It seems like every game being released these days is having bits of content surgically removed and given to retailers or platform holders as exclusives.
Everywhere you turn there's an extra feature, skin, character or map being held ransom. The only way you can get your hands on it is to buy the game on a specific platform or at a specific retailer.
Assassin's Creed fans eager to take the new and improved multiplayer of Revelations for a spin were no doubt ecstatic at the announcement of a multiplayer beta. But we imagine that hearing it was a PlayStation 3 exclusive left Xbox 360 and PC players feeling a little bitter. With good reason, after all isn't the Assassin's Creed fanbase spread across all the platforms?
Activision has always been the biggest practitioner of content exclusivity deals. With the numerous Call of Duty map packs usually appearing as timed exclusives on one platform or another. We're willing to bet all our worldly possessions there'll be multiple Modern Warfare 3 map packs handed out as timed exclusives over the next year or two.
Bethesda recently followed suit by signing an exclusivity deal with Microsoft for Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim DLC. So far the publisher has confirmed the first two downloadable content packs will be released as timed exclusives on the Xbox 360.
Although both content packs will become available on other platforms a month later it still forces gamers interested in Skyrim into a position where they have to consider purchasing the title on a platform they wouldn't have otherwise done so.
As well as platform exclusivity retailers have also muscled their way into the piecemealing shenanigans. GAME has secured an exclusive for the Modern Warfare 3 Intel Pack, which will be available to eager beavers that pre-order the game.
Elsewhere Warner Brothers Interactive has revealed a downloadable Joker's Carnival challenge pack, but if you want it you'll have to pick up the game from Tesco. On top of that it's also spread the costumes - which are admittedly awesome - amongst five seperate retailers.
We're not na´ve; we understand the implications this has on business and revenue. But what we're more interested in is if it actually has any impact on your purchasing decisions and more importantly your attitude towards a game and the practice in general.
Are you happy to ignore or wait-it-out for content that you may have otherwise been interested in when it's not on your preferred console or at your retailer of choice? Or will that exclusivity sway persuade you into making less than ideal purchasing decisions?