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E3: FFXIII goes multiplatform: reaction

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We’re livid, about FFXIII on the 360. Bloody livid! Actually, we’re only slightly bothered by yesterday’s announcement at the Microsoft conference, as third-party exclusives are pretty hard to justify in this day and age. Final Fantasy XIII’s unseen budget is likely to be astronomical, and releasing it as a multiformat title may be the only way to recoup those costs.There’s no denying that Microsoft has done well, in securing the game for the 360. The shift in the Japanese market, which has seen home consoles snubbed in favour of handhelds, has no doubt played into Microsoft’s hands. MGS4’s Japanese sales figures weren’t exactly overwhelming, upon release (it’s been outsold by Monster Hunter 2G), and Final Fantasy XIII will only have a similar impact on the market– this wouldn’t have been enough, for Square Enix.For the time being, Japan’s interest in the PS3 is limited. Hovering only a little over 10,000 a week in hardware sales, Square Enix could be concerned that FFXIII would only have a flash-in-the-pan effect on PS3 take up, as seen with MGS4.By bringing the game to the 360 in the west, there’s a greater guarantee of success. In the US, it’s hard to deny that more 360 users will snap up the title over PS3 owners; we’ve seen it happen this year, with long-time PlayStation-exclusive franchise Devil May Cry, so a title of FFXIII’s magnitude is likely to experience a similar effect.

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For PS3 owners, though, it must feel a little irritating, particularly for users who have picked up the console in anticipation of the title– such loyalty isn’t beyond Final Fantasy fans. In the past, Final Fantasy’s main installments were never billed as multiformat games in the run-up to release, so investing £300 in a PS3 would’ve seemed like a good idea, several months ago. Now, a console that costs a mere £150 will give gamers the same game.It leaves Sony with a rather steep task, for their E3 conference: they have to prove why titles under their umbrella are more appealing than Microsoft’s, but also that they’re self-sufficient enough to survive without the aid of Final Fantasy XIII exclusivity.Or any other kind, for that matter.




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