read :D

    #38 6 years ago
  39. Shatner

    deft, the only way of knowing the context is if we are told it. Which we, the reader, were not. This was not by accident as Pat has explained.

    However, in the ABSENCE of information it is impossible to know what the context is. I prefer working with information rather than scampering off, making up some guesswork, presenting it as fact and then swearing at someone who challenges it.

    If those who expect us to treat them as a credible source of information deliberately orchestrate a situation where information is BOTH drip-fed AND has limited transparency then that credibility is compromised and there is no great injustice in saying so (as some eager drama queens should take note). This is even more pronounced when the reasons for such manipulation of information is for competitive gain – to serve the author, not the reader.

    Every story has more than one side. If you don’t want to hear whatever those other sides are then you’re favouring convenient ignorance and apathy. Only AFTER you know the information can you determine its worth. What you’re trying to argue is that the information was worthless so there was no point to it. You are arguing the example, not the principle.

    Also, just because a poor practice is common place doesn’t make it any better or any more acceptable. If you think it does then you should sit at the back of the bus.

    #39 6 years ago
  40. Shatner

    I’d also add that the question DOES change the context of the answer to a degree.

    The article reads as though someone, unprompted, is making a statement about the industry as a whole. It underlines this sentiment by linking to other statements (most likely prompted by different questions but, when there’s no context, you can mix and match and get away with it for the most part) from the same person selectively quoting a choice excerpt at the discretion of the author.

    Yet, now we have been told it, the question asked is clearly directed about the company the individual represents.

    Now, let’s say you’re an excitable fanboy of an opposing company’s products. You may read the article (or more than likely skim-read it) and see an unprompted attack on your favoured company’s direction by an exec of a competing company. Excitable fanboy that you are, rattles off a bit of internet angst and, before you know it, those fires are re-fuelled and the war burns on!

    But if it is made clear that a statement was a response to a question then the whole ‘unprompted’ misinterpretation by some readers will be negated. Likewise, we may see less of people saying “I wish this guy would quit saying this again and again. Doesn’t he know when to shut up?”. As TimClark in #20 suggests, this sort of response could be the result of the way a statement is broadcast piecemeal than how it was actually said in the first place.

    Of course, there is still a massive issue with readers that interpret a statement saying something positive about Brand X is the same as a statement saying something negative about Brand Y. I could say I like Pixar animations. But someone would read that as me saying “Dreamworks animations suck!” and react accordingly.

    What *should* be happening is greater transparency to increase understanding. Not more ambiguity and manipulation of information. But that’s not going to sell a juicy headline is it?

    #40 6 years ago
  41. Michael O'Connor

    He doesn’t care, Shatner.

    What exactly do you expect? That Pat is going to “see the errors of his ways” if you prattle on about it enough?

    #41 6 years ago
  42. Psychotext

    i like read am site

    #42 6 years ago
  43. Shatner

    I’m wearing him down. Bit by bit!

    He dreams about me you know. I’m there. In his mind. Oh yes. ;)

    #43 6 years ago
  44. Seraphemz

    Damn.. what world are we in where Michael and Shatner have joined forces…

    #44 6 years ago
  45. Gekidami

    Its indeed true that alot of the games media word articles so that we get the impression PR people are just attacking the other companies for no reason, maybe its meant to be obvious that they were asked a question and are just responding, reading through the comments section dosnt really reflect that though.

    #45 6 years ago
  46. dirigiblebill

    “The article reads as though someone, unprompted, is making a statement about the industry as a whole. It underlines this sentiment by linking to other statements (most likely prompted by different questions but, when there’s no context, you can mix and match and get away with it for the most part) from the same person selectively quoting a choice excerpt at the discretion of the author.”

    This is a fair though not unimpeachable point, and had you argued as such in your first few comments rather than resorting to generalisations I wouldn’t have flipped out to quite the above royally theatrical degree :)

    I don’t think the absence of a question implies the absence of a questioner, but I concede that it does make Koller appear to be the active party at a glance, and the linked statements do indeed play up the article’s controversy potential. (I’d add that the delayed publication of the piece runs the risk of its being interpreted as a response to more recent events – increased publicity surrounding FFXIII, for instance). Even where there’s no real intention to deceive, these are occupational hazards on a short-piece-driven site which also conducts (presumably) lengthy interviews – concision for punchiness’s sake leads to misrepresentation. Which is why I think some kind of VG247 sub-section containing full transcripts of “native” interviews would be a good idea. It shouldn’t require much extra work – just a basic archive without images would do – and would probably boost traffic. News articles published before the arrival of the complete piece could include a sentence or two along the lines of “stay tuned for the full interview later in the week”.

    #46 6 years ago
  47. theevilaires

    G1GAHURTZ said:People are somewhat naïve if they can’t even get a grasp of the obvious ways of competitive journalism.

    Anyone who doesn’t view stories such as this, on websites such as this, with a certain degree of cynicism strikes me as being someone who is ignorant of the basics of the entire modern news media.

    10 points to you sir :-)

    Seraphemz said:Damn.. what world are we in where Michael and Shatner have joined forces…

    and 20 points for you sir :P

    #47 6 years ago
  48. Seraphemz

    Thanks Evil…

    I cant wait for the post were microsoft said that they have “done the job we needed to do in North America” ….I wonder how Michael and Shat agree on that comment.

    #48 6 years ago

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