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It is clear that Sony has run away with the “win” in the current video game console generation in terms of raw console sales numbers, but as it turns out, selling the most systems doesn’t equate to having the most — or the best — exclusive games.

PS_WiiU_SuperMario3DWorld_enGB
The top-rated Super Mario 3D World is one of the games that has put the Wii U ahead of the Xbox One and PS4 in our analysis of exclusive console titles.

With that in mind, we looked at the library of games released for this generation’s gaming consoles to find out which one has the most exclusive titles — Sony’s Playstation 4, Microsoft’s Xbox One, or Nintendo’s Wii U — and which console has the best exclusive games.

For this analysis, we are defining “exclusive” as those games that are only available to play on a single console, and nowhere else. In other words, we are not counting “console exclusives” (i.e. games that are available on only one of the three consoles, but also on PC or a handheld platform) or “timed exclusives” (games that are available only on one console for a limited time but then come out for other systems).

So which system wins the exclusive games contest? Wii U by a landslide. The following table tallies the number of exclusive games for each console, and breaks the stats down based on Metacritic scores to provide a sense for the quality of the exclusive titles, as well — with 90 to 100 qualifying as “Amazing,” 75 to 89 as “Good,” 50 to 74 as “Meh,” and below 50 as “Awful.”

The Exclusive Games Race

Scores Wii U Playstation 4 Xbox One
Amazing 3 1 0
Good 19 6 4
Meh 14 8 4
Awful 4 2 1
Total 40 17 9

With 40 exclusive games so far, Wii U is crushing the competition in the exclusives race. PS4 has seventeen exclusive titles, and Xbox One has just nine.

The Wii U wins the quality competition, as well. Twenty-two of the games exclusive to the Wii U have a Metacritic score of 75 or better, which is true of just seven Playstation 4 exclusives and a mere four exclusives on Xbox One.

Exclusive Games by Console & Score - Wii U / Playstation 4 / Xbox One
Exclusive Games by Console & Score – Wii U / Playstation 4 / Xbox One

Although Sony has sold nearly three times as many systems as Nintendo in this generation, Nintendo’s continued dedication to developing and publishing great games has cemented the Wii U’s position as the home for the best unique games.

There is no doubt that Nintendo relies heavily on its signature characters. Eight of its twenty-two top exclusive titles are Mario or Mario-spinoff games. But unlike series such as “Assassin’s Creed” or “Battlefield,” whose recent entries typically earn review scores in the 70s to mid-80s, it’s not uncommon for the most recent flagship Mario platforming title to score better than 90, and they rarely pull down scores below 80.

Shigeru Miyamoto plays Mario Maker with kids
Alex, 9, & Robbie, 10, playing Mario Maker for the first time with Shigeru Miyamoto. (Photo by Bob Riha, Jr./Nintendo)

Much of Nintendo’s success in these popular franchises can likely be attributed to legendary game designer Shigeru Miyamoto’s continued involvement in creating the company’s top games. The 63-year-old grandfather of gaming has been creating games for Nintendo for nearly 40 years, continually drawing from a well of creativity that seems to never run dry.

Sony and Microsoft do have a few more exclusives in the pipeline for 2016, such as “The Last Guardian” and “Ratchet & Clank” for the Playstation 4 and “Crackdown 3” and “Gears of War 4” for the Xbox One, but with “Star Fox Zero” and a new “Legend of Zelda” also on the horizon for Wii U, Nintendo is unlikely to give up its lead in the exclusives race this generation.

Here’s the full list of every exclusive game with a Metacritic score of 75 or better for each system as of March 2016.

Best Exclusives by Console, March 2016

Wii U
#       Game Title
93 Super Mario 3D World
92 Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
91 Bayonetta 2
88 Mario Kart 8
88 Super Mario Maker
87 Pikmin 3
84 New Super Mario Bros. U
84 Xenoblade Chronicles X
83 Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
82 Fast Racing Neo
82 Runbow
81 Affordable Space Adventures
81 Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
81 Splatoon
80 Lego City Undercover
80 Pushmo World
78 The Wonderful 101
78 Yoshi’s Woolly World
77 New Super Luigi U
77 Nintendo Land
76 Hyrule Warriors
75 Swords & Soldiers II
Playstation 4
#       Game Title
92 Bloodborne
   
   
82 N++*
81 Tearaway Unfolded
80 Disgaea 5
80 Infamous Second Son
79 Until Dawn
78 Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture
Xbox One
#       Game Title
   
   
   
87 Forza Motorsport 6
84 Halo 5: Guardians
81 Sunset Overdrive
79 Forza Motorsport 5
*N++ is coming to the PC via Steam eventually, but since it is a PS4 exclusive as of this writing, it was included in the analysis. If the analysis were done post-release of N++ on Steam, it would not have counted.
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