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Why Konami’s Metal Gear Solid 4 Should Be Multiplatform

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So the wishful thinking begins again. You don’t have to wonder why so many Xbox 360 gamers would love Metal Gear Solid 4 to go multiplatform. The series has had a huge success on many platforms from MSX to the Xbox. Konami has made millions of dollars on this franchise but for some bullheaded reason, will not go multiplatform with it’s latest triple A title. Is Hideo Kojima just a Sony fanboy in disguise?

We’ve seen the numbers and not even Kaz Hirai can deny that the Xbox 360 attach rate is dumbfounding. Even on that tiny island called Japan where about 8,000 Xbox 360’s are sold a week, the attach rate is still higher than the hotter selling PS3. So the question here is, what attracts 3rd party developers to consoles? If a console sells well but 3rd party titles collect dust(think Wii), there’s obviously no motivation to spend millions of development dollars on a longshot. In the case of the Xbox 360, pretty much everything sells from 1st to 3rd party. Xbox 360 has 29 games that have sold over 1 million copies worldwide. The Playstation 3 has 4 games that have sold over 1 million copies. 2 of those games are mulitplatform. The Wii has 15 games that have sold over 1 million and half of those are first party titles.

So I ask a question to all of you readers out there: if you became a 3rd party developer today, what systems would you release your first game on? You’d be a fool to say PS3 only, even if you are a fanboy. There is too much money to be made on both platforms; moreso on the Xbox 360. This brings us back to our original issue; what is Konami thinking?

MGS4 has been in development for many years. It’s setup to be the biggest game of 2008 along with Final Fantasy XIII. Konami has spent millions on the game and hopes to move 1 million copies in it’s first week. Looking at the numbers, how do they expect to move 1 million copies when the best PS3 title to date, Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, has only been able to move 552,000 copies worldwide? Now 552k is a good number for a 3rd party after six weeks, but MGS4 needs bigger numbers. If the masses of PS3 owners who like 3D action games bought 552,000 copies of Uncharted, where are the other 448,000 that are supposed to buy MGS4 but didn’t buy Uncharted?

I’ve read interviews and postings about Kojima that has stated that it’s PS3 exclusive several times. Is that smart business? I can bet that if it also came out on the 360, they could move a million units in less than a month. That’s in addition to whatever they sell on the PS3. By going exclusive with a game like this, they are basically throwing millions of dollars down the drain.

3rd party exclusives are a thing of the past. 3rd party developers need to look out for their best interest. Whatever happened to making the game available to as many gamers as possible? Capcom, From Software, Sega and Namco all went multiplatform and are reaping the rewards. What’s stopping Konami from doing the same? Is it Kojima’s arrogance or Konami’s allegiance to Sony? Only time will tell and as we near the end of 2007, time seems to be running out.

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