In an interview with Gamasutra, Shane Kim spoke about Hideo Kojima's Metal Gear Solid coming to the Xbox 360 with Metal Gear Solid: Rising. He feels that the title puts Microsoft and Sony on the same page when it comes to third-party titles.
"I still think exclusive content is really important. First of all, in games, we've said for a long time that a key part of our strategy with Xbox 360 was a level third-party playing field. Now we've effectively done that with Metal Gear Solid coming to the Xbox 360."
Wait, even? Sure, Metal Gear was one of the few remaining franchises to snag from a third-party publisher, but I would have called it even at Final Fantasy XIII, Resident Evil 5, and Tekken 6. Actually, I'd put Microsoft ahead with those titles as MS keeps snagging exclusive DLC like the Grand Theft Auto IV episodes and (until recently) the Fallout 3 DLC.
Sony is even announcing multiplatform games (Final Fantasy XIV) as "only on PlayStation 3" even though no exclusivity deal is in place and Square Enix is still considering the Xbox 360. Hey, at least the PSP gets Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker, which Hideo Kojima is writing and directing.
Mr. Kim goes on to discuss Xbox Live and how he feels that Live should be counted when discussing exclusive content.
"But I also think we have to broaden our definition of exclusive content now. It has to include things like Xbox Live, because I do think Xbox Live is a real competitive differentiator for us."
I have to agree. It's a bit weird to discuss Live's superiority on a day when it's down for maintenance, but it really is a better service than PSN. Yes, it costs an "appalling" $4 a month, but the experience is worth the cost in my opinion. Feel free to debate me in the comments section, but let's keep it civil.
In general, I think most third-party publishers will look to supporting as many consoles as economically feasible. Shane Kim humbly agrees with me:
"The economics are such that third parties also have to support multiple platforms, and you can't ignore Xbox 360. It's the second leading platform.
It's too much of a business-driver to just be focused on a single platform if you're not a first party. So, it's up to the first parties to deliver the bulk of the exclusive game content."
Or maybe I agree with him? The chronology is a little fuzzy. In any case, multiplatform games are a good thing as it means more games for more people. Exclusives are classically positioned as system-sellers, but Sony seems to be having some issues with this as well, looking at the sales numbers for Killzone 2 and inFAMOUS (at least in the US). There's always God of War III, right?