Titanfall 2 Timed Exclusive Contents On Xbox One Should Be Microsoft's Reply To Sony's PS4/CoD Deal
When at E3 2015 it was announced Call of Duty was going to have a completely new partnership with PlayStation, many didn't understand the reason why Microsoft allowed Sony to bring such a great and renown brand on its platforms, with timed exclusive content, tournaments and more stuff. Providing an answer to this move is not easy at all, but probably enough having a cooperation with Activision on its main shooting brand is not as remunerative as one would think – it's not much more than a marketing manoeuvre, something you would not define essential, especially when shifting your focus from third party relationships to first party development.
Of course, with PlayStation 4 lacking big exclusive titles this fall, Sony was so smart to keep in touch with third party developers and publishers, and got the best available on the market to save the day. And this could lead Microsoft to extend his external partnerships farther than the Tom Clancy's The Division exclusive beta in December or the Rise of the Tomb Raider timed exclusive for this year, unless they think they're good enough when talking about shooter games thanks to The Division's beta. And what are the other great shooters currently in development and slated to release for next year? They're both coming from Electronic Arts: Battlefield 5, or whatever it's going to be dubbed, and Titanfall 2.
Let's focus on Titanfall 2 for now, as the next Battlefield could be itself part of the partnership between Electronic Arts and Sony like it's happening this year with Star Wars Battlefront. The original Titanfall was an Xbox console exclusive, releasing on Xbox 360, Xbox One and Windows PC: that was a great move, as many PlayStation fans were striving to get the game on their consoles, and represented a very good addition to Xbox last year's portfolio of exclusives. Anyway, it harmed somehow both the sales and the length of Titanfall's lifecycle: the game has been supported for months by Respawn Entertainment, but those contents lacked variety and were not enough to make the user base (the fundamental component in a multiplayer shooter) bigger with time.
Then, the developer Respawn and the publisher Electronic Arts had to choices they could make in order to push on the franchise: add a single-player campaign to the formula or going multi-platform. While we know the developer is thinking about introducing some sort of single-player and co-op content or mode from the day one, the idea of going multi-platform has already been discussed in public and Respawn's Vince Zampella has confirmed the next title will be available on PlayStation 4 too. But that's not a bad news for Microsoft.
Going multi-platform is a great move to invest on the Titanfall franchise. Being played on PlayStation 4, Titanfall 2 will be much more populated and will live much longer than the original chapter. This means there will be more additional contents to be produced and published, and here's where Microsoft could take the lead again: instead of having a console exclusive on the game, Microsoft could ask Electronic Arts a timed exclusive on additional contents, just as it did with Activision for Call of Duty.
Again, I don't think additional contents themselves represent a huge affair when talking about financial resources, but they could help having more Titanfall 2 copies sold on Xbox One instead of PlayStation 4, for example, and we know how much Microsoft cares about the attach rate. TV spots would support Xbox consoles, tournaments would be based on Xbox consoles, the developer would take Xbox consoles as the lead platform during their work on the title.
So, I know it looks like a paradox, but Microsoft is the one who would gain the most from Titanfall 2 going multi-platform instead of it being a complete Xbox console exclusive, in case they manage to have timed exclusive contents for Xbox One. Sony would add its own user base to the Titanfall community, making it happier because of a new great first person shooter finally available on PlayStation, while Microsoft could make a name next year thanks to timed exclusive contents that would add value to Xbox One both while buying the game and supporting it after its launch.
There's still a lot of time to wait, anyway, as I don't think there will be any official announcement for Titanfall 2 (nor partnerships with Microsoft or whoever) before E3 2016. In the meantime, you can get Titanfall for free on Xbox One if you are an EA Access subscriber, should you be willing of improving your skills for the second episode.