Whatever Microsoft paid for Titanfall exclusivity, it was worth it

Whatever Microsoft paid for Titanfall exclusivity, it was worth it

Anyone who is skeptical about the power of Titanfall to move hardware has not played the game.

It’s recently been announced that Microsoft has locked down the game as an exclusive. Not a timed exclusive, but an all-the-way exclusive. This game belongs to the Xbox One, Xbox 360, and the PC, forever and ever. “In the case of Titanfall, it's a brand new [intellectual property], and it's exclusive only, through the life of the title, for Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PC,” Black Jorgensen, CFO of Electronic Arts, said yesterday.

“Yes, @Titanfallgame game is exclusive. No, not a timed exclusive. It will only be available on Xbox One, Xbox 360 & PC,” Microsoft’s Major Nelson confirmed via Tweet. Vince Zampella of Respawn, it turns out, may not be quite as enthusiastic about this turn of events, but this is the risk you run when you sign with a big publisher: They’re going to go where the money is, and Microsoft was likely willing to write a very big check to lock this game down to its systems.

You need only look at the advertising for the Xbox One to see how important Titanfall will be for the Xbox One, and the game’s release in March will give the system a healthy boost when the launch library begins to look a little stale. Microsoft wasn’t interested in purchasing an exclusive as much as they wanted the largest possible boot to place squarely on Sony’s neck.

If you doubt the size of Titanfall as that boot, once again, you haven’t played it.

The power of Respawn

This is why I originally wrote the story to talk about my time with the game, because so many people were focused on the game’s visuals and not on how well the game played. There are few games that offer the fluidity of movement that you’ll feel when playing Titanfall, and almost nothing else looks this good.

During events it’s hard to play Titanfall and then go back to other games, because everything else begins to feel slow and old. Titanfall has the peculiar ability to suddenly make everything else feel like a last-generation product.

It’s also hard to overestimate the amount of buzz and respect the game has already earned in the development community, and to give a sense of this I’m going to tell a story that may get me in a touch of trouble. I very lightly abused my all-access pass during the last PAX to try to sneak in a quick round of Titanfall before the show floor opened. The thinking was that I could play a few rounds against the development team and write up a quick story before the line go out of hand.

It’s almost funny to look back at how naïve that was.

There was already a long line by the time I arrived at the booth, and remember that this was before the show floor had opened to the general public, and there was no press access during that day. The line was made up entirely of other developers and professionals wanting to check out what all the excitement was about.

So Microsoft paid what has to be a great deal of money to lock down Titanfall for its systems, and I can see why that may anger people who aren’t interested in paying for an Xbox One, but that’s kind of the point. This is about giving Microsoft systems a selling point, sure, but it’s also about depriving the company’s competition for an amazing game.

You may not like it, but this is war, and that was money well spent.