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Is this the end for Aspyr ?


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#21 Jan

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Posted 30 September 2008 - 01:49 AM

View PostTesseract, on September 29th 2008, 10:34 PM, said:

Since Aspyr virtually was Mac Gaming for a while there, is this this month's Mac Gaming is Dying™ thread?

Good you mention it. Otherwise I would have missed this month's issue.
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#22 Janichsan

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Posted 02 October 2008 - 01:04 AM

It appears that Aspyr does have another Mac title in the pipeline: Guitar Hero Aerosmith - which I have to admit is yet another Aspyr port this year I'm not interested in (Guitar Hero has to be played on consoles on a TV!).

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#23 Jan

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Posted 02 October 2008 - 05:17 AM

Guitar Hero is the new The Sims.
Another succesful franchise to milk with countless add-ons.

I highly doubt Aspyr will do The Sims 3 for Mac.
EA might use cider again for a hybrid PC/Mac release.
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#24 The Liberator

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Posted 02 October 2008 - 06:56 AM

View PostJanichsan, on October 2nd 2008, 05:04 PM, said:

It appears that Aspyr does have another Mac title in the pipeline: Guitar Hero Aerosmith - which I have to admit is yet another Aspyr port this year I'm not interested in (Guitar Hero has to be played on consoles on a TV!).
I completely agree, there are just some games you cannot play on computer, also like fighting games, it just doesn't feel right.

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#25 gbafan

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Posted 03 October 2008 - 11:46 AM

View Postteflon, on September 28th 2008, 03:24 PM, said:

Well, in that case, boycott the online store, dont boycott the actual company.
If they see that the online store isnt getting any sales, then they will either shut it down/not put any more games on it, or theyll modify it so that its more attractive (cheaper and/or less DRM).

Thats the only way to affect this situation, as simply not buying their games will just make them leave this market completely, at which point everyone and their monkey loses.
Aspyr has pretty much done this to themselves.  They don't update their titles anymore.  They are several Sims 2 expansions behind, Civ IV is no longer supported, they release CoD4 with an old patch, etc, etc.  Their support for games like The Sims 2 is horrid. Paraphrasing: "Apple released new hardware and broke our games.  Sorry, but you'll have to buy the latest Sims 2 expansion if you want a 'patch'" ~ Signed Aspyr support.

Seriously, what is that nonsense?  I have stacks and stacks of Aspyr games.  No longer.  After the complete slap in the face DRM Store, I'm done with them.  Feral and MacSoft or bust.  Aspyr appears to be in trouble and the first thing to go is support.  Do we have another MacPlay on our hands, that's the question...
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#26 The Liberator

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Posted 04 October 2008 - 03:57 AM

View Postgbafan, on October 4th 2008, 03:46 AM, said:

Aspyr has pretty much done this to themselves.  They don't update their titles anymore.  They are several Sims 2 expansions behind, Civ IV is no longer supported, they release CoD4 with an old patch, etc, etc.  Their support for games like The Sims 2 is horrid. Paraphrasing: "Apple released new hardware and broke our games.  Sorry, but you'll have to buy the latest Sims 2 expansion if you want a 'patch'" ~ Signed Aspyr support.

…Aspyr appears to be in trouble and the first thing to go is support.  Do we have another MacPlay on our hands, that's the question...
Do you also think that Apsyr is dying because of their technical support and other factors? I do not believe that is the case, just some other explainable thing happening here.


View Postgbafan, on October 4th 2008, 03:46 AM, said:

…Feral and MacSoft or bust
Are you saying that Feral is bust? From what I know, they are very much live, ask Ed [Feral developer].

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#27 bobbob

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Posted 04 October 2008 - 04:01 AM

View PostLiberator HD 1, on October 4th 2008, 02:57 AM, said:

Are you saying that Feral is bust?
No, he's saying 'Save us Feral and MacSoft, you're our only hopes!'

#28 Eric5h5

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Posted 04 October 2008 - 04:34 AM

He's using the saying "____ or bust".  i.e., you either make your goal (fill in the blank) or lose everything.  Try this Google search to see a bunch of examples.

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#29 The Liberator

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Posted 04 October 2008 - 06:35 AM

Oh, okay. Well that makes a lot more sense.

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#30 J'nathus

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Posted 04 October 2008 - 08:54 AM

View Postgbafan, on October 3rd 2008, 01:46 PM, said:

Aspyr has pretty much done this to themselves.  They don't update their titles anymore.  They are several Sims 2 expansions behind, Civ IV is no longer supported, they release CoD4 with an old patch, etc, etc.  Their support for games like The Sims 2 is horrid. Paraphrasing: "Apple released new hardware and broke our games.  Sorry, but you'll have to buy the latest Sims 2 expansion if you want a 'patch'" ~ Signed Aspyr support.


Does this speak of the lack of sustainability of the PC gaming market trickling over into the porting market for Mac gaming?  It looks like the knee jerk reaction the PC gaming marking is taking by using DRM to 'in theory' protect against piracy is now going to infect Mac game digital downloads.  Also, games are end-of-life-ing a bit earlier due to The Jobs' predilection to change the Mac OS in ways that breaks legacy apps . . .  a crime Microsoft usually doesn't commit. To wit, I have games from the Windows 98 era that still run fine in Vista. I'm not saying Vista is a better alternative, but I do chafe a bit under some of Apple's changes where the focus seems to ignore some of the more ardent enthusiasts.  It was the enthusiasts / gamers that made Microsoft backpedal on the Vista activation limitations, but where Apple is concerned, it's The Jobs way or the highway.

#31 bobbob

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Posted 04 October 2008 - 06:08 PM

View PostJ, on October 4th 2008, 07:54 AM, said:

lack of sustainability of the PC gaming market
Blizzard, Valve, Stardock, casual games, etc. are not sustainable? There's a ton of money in the marketplace, the barrier to entry is lower, the development hardware and tools are cheaper and better, etc. This is quite the loaded question.

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trickling over into the porting market for Mac gaming?
The Mac market has always been dead, just as the PC market has always been dying.

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Apple's changes where the focus seems to ignore some of the more ardent enthusiasts
The neck-beard market is rapidly dwarfed by Apple's growth of new customers, i.e. new enthusiasts. We're just not important in any kind of financial sense whether you're Apple or Aspyr, so it's not really Apple's fault. MS doesn't have as much growth, and they're the incumbant, so they're 'stuck' catering to everyone. Obviously, from a technical standpoint, drastic changes could have been made while keeping compatibility, but the effort is beyond Apple. They also see a benefit from killing off the stragglers, with flighty 'fashionable' developers being worth more than slower behemoths in terms of mindshare.

#32 J'nathus

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Posted 04 October 2008 - 08:10 PM

View Postbobbob, on October 4th 2008, 08:08 PM, said:

Blizzard, Valve, Stardock, casual games, etc. are not sustainable? There's a ton of money in the marketplace, the barrier to entry is lower, the development hardware and tools are cheaper and better, etc. This is quite the loaded question.
I've seen this argument before, and I've heard it said that the barrier to entry is MORE difficult, not less because of how far a game has to go in order to achieve success and how quickly a game is deemed a total loss. As you mentioned the Microsoft incumbent, so too, are those above-mentioned developers (for the most part).  It's a long road to becoming one of those, and even promising startups like Crytek haven't seen the continued success that the aforementioned have.  Let's face it, none of those will be the bastion of PC gaming forever.  There has to be new blood.

The variety of PC games at the more hardcore level has dwindled drastically in the 12 years I've called myself a PC gamer.  Sales also seem to be favoring the consoles lately . . . so much so, I almost wonder how companies justify doing Mac ports at all.  It is my totally uninformed opinion that there is simply some love for the Mac platform there.

I know games aren't really all that important to The Jobs, which is why I don't think I'll ever have just an Apple machine, as my gaming obsession lacks the patience for Apple ports or the lower-end graphics they tend to put in their machines.

#33 bobbob

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Posted 04 October 2008 - 08:52 PM

View PostJ, on October 4th 2008, 07:10 PM, said:

the barrier to entry is MORE difficult, not less because of how far a game has to go in order to achieve success and how quickly a game is deemed a total loss
Steam, like the iPhone App Store, is notable for making it much easier to market, sell, and distribute PC games. Stardock, notably, came pretty much out of a basement and started their own online sales, and got themselves into retail. It's possible. XBLA can help console devs with lowend games, of course, but anything beyond requires convincing the console maker that you're a $eriou$ game dev, and giving them about $7 per disc for licensing plus whatever fixed dev fees and licensing and Bluray licensing and ...

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As you mentioned the Microsoft incumbent, so too, are those above-mentioned developers (for the most part). It's a long road to becoming one of those, and even promising startups like Crytek haven't seen the continued success that the aforementioned have.
Stardock proves what's possible, and certainly Crytek have themselves to blame for picking hard-core hardware tweaker as a market and missing the fact that they tend to try not to pay for things other than hardware and meth. If Stardock can sell 100k copies online for higher than retail prices, without paying a retail cut, and not paying any DRM licensing, then they're doing better than any Mac game dev, and they can't say PC gaming is killing them. Basically, the worst you can say is that there are more consoles and that (maybe) PCs aren't growing as fast as a market. There are still tons of gamers with PCs, and it's still a growing market, and (in dollar value) the PC rides with or in front of every console individually.

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The variety of PC games at the more hardcore level has dwindled drastically in the 12 years I've called myself  PC gamer
It's hard to miss that the variety of PC genres has always been and continues to be higher than console genres, and Mac genres. Good luck with sims, strategy games, Deus-Ex-style actoin/RPGs, stealth games, etc. whereever you are.

#34 PeopleLikeFrank

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Posted 04 October 2008 - 09:46 PM

I think Steam's 200% growth rate might have some words to say regarding the 'ailing' PC games market. But nevermind that, PC gaming is obviously Dying™.
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#35 J'nathus

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Posted 04 October 2008 - 11:29 PM

View Postbobbob, on October 4th 2008, 10:52 PM, said:

Steam, like the iPhone App Store, is notable for making it much easier to market, sell, and distribute PC games. Stardock, notably, came pretty much out of a basement and started their own online sales, and got themselves into retail. It's possible. XBLA can help console devs with lowend games, of course, but anything beyond requires convincing the console maker that you're a $eriou$ game dev, and giving them about $7 per disc for licensing plus whatever fixed dev fees and licensing and Bluray licensing and ...

Stardock proves what's possible, and certainly Crytek have themselves to blame for picking hard-core hardware tweaker as a market and missing the fact that they tend to try not to pay for things other than hardware and meth. If Stardock can sell 100k copies online for higher than retail prices, without paying a retail cut, and not paying any DRM licensing, then they're doing better than any Mac game dev, and they can't say PC gaming is killing them. Basically, the worst you can say is that there are more consoles and that (maybe) PCs aren't growing as fast as a market. There are still tons of gamers with PCs, and it's still a growing market, and (in dollar value) the PC rides with or in front of every console individually.
It's hard to miss that the variety of PC genres has always been and continues to be higher than console genres, and Mac genres. Good luck with sims, strategy games, Deus-Ex-style actoin/RPGs, stealth games, etc. whereever you are.
On the Steam front, I am a convert, and I prefer that particular method of game delivery and management.  However, Steam is also allowing SecuROM DRM restrictions (with the latest Crysis title and the original Crysis title, both of which were just released there).  The ramifications of DRM restrictions were part of where this debate began, no?

How does the iPhone app store allow for PC game distribution?  To my knowledge, no iPhone app can be played on a PC or a Mac.  It must be played on the iPhone. Equally, how does XBLA?  Isn't the point here the barrier for entry to PC gaming? Isn't it like 2 weeks a PC game can be popular and then it has a chance, otherwise it's buried and forgotten!?!?!  That's a major part of my point here.

I would call Stardock an anomaly.  It's like Crytek's Far Cry . . .  They hit one out of the park then, but their follow-up didn't do so well.  So, let's see Stardock do it again, and THEN I'll be happy about their successful contribution to the PC gaming landscape. You see, the Blizzards and the Valves of this world are famous for replicating and increasing their market shares.  My point was sustainability, not one-offs.

To qualify, I will mention that I believe there are a lot of factors at play here. I think the 'keeping up with the Jones' hardware game is tiresome at times, and being left out in the cold with year old hardware is really unacceptable. Maybe World of Warcraft has the answer.  Gobs and gobs of content wrapped in low polygon net friendly colorful graphics that run well on just about anything these days.  That's a debate all in itself.  Sufficed to say, there are more details possible than what I'm bringing up and I'm aware of that.

About the variety of games, that too is encouraging.  While I'll admit I'm not one to enjoy The Sims, I play games in all of those genres you mentioned as well as a few others, including platformers and adventure games, as well as straight up RPGs, MMORPGs and first-person shooters.  

To respond to the Steam 200% comment, I don't think I've said that PC gaming is dying, and the evidence is lop-sided (NPD). With a reported $6.6 billion in retail game sales last year, only 14% of which was attributed to PC games...  I can't help but assume that the online sources aren't filling up the rest of that gap.  I'd be happy to be wrong, but I've been getting the feeling that this impression is not wrong.

I cannot speak to the revenue generated as that's not possible given that Valve doesn't give solid figures and there's far too many sources to compile.   What I can say is the absolute whirlwind of titles I had available to me once upon a time has died down to a  calm gust of wind of today.  That, in a nutshell, is what I mean about sustainability and dwindling market.  The same is true of Mac gaming as there are many promised ports, some of which are 2-3 or more years old already. It just seems like although the market is alive, it's getting a bit old and gray.  

Consoles are becoming 'where it's at,' and all we need is a WoW-like success on the consoles to yank another 'PC-only' concept out from under us.  With less and less PC-exclusive titles and more and more one-time PC exclusives doing much better sales on consoles (i.e. Call of Duty 4), I think the wind is blowing an increasing less PC-gaming scent our way.

So, that you may fully understand my position, I am not happy with this direction.  I am not talking it up like this is what I want to see happening.  This is what I see happening.  I'm a PC gamer first and foremost, an X-Box 360 gamer second, a Mac gamer third and a casual gamer when I'm bored somewhere with only my iPhone or a limited charge in my MacBook Pro's battery.  I added the 360 about a year and a half ago because there were simply a good number of fun titles that I could no longer get on the PC (although 3 of them ended up getting ported... *rats*!)

#36 bobbob

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Posted 05 October 2008 - 02:09 AM

View PostJ, on October 4th 2008, 10:29 PM, said:

Steam is also allowing SecuROM DRM restrictions
While they are onerous, they're still added by the publisher. Steam works very well in other cases where the publisher prefers customer copies that work. I'm just saying it's possible to do very well selling PC games. I don't think DRM stops pirates, nor do I think it generally hurts sales as much as a boycott, and it only inflates the cost a little bit, so unless there's a specific and severe problem with it I don't think it factors in. It should, but people don't care.

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How does the iPhone app store allow for PC game distribution?
It shows how publishers can cut costs and keep more of the sale price, while also being fairly good for the user. Like Steam, like Stardock, like GoG.

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Equally, how does XBLA?  Isn't the point here the barrier for entry to PC gaming? Isn't it like 2 weeks a PC game can be popular and then it has a chance, otherwise it's buried and forgotten!?!?!  That's a major part of my point here.
Movies, music, and books have the same problems, and looking at NPD stats, console games do to. I don't think PC gamers are exceptionally fickle. Outside the top ten, lots of great games drop like a rock in sales. Even in the top 10 there is some gravity.

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My point was sustainability, not one-offs.
Gal Civ 1, Gal Civ 2, Sins of a Solar Empire. They grossed 8 digits off Gal Civ 2, with an investment of 6 digits, so the ROI is very sustainable. I believe the point to be made is that with reduced licensing costs, reduced dev tools costs, higher sales margins, reduced duplication costs, etc. the market is ripe for smaller studios to sell directly and attempt retail. AAA games might not even be sustainable anywhere, looking at blockbuster movies, and the high attrition of AAA games and game studios.

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while I'll admit I'm not one to enjoy The Sims
Hah. I meant serious mech sims, driving sims, flight sims, sub sims, etc. Those have never really happened on consoles, so it's not really saying anything if they're shrinking on the PC side, too. I think it's just a general funding thing, that the hardcore is niche and mass market sells.

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With a reported $6.6 billion in retail game sales last year
Considering NPD doesn't look at Walmart, nor online sales, nor online distribution, nor subscriptions, that's saying quite a bit. Having about 1/7th the counted sales, with 7 active platforms (PC, PS2, PS3, Wii, XBox360, DS and PSP), means it's about mediocre. Sins of a Solar Empire alone is looking to bring a new high this year if WoW repeats its performance and the rest of the top 10 stay about the same.

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the absolute whirlwind of titles I had available to me once upon a time has died down to a calm gust of wind of today
Comparing release schedules seem pretty favourable. A few good games per month, with the odd and glaring exclusive that hurts certain consoles as much as anyone else. The ones that really hurt are the ones MS uses to prop up the 360 for a spell, which is nothing to hold against the PC.

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more and more one-time PC exclusives doing much better sales on consoles (i.e. Call of Duty 4)
It's kind of unfortunate that only the top 10 are reported, and rarely are sales properly broken down by platform. The curve really distorts near the edges, and it's hard to tell what is actually going on with tons of great games that didn't make the top 10.

#37 J'nathus

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Posted 05 October 2008 - 01:01 PM

View Postbobbob, on October 5th 2008, 04:09 AM, said:

I don't think DRM stops pirates, nor do I think it generally hurts sales as much as a boycott, and it only inflates the cost a little bit, so unless there's a specific and severe problem with it I don't think it factors in. It should, but people don't care.

AAA games might not even be sustainable anywhere, looking at blockbuster movies, and the high attrition of AAA games and game studios.

Hah. I meant serious mech sims, driving sims, flight sims, sub sims, etc. Those have never really happened on consoles, so it's not really saying anything if they're shrinking on the PC side, too. I think it's just a general funding thing, that the hardcore is niche and mass market sells.

Considering NPD doesn't look at Walmart, nor online sales, nor online distribution, nor subscriptions, that's saying quite a bit. Having about 1/7th the counted sales, with 7 active platforms (PC, PS2, PS3, Wii, XBox360, DS and PSP), means it's about mediocre. Sins of a Solar Empire alone is looking to bring a new high this year if WoW repeats its performance and the rest of the top 10 stay about the same.
Comparing release schedules seem pretty favourable. A few good games per month, with the odd and glaring exclusive that hurts certain consoles as much as anyone else. The ones that really hurt are the ones MS uses to prop up the 360 for a spell, which is nothing to hold against the PC.

I wonder about the DRM thing.  PC game activation is why there really isn't an after-market for PC games like there is for console games.  This moreso affects GameStop, but I wonder if PC games would have more legs / life if it were easier, if not guaranteed that they could be sold to someone with a degree of certainty that they would function / activate. It's not so much the sales, as the publisher / developer only receive money from the initial sale.  However, continued play perpetuates mind-share and keeps it in the public consciousness.  At least that's my theory.

I'm not clear on your point about AAA titles.  Are you of the opinion that games of that caliber are the issue with sustainability?  If so, then I agree on that count.  

Those genres that haven't happened on consoles, simply haven't happened 'yet.'  Maybe there's a 'nerdy' sense about those type of games that keeps them out of the consoles, but I was of the opinion that shooters would never work on consoles with analogue sticks, which ended up being incorrect.  Some shooters were ported, but they were far too hard with the console controls (by my estimation).  But then Halo came out and somehow it took.  On the reverse, Rainbow Six: Vegas was ported to the PC and I like it's 'strategic shooter' / action shooter hybrid which I believe was a design created due to the console control setup.  I still think a mouse makes a much better crosshair aiming manipulator if not a much more able strategy control device.  

If WoW continues I guess that's good.  But as a person who has a WoW account until November, I am a bit skeptical.  You definitely have a huge game at your disposal with WoW, but I don't feel you get your bang for your buck.  Then again, 10 million people disagree with me, but PC gaming has always been a bit of a niche, so I guess I'm not afraid to be a niche of a niche.

This fall does look like it has some promising titles...  some of which are destined for the PC.  That's good news, however many are cross-platform, and that frequently does not always bode well for the PC version.  

In the interim, I'll be re-playing Crysis, Call of Duty 4 and eventually getting to Crysis Warhead.

#38 bobbob

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Posted 05 October 2008 - 02:25 PM

View PostJ, on October 5th 2008, 12:01 PM, said:

I'm not clear on your point about AAA titles.  Are you of the opinion that games of that caliber are the issue with sustainability?  If so, then I agree on that count.
I'm saying that they often fail, and the studios that make them are taking big chances, and that new comers have the best chances making smaller games. Heck, when I said they might not be sustainable anywhere, I left out the biggest point: even former PS3 or XBox 360 'exclusives' are being ported to the other console because the first couldn't sustain them. No one platform has to fund the thing totally as it is, so the PC is no different. Aspyr says, what, 10-50k sales would be enough for a port, and with proper development the cost goes down from there.

#39 teflon

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Posted 05 October 2008 - 07:01 PM

such as?
I can only think of Bioshock, a game which was already very successful on X360 and PC, and is now being post-release being ported. Possibly because the sequel/prequel will make it to the PS3.
Aside from that, I can only really think of games which were announced as exclusives, and then changed during development. FF XIII comes to mind, having been announced for PS3 initially, and then to the X360, and GTA 4 eschewed the previous time release we saw with the PS2 and Xbox. Both of those instances are no doubt down to MS handing over huge wads of cash to get the simultaneous releases.

In fact, thats the only reason I can see for this trend. Games occasionally go from X360 to the PS3 because of the PS3's rising popularity and market, whilst MS struggle to keep their advantage through price cuts and buying out the exclusive deals that are going on. I cant think of a single game which has been a released PS3 exclusive and then gone to the X360.
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#40 Sneaky Snake

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  • Steam ID:sneaky_snake
  • Location:Waterloo, Canada

Posted 05 October 2008 - 07:52 PM

Well the reason games become un-exclusives like Halo 2 and GoW is because they already milked the cash cow with the game on XBox and now its time to make some more money on other systems. The PS 3 is a superior system, no doubt about that. But game sales would be pretty close I'm guessing between the 2 systems, the game is either good or it isn't doesn't really matter what system you have.


-Snake
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