If Nintendo jumping onto the trend is any indication, retailer-specific pre-order exclusives are here to stay. Luckily, most of the pre-order bonuses offered for games haven't yet been completely game-breaking, and consist mostly of early access to extra content, different character skins, or posters and other schwag.
Before retailer-specific pre-orders became the norm, though, players were first frustrated by content exclusive to specific consoles. A good example is Soul Caliber IV, which released with either Yoda or Darth Vader as a playable fighter depending on which system it was bought for. That trend has largely fallen by the wayside in recent years as publishers realize that gamers have already chosen their console. Those publishers are not likely to give Sony or Microsoft exclusives that may upset half of their customers. With the next generation of the console wars heating up, though, expect to see more of these types of exclusives starting next year.
Today it was revealed that one of the most anticipated games of 2012, Assassin's Creed III, appears to be offering quite a large exclusive to PlayStation 3 owners. According to the picture of the game's cover on the Amazon UK web store, the PlayStation 3 version of the game "Includes 60 minutes of exclusive Gameplay." (sic)
There is no indication of what that extra hour of game will include. In fact, Ubisoft has not yet announced any such console exclusives. So while this updated box art could be a mistake, it is probable that the PlayStation 3 version of the game will include an extra mission or two, which will most likely become downloadable contend (DLC) for other consoles and the PC. If this turns out to be true, it also seems likely that Xbox 360 owners will not be completely snubbed, and will have some exclusive content of their own. Also, it is a given that the Wii U version of the game will have exclusive features that take advantage of that console's nature.
(picture courtesy Amazon.co.uk)