Say you have this console or operating system to which you are very much accustomed to. You more or less have everything made for the platform installed or on discs/cartridges, but there's this one game or application you wanted or needed so badly, but couldn't get as it was released on only a particular platform other than what you have. Sure enough, you can buy a new console or install an alternative OS, but that's a major barrier to entry for some who do not have the budget or just couldn't be bothered to get a certain device for the sole purpose of playing certain games.
As with No Export for You, No Port For You could be due to technical limitations, censorship, licensing or whatever complications that may arise with the release of a piece of software, or just limited resources, or for some inexplicable reason even if the platform the game wasn't released on has a significant market share. It could also apply to non-software pieces of digital media, like for example films not yet released on DVD or Blu-ray. However, it could also be due to "exclusivity deals", in which a company pays a developer to make a game only exclusively for their platform.
Naturally, there are workarounds for this, like emulation for example; emulating more recent systems are a long shot however, but progress has been made with seventh-generation console emulators, such as Xenia, RPCS3, Citra, CEMU, and the most popular of them all; Dolphin. Even the Nintendo Switch has some emulation projects being made too in the form of yuzu and Ryujinx, on which many popular exclusive games are playable. Fan-made ports do exist as well, especially for games whose source codes have been released in the public domain or under a permissive license, or for games whose source code has been reverse engineered.
Despite communicating with the same hardware fundamentally underneath, the other two Operating Systems for the PC Market, MacOS and Linux, also get afflicted with this, as most games released on PC are for Windows only. While the list of games that work on both of these systems is increasing, thanks to increased adoption and better understanding by the general consumer and big videogame companies alike about what these OS's can actually be like to use, it's a far cry from the hundreds of thousands of games the PC gaming space has to offer natively. Much like how Emulation can help run games from consoles on computers, MacOS and Linux both have Wine Bottler for the former, and plain old Wine for the latter. Linux also has Proton, a repackaged version of Wine primarily used for running Windows-only Steam games, which makes it theoretically possible to play any game released onto Windows.
When it comes to smartphone games, originally the bulk of high-profile mobile games were released on iOS only, with Android routinely being left out in the cold. It wasn't until the mid-2010s that more and more mobile games started getting ported to Android, with most games now being released on both at launch. You're still out of luck if you use any other mobile phone platform, however.
Contrast with Multi-Platform and Reformulated Game, where a game gets versions or ports for multiple platforms at the time of its release (especially with licensed games). Often overlaps with and exacerbates Keep Circulating the Tapes if both the game and the platforms it was released for are no longer manufactured. The complete polar opposite is Port Overdosed, where the game gets released on every platform under the sun the developer can think of, even if the platform is not a good fit.
Video Game Examples:
- Prior to Activision's foundation in 1979, all games tended to be exclusive to the consoles they were developed for. It wasn't until a bunch of disillusioned former Atari developers called it quits and formed said video game studio that Multi-Platform titles came to be.
- Many licensed games were prey to this, as different companies could have different claims to a license for different venues and regions. The Simpsons is a notable case; it was developed and published by Konami in arcades, but because Acclaim held the home console license for the show during its release, it would not see a release on a home console until 2012.
- First-party developed titles are almost always this, for an obvious reason: exclusive titles created by the platform creator's own video game studios are meant as an incentive for the consumer to choose their gaming platform over the competition. So you're never going to see Nintendo's Mario series on a Sony platform, or Sony's Gran Turismo games on a Microsoft console.
- Nintendo has had issues with major multiplatform titles skipping release on their systems since the Nintendo 64 but ameliorated beginning with the Nintendo Switch. While part of this was initially due to burnt bridges caused by their draconian policies in the 1990s, these days it mostly comes down to technical limitations. While both the N64 and Nintendo GameCube were just as, if not more powerful, than the competition, they also suffered serious game size limitations due to their formats: cartridges instead of CD, and a proprietary form of MiniDVD instead of DVD, respectively. This meant many games would require significant cuts or unacceptable levels of compression to play on Nintendo's system.note Following that, every Nintendo console from the Wii onward bowed out of the power race to focus on alternate ways of attracting people to their hardware (i.e. gimmicks such as motion controls and "hybrid" play), making these systems (save for the Switch) too underpowered to receive ports of graphically intense titles unless a developer goes out of their way to create a version specifically for Nintendo's hardware, hire another developer (specifically a porting house) to do it, or simply make a thin client with the game itself streamed from a cloud server especially if the game being adapted is too intense for the Switch to run natively even with major sacrifices.
- One of the many reasons why virtual machine software and Wine exist is due to macOS, Linux and a myriad of Unix-based operating systems not getting a fair share of the pie, as the vast majority of games (and software in general, such as productivity applications) are released only for Microsoft Windows, a form of vendor lock-in.
- Some genres don't seem to get any PC treatment whatsoever, or when they do, they're rather uncommon. See if you can name any big-name boxing, wrestling or Mixed Martial Arts title for Windows, let alone Mac or Linux. It could be either due to the genre being best played on the comfort of one's living room, or others tend to end up either unplayable or just plain awkward on a joystick or a keyboard. Piracy also plays a key factor in why some games don't get PC ports, since it's easier to pirate a game that's on a PC as opposed to a console.
- Conversely, some genres like Real-Time Strategy or city-building games are generally PC-exclusive by default, because they're designed from the ground up to be played with mouse and keyboard, and trying to adapt their control schemes to a gamepad involves some very unhappy compromises at best. Not to mention some of the more complicated examples being very CPU and RAM intensive, while putting a relatively small load on the graphics hardware, which is the exact opposite of optimal for console specs.
- Mobile games will generally stay mobile due to either relying on a "free-to-play" model that console makers wouldn't approve of, or due to touchscreen controls which simply cannot be replicated very well with a keyboard-and-mouse combo or a gamepad. Some mobile games that do not rely on the F2P model do get ported to the now-retired Play Station Vita or Nintendo Switch, two systems with multi-touch capacitive touchscreens similar to those found on smartphones, however early on, Switch ports of mobile games (particularly VOEZ, Deemo, and Lanota) were widely criticized for not being compatible in TV mode, leading to Nintendo to mandate that all games must have control schemes that are compatible in TV mode. This often leads to devs having to implement such schemes just to get Nintendo's approval, regardless of whether they are as intuitive as touchscreen controls.
- When TV game shows were ported to home computers in the late 1980s and early 1990s, owners of Atari 8-Bit Computers were out of luck, except for homebrews of Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune.
- Expect many modern Arcade Games to fall under this, as many of them use specialized controllers that would be too expensive if they were faithfully made for the consumer market; the more economic alternatives would be to adapt the controls to a gamepad or produce a lower-budget version of the gimmick controller, often with clunky results either way.
- Fan games based on existing franchises tend to be PC-exclusive by default for very obvious legal reasons. Some fan games based on franchises like Touhou Project have received official console ports, but those seem to be the exception rather than the rule.
- Aka to Blue is exclusive to smartphones and arcades; the smartphone version doesn't even have Bluetooth controller support. The developers have stated that the costs of console development kits and the relative obscurity of Steam in Japannote caused them to pass over more conventional consumer platforms.
- American Girl is guilty of this - for no explicable reason other than mentioning on their Facebook page that they are comfortable with iOS development. Even if Android's market share "makes them attractive" they only released most of their recent games for Apple's mobile operating system.
- This is compounded by the fact that the companion app for a toy television made for Maryellen Larkin is designed with regular-size iPad models in mind, since the TV playset essentially acts as a specialised case for the original model up to the iPad 4. While there are Android devices using a similar form factor, e.g. Goopads and models from lesser-known firms, they're few and far behind, and most tablets are just too small or odd-sized for it to fit inside the television.
- Also, the comfort zone excuse is moot considering how the mobile games were written using cross-platform libraries like Adobe AIR or Unity for example. With the case of AIR all you have to do is to recompile the Flash project with little or no changes and set Android as a target, provided you have Android Studio installed. Whether American Girl was paid off by Apple to snub Android users or not is anyone's guess.
- In general, anything put out by Mattel/Fisher-Price for the mobile platform tends to be this, if not a bad port that is several versions behind the iOS version, and all of their mobile accessories to date are for iDevices only. Many have speculated that they have an exclusivity deal with Apple.
- Still an issue as of the recently released Wellie Wishers game, and that's despite AG's assurances of a port or two for other platforms, along with children's electronics firm Nabi (who were recently acquired by Mattel) releasing an American Girl-themed variant of their Nabi SE tablet. The latter would've given them an even bigger reason for them to port most of their games to Android, but strangely enough this hasn't been the case as of now.
- Except that as it turns out, they did make a port of some of those games. The clincher is that not only it's exclusively available upon purchase of the American Girl-themed tablet, it is not available from other tablets in the series.
- While the original WellieWishers remains iOS exclusive, Garden Fun is available on both Android and iOS worldwide. Except that the Android port of the game became a Porting Disaster when it was first launched, crashing silently on a number of devices, and was even made worse with the 1.1 update, of which American Girl seemingly forgot to upload the updated OBB files for the game; this was later corrected in a recent hotfix.
- Angry Birds Reloaded has never been released on Android unlike so many other games in the franchise, presumably to an exclusivity clause in Apple Arcade preventing developers from releasing their games onto other mobile platforms (console and PC are still OK though, so there may be some hope there).
- Batman: Arkham Origins never got PS4, Xbox One, or Nintendo Switch releases.
- The original Bayonetta was released on both the Xbox 360 and the PS3 and was later re-released on the Wii U, PC, PS4 and Xbox One. Its sequels, on the other hand, are exclusive to Nintendo platforms, as they provided PlatinumGames with funding for the development for those games when Sega wouldn't.
- Call of Duty has a few titles from its early years that are exclusive to one platform. Finest Hour and Big Red One remain exclusive to sixth-gen consoles, while Call of Duty 3 remains exclusive to seventh-gen. In turn, the first game remained exclusive to PC until 2009, when an upscaled port arrived with the release of Modern Warfare 2, and its Expansion Pack United Offensive is to this day still only available on PC.
- Cho Ren Sha 68k version 1.10, an Updated Re-release of the game with new backgrounds, sound effects, and ending, was released for the Sharp X68000 Z microconsole as well as an .xdf file (Sharp X68000 floppy disk image), but has yet to be released as a native Windows binary unlike past releases.
- The Command & Conquer series has had a rather mixed history on consoles: while the PC version of Tiberian Dawn is quite obviously the definitive release, it did receive conversions to the Sega Saturn, PlayStation and Nintendo 64, the latter being the first C&C game to be presented in full polygonal 3D, predating Renegade and Generals. Red Alert only got a PlayStation conversion, and the series has been PC exclusive starting with Tiberian Sun onward likely due to limitations imposed by consoles in terms of performance and controls. It wouldn't be until Command & Conquer: Tiberium Wars when the series would be released for consoles and PC simultaneously, albeit with a retooled interface and controls to account for a gamepad as well as population and resource limits due to limited hardware.
- A number of Dead or Alive titles were exclusive to the Xbox, like Dead or Alive 3, Dead Or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball and Dead or Alive: Ultimate, a remake of the first two games. This was also the case with Dead or Alive 4 and Dead or Alive Xtreme 2 for the Xbox 360. The series became Multi-Platform once again upon the release of the fifth title, though there still are some exclusives, in this case for PlayStation consoles, namely Dead or Alive Paradise for the PSP and the Asia-only Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 for the PS4 and Vita.
- Nippon Ichi is well-known for their numerous ports and re-releases, but for some reason neglects Disgaea 3 over anything else. The first two Disgaea games were ported to the PC (plus a remake on the Nintendo Switch for the first one), and 4, 5, and 6 had their Complete Editions ported to the PC, and six other games from the PS2 era were brought to the Switch and PC as a Compilation Rerelease, which includes Updated Re-release content that were never released outside of Japan previously. Disgaea 3 had an Updated Re-release on the PlayStation Vita and nothing else after that. Disgaea D2 is also an unusual case of never having a re-release or a port of any kind.
- Mobile apps based on the Fancy Nancy series are exclusive to iOS for whatever reason. Much like American Girl, ports for the other platform are nowhere to be found, though a dedicated fan or a savvy parent could just load up a ROM of the DS game and play it on an emulator.
- Ford Truck Mania was released exclusively for the original PlayStation in 2003. While it isn't unheard of for a third-party game to be a console exclusive, what makes Ford Truck Mania so interesting is that by the time it was released, the PlayStation 2 has been around for three years.
- Guitar Hero III, Aerosmith and World Tour were the only Guitar Hero games to see a release on PC and macOS; the rest were exclusive to consoles and/or mobile devices.
- Gears of War was exclusive to Microsoft Studios's Xbox systems even before they bought the rights to the franchise. Thought funnily enough, it was later revealed that series developer Epic Games did build a version of the first Gears of War for the PlayStation 3 internally as an Unreal engine test. An almost fully functional version, just lacking optimization, no less. So a PS3 port of Gears technically did exist, they just didn't release it.
- The original game also came out on PC, but as was common during the 360 and PS3 generation it was a lackluster effort the devs clearly didn't care about compared to the console version (most infamously, they forgot to renew the game's copy protection certificate in early 2009, leading to a full week where only pirated installations could even play), leading to the next two games skipping PC entirely.
- Halo 5: Guardians released on the Xbox One, and is the only mainline Halo game not to receive a PC port. The first two games were released for Windows in the 2000s, while The Master Chief Collection brought the rest to PC in 2019. Even Guardians' sequel, Halo Infinite, released simultaneously on Xbox and PC. Oddly, Halo 5's Forge Mode has been released on PC as free-to-play.
- Several of Hallmark Card's apps, especially the e-books for their Interactive Story Buddy toys, are iOS only, to the annoyance of Android-device-owning parents.
- Certain Kairosoft games are Android-only.
- The King of Fighters XIV is a console exclusive for PlayStation 4, while both past and future entries are multiplatform.
- While The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky - First & Second Chapter had a release for both PC and Playstation Portable note , Trails in the Sky - The 3rd had its English release only for PC as XSeed didn't had enough time to port it to PSP.
- The main developer of PC game Mega Man Maker WreckingPrograms listed "mobile or console versions" among the "Deconfirmed Features". That means fans are never to request ports for consoles or for mobile phones.
- Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots only saw release on the PlayStation 3, due to Kojima wanting to make full use of the Blu-ray format's storage space. At the time of its release, 50 gigabytes of data was unheard of for a game, in contrast to most titles even for a few years after its release eating up six or eight at most. As of 2022, it's the only mainline MGS title that was never ported to any other platform, as MGS2, 3 and Peace Walker were eventually released on the Xbox 360 alongside the PS3 via the HD Collection and MGSV was developed as a multiplatform game from the get-go. While Kojima would go on to state that he would be willing to port MGS4 to other consoles if they supported the Blu-ray format (which both the PS4 and Xbox One did), he would leave Konami shortly after the completion of MGSV, leaving MGS4 stuck in PS3-only limbo.
- Nintendo once licensed out their characters to Philips as part of a failed deal to create a CD add-on, with Hotel Mario and The Legend Of Zelda C Di Games being Philips CD-i-exclusives.
- While Onimusha is primarily a PlayStation franchise, the original game Onimusha: Warlords also received an Xbox port under the name Genma Onimusha, which featured a plethora of new content, including new costumes, increased difficulty, green souls which increase attack power, and new areas. Due to the 2019 remaster of the game not containing the content from this version, the Xbox (or the Xbox 360 through backwards compatibility) is still the only way to experience this version of the game.
- None of SEGA's Performai games (maimai, CHUNITHM, and O.N.G.E.K.I.) are available on home platforms, as a curse of being arcade games that use specialized controllers.
- The compilation Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy HD was released for iOS and Android in Japan, but other countries only got it on iOS for some reason, despite every subsequent mobile release being available on both platforms in all regions. Finally overturned in May 2022 with the release of a remastered version of the trilogy for Android.
- Puyo Puyo Chronicle: In a rarity for major Puyo Puyo games which are usually ported to whatever consoles are supported at the time, Chronicle is only available on one platform, the Nintendo 3DS. This can likely be attributed to the larger-than-average amount of time/money that would be required to make the game look acceptable on HD platforms.
- Konami's and M2's ReBirth line of WiiWare games (Gradius ReBirth, Contra ReBirth, and Castlevania The Adventure Rebirth) became non-purchasable effective March 2018 along with the rest of the Wii Shop Channel's catalog, and non-downloadable effective January 2019. The only legitimate way to play them now is to have a Wii that already had it downloaded prior to the termination of the Wii Shop Channel service.
- In spite of efforts by fans to coax Rockstar Games into releasing a Red Dead Redemption PC port, word has it that the codebase was messy enough to rule out a Windows release. Given how badly they screwed up with Grand Theft Auto IV in 2008, the latter isn't that far-fetched of an excuse. On the other hand, Red Dead Redemption was notoriously so full of bugs even on the platforms it was released on that they probably decided that revisiting the messy code to try to fix things was not worth it. Same goes with Midnight Club: Los Angeles and a few others.
- Senjin Aleste is arcade-exclusive, unusually for an Aleste game, as all prior games in the series have been exclusive to consoles and PCs.
- Despite the 2013 remasters of Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 being well-received, both are exclusive to mobile devices despite the demand for a broader multiplatform release. This is despite the 2011 remaster of Sonic the Hedgehog CD being released on PlayStation Network (though Japan inexplicably didn't get it on PSN), Xbox Live, and Steam. The reason is that Sega signed a deal with Nintendo which requires them to publish three Sonic games exclusive to Nintendo consoles before any could come out on competing platforms, which excluded mobile games. But even after the contract expired and Sonic Lost World was ported to PC, the Sonic 1 and 2 remasters remained mobile-exclisive until the 2022 multiplatform Compilation Rerelease Sonic Origins.
- Splinter Cell: Conviction only received an Xbox 360 version besides Windows, with Ubisoft citing the game series being developed with the Xbox in mind since the original; despite the fact that both past and future entries were on Sony and Nintendo consoles as well, though the latter two conversions were cut down compared to Xbox and Windows due to memory limitations.
- The Spot the Dog mobile games are iOS exclusive as well. In fact, Penguin Interactive are only publishing for iOS devices.
- Street Fighter V was released on both Windows and Linux, but as far as consoles are concerned, Capcom had a deal with Sony and thus the only system it is available on is the PlayStation 4.
- None of the Tetris: The Grand Master arcade games have ever been ported to a consumer platform. A PS2 port for Tetris: The Grand Master 2 was allegedly in the works only to be cancelled. This isn't Arika's fault, though; The Tetris Company' has a series of strict guidelines on what is allowed in a game carrying the Tetris brand and gameplay, and the TGM series goes blatantly outside of those guidelines, which unfortunately means that it is extremely unlikely there will ever be a port of any arcade TGM game. While there is Tetris: The Grand Master ACE, its adherence to the same guidelines (which were made after TGM 2 and were still quite lax when TGM 3 was released, but got very strict sometime between the releases of 3 and ACE) result in a drastically different and less challenging game than the arcade TGM games.
- Xenoblade Chronicles X is one of the biggest first-party Wii U games (both literally and figuratively) which is still trapped on its home platform, with no Nintendo Switch port in sight. Monolith Soft has cited the extreme difficulty of such a port ever manifesting without devoting a lot of resources to the job.
- Like a Dragon:
- The franchise, after being exclusive to PlayStation systems for a long time, had each of its games ported to the the Xbox One, along with PCs. However, its spin-off games, Judgment and Lost Judgment, were caught up in Executive Meddling for about a year that threw the status of PC ports for the series (and potentially the future of the subseries itself) into question. Johnny's & Associates (a.k.a Johnny's Entertainment), the agency representing actor Takuya Kimura, who provides both the voice and likeness of protagonist Takayuki Yagami, refused to allow for a PC port to be made due to a dispute regarding Kimura's likenessnote . Fortunately, in September 2022, both games in the series were brought to PC.
- Despite the series branching out drastically, four home console Yakuza titles still have yet to make their way to non-PlayStation platforms, those being the Japan-exclusive samurai duo consisting of Ryū ga Gotoku Kenzan! (exclusive to PS3) and Ryū ga Gotoku Ishin! (PS3 and PS4), Yakuza: Dead Souls (PS3 only), and Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise (PS4 only). For the first case, both games were released at a time when the franchise's popularity outside Japan was in question, the former being a very early entry in the series and the latter being released at a time when Sega had lost faith in bringing Yakuza games overseas due to the failure of Dead Souls - given that PlayStation is the dominant line of consoles in Japan, it more than makes sense that they were exclusive since they never made it outside the country. In the second case, as stated prior, Dead Souls was a failure outside Japan and was almost singlehandedly blamed for nearly killing the franchise in the west, making it anything but surprising that it's been left untouched. Finally, in the third case, while Lost Paradise was released at the peak of the series' growth in worldwide recognition, it received significantly weaker reviews and fan reception than the rest of the games, which may have made Sega reluctant to bring it elsewhere. Ishin would receive a Remade for the Export treatment in 2023, but time will tell if this changes for the others.
- While certain films did receive Blu-ray releases, some titles are unfortunately stuck on DVD or perhaps even on VHS. In spite of Legend Films' efforts at remastering Shirley Temple's back catalogue, a high-def release seems out of the question at least for now.
- Ditto with Baby Peggy - Undercrank Productions' recent release of a restored version of The Family Secret is only on DVD, and that's in spite of the Library of Congress bringing up the film's quality to par with Charlie Chaplin re-issues.