No Man’s Sky
No Man’s Sky has had a tumultuous life so far. It started out as a PlayStation 4 exclusive, but that may have been the root of its issues. Often shown off as a headline title at E3 and other big shows, the game looked like a epic open world adventure, full of action and things to do. It seemed like a much broader experience than it turned out to be, and that could have been down to how Sony marketed it as a tentpole exclusive.
Last month, however, No Man’s Sky finally came to Xbox One, alongside the game-changing NEXT update. The update added multiplayer and more content to the game that made it a more entertaining experience. It’s a different game now, and is much closer to what people initially hoped.
The first NieR game initially released for both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, albeit under different subtitles, and it had mediocre reviews. Expectations were much higher, however, for the Platinum Games developed follow-up. Those expectations were justified when the excellent NieR: Automata finally released on PlayStation 4 in March 2017. It may have been overshadowed for many by Horizon Zero Dawn and the Nintendo Switch, both of which released within a week of it, but it garnered plenty of praise. It stayed exclusive to Sony’s system for more than a year, coming to the Xbox One on June 26, 2018.
Crash Bandicoot: N’Sane Trilogy
Crash Bandicoot has always been a character who is associated with PlayStation. He has been one of Sony’s mascots since the PlayStation 1 days, but it’s been a while since Crash has been exclusive with Sony’s consoles.
The N’Sane Trilogy remake came to PlayStation 4 first, launching in June 2017, but it came to Xbox One and Switch almost exactly one year later. Since Activision still own the rights to Crash, it was always likely to make its way to other consoles at some point, but it doesn’t make it any less strange seeing Super Mario Odyssey, Sonic Mania, and the N’Sane Trilogy lined up next to each other on your shelf of Switch games.
Dead Rising 4
The history of the mainline Dead Rising series is pretty complicated. The first game launched exclusively on Xbox 360, while the second game came to Microsoft’s console and the PlayStation 3 at the same time. Both games have since come to the two current-gen home consoles as remasters. Dead Rising 3, however, saw the series return to being a Xbox exclusive once more.
The messaging around the most recent game’s reveal wasn’t so clear, though. Much like how the exclusivity has worked for other games on the Xbox One, Dead Rising 4 released in December 2016 as a platform exclusive, before coming to PlayStation 4 in the same month in 2017. How it will work for any subsequent games in series, we don’t know. But it’ll probably be complicated.
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice will likely be the last of Ninja Theory’s games to come to a PlayStation platform before anything else. It launched on PC and PS4 in August 2017, before coming to Xbox One in April of this year. However, Microsoft revealed at E3 that they had acquired the studio as part of their initiative to bolster their exclusives library. Therefore, it is likely that any potential sequel or follow up from Ninja Theory will buck this trend and come to Sony’s system’s second, if at all. It looks and sounds fantastic on Xbox One X, too, so it’s great to know that whatever comes next will be playable there.
With Limbo being one of the most popular and widely available indie games of the last ten years, Microsoft did incredibly well to have Inside launch on Xbox One as a platform exclusive. However, much like some of its other ‘exclusives’, it wasn’t clear exactly how long it’d stay exclusive for. Well, not very long was the answer. The Xbox One version released on June 29, 2016 and it came to PlayStation 4 on Aug. 23, less than two months later. Of course, the initial launch sales would have been a boost, but that was a very short exclusivity window. It also recently came to Nintendo Switch, too.
Gone Home turned five this month, and it reminded us how much of a surprise it was when it originally came to PC. With Fullbright inevitably wanting to capitalise on the game’s success, it wasn’t much of a shock that Microsoft wanted to tie the studio’s next game down as an exclusive.
Tacoma was that game and it came to Xbox One and PC in August 2017. Much like Gone Home, it was a story-driven exploration game, this time set on an abandoned space station. Both Fullbright and Microsoft were tight-lipped on the exact terms of Tacoma’s exclusivity, with it not being entirely clear when or if it would come to PlayStation 4. It did finally release on Sony’s console, however, just under a year later, in May of 2018.
Braid, the game Jonathan Blow made before The Witness, was initially exclusive to the Xbox 360 and was a star of the system’s Xbox Live Arcade program. Blow, however, wasn’t always in agreement with Microsoft’s wishes or their certification process. It wasn’t a complete surprise, then, to see The Witness launch on PC and PS4 only. The excellent puzzle game had a troubled development, filled with long periods of silence and delays. It eventually came to PlayStation 4 in January of 2016, before the Xbox One version released that September.
Rise of the Tomb Raider
After selling one million copies after just 48 hours on the market, the 2013 reboot still didn’t meet expectations, according to Square Enix themselves. That had nothing to do with the game’s quality however, as it proved to be a return to form for Lara Croft’s adventures. In an attempt to build on the reboot’s quality, make it more popular, and add to Microsoft’s lacklustre exclusives lineup, Crystal Dynamics were signed up to make the sequel exclusively for Xbox One.
The mixed-messaging that surrounded Rise of the Tomb Raider when it was revealed at E3 2014, with no one giving a definitive answer on to what degree it was exclusive, frustrated some fans. Eventually, shortly after the game was buried by other releases in the fall of 2015, it was confirmed to be a one-year exclusivity deal, and the game came to PlayStation 4 the next October, complete with a PSVR component. The third game in the series, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, will release on the two consoles at the same time later in 2018.
Releasing as a PlayStation Plus free game in the summer of 2015, Rocket League got its big break on PlayStation 4. As a game with a simple premise and deep gameplay, it garnered many fans of different abilities, and became a hit on the system. Now with a popular esports league, some incredible players, and constant updates, it’s still one of the most popular games around. It came to Xbox One the following February and Nintendo Switch in late 2017, introducing a whole host of new players to the car soccer game. It’s still going strong now, even three years after its initial release.