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Should Microsoft stop announcing release dates for its Xbox games so early?

Starfield Art Cropped
Starfield Art Cropped (Image credit: Bethesda Softworks)

The delay of Starfield and Redfall pushed back Bethesda's first two Xbox console-exclusive titles since being purchased by Microsoft. The move has left a gap in Xbox's 2022 lineup and left many fans disappointed. It's also the latest example of the gaming industry promising a release date, but being left unable to deliver.

Of course, games are delayed for a variety of factors. Developers, artists, and those that work on titles all put in an incredible amount of effort over several years to launch a new game. But the reality is that games often get delayed, so we'd like to know if Microsoft should take a different approach.

In this week's poll, we'd like to know how you think Microsoft should announce upcoming games.

Microsoft and other game publishers have taken a variety of approaches to announce games. Some titles, such as those in the Forza series are usually announced when they're close to finished, releasing just a few months later. This is a more cautious approach that results in almost no delayed titles but doesn't create hype or allow a company to place an item on a public roadmap.

Other titles, such as the Fable reboot and Perfect Dark, were announced without a specific release date. This approach allows people to get excited about the game without tying a company to a release window.

Companies probably won't want to emulate the launch of Halo Infinite, even if the game itself is highly rated. Microsoft announced the game in 2018, announced a release window a year later, then delayed the game all the way to 2021. Even after release, Halo Infinite lacks support for multiplayer campaign co-op and Forge, among other key features.

Should the company set firm dates? Should it announce games without any promises? Should team Xbox wait to announce games until just before they launch? Let us know in this week's poll and explain your reasoning in the comments below.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).

20 Comments
  • Tbh, I think that's a question for the whole video game industry, not only Microsoft.
  • This, companies should stop announcing release dates period, and just show a game when they expect it to release within the next year. Or just follow the motto of vintage Remedy and just have a release date of "when it's done".
  • Exactly what I was going to say. The best thing that happened to this industry in the last years was the release of Apex Legends. Games should be released when they're done and that's it.
  • Maybe companies should only announce once they go gold
  • Didn't work for Cyberpunk.
  • They called it gold but cyberpunk was closer to tin than gold.
  • Fools gold. 😜🤣 3 word min...
  • I kinda like what guerilla from Sony did when they announce Horizon Forbidden West. Gameplay demo instead of cinematics. Then a few months later the game came out. More action, less talk. Quality not quantity.
  • Damned if they do, damned if they don't. There is literally no answer that will suffice.
  • I like to know what's on the horizon but delay all you need. We don't need half-baked games, might as well not release them at all.
  • This is industry wide.... almost every major AAA game the past 2 years has been delayed at least 1x. Bethesda is still 100% in control of their development & publishing, it was Tod Howard's decision to have the dates in there. Phil even asked him if he was sure he wanted to do that. 1. Announcement & teaser CGI trailer >2 years away
    2. Gameplay trailer 1 year away
    3. 10-30 min game walkthrough & date 6 months away (bug fixes remaining only)
  • They need a higher standard of production for their teams. It's not that MS needs to stop announcing dates, it's that they need to have a better understanding of expectations. If a game or a team is missing deadlines, that's something that can be understood and forgiven. MS either is unreasonable or their dev takes have universally deficient talent. Everyone but Playground with Forza Horizon and The Coalition with Gears is late--in most cases by a year or more. IMO, that's a culture issue where MS either expects too much of their staff or they are spineless with their deadlines. Looking at how much 343 has gotten away with in failing to do ANYTHING right or on time, I kind of think the latter.
  • One of the greatest video game surprises was Unravel 2 because it just appeared at E3 and was available the same day. And the game was crazy polished on release. We don't need to be drip fed details and release schedules for years, just show us something that's going to drop within a year and then release it when it's ready. I don't care about what game is coming out in 3 or 5 years time, I just don't. I care about what I can play next month, or in the next six months.
  • Agreed. The closer to release the better, and if it's revealed at release, that's even better
  • I don't disagree, but for games in a franchise that are highly anticipated, like the next Elder Scrolls, it's effectively announced years ahead of time, whether they say anything or not. Similarly, for public companies, they do need to give some guidance to analysts and shareholders, which will then be public news regardless.
  • Release windows, not dates. 1st half 2023 , 2nd half 2023, etc
  • I wouldn't be surprised if GamePass would work better with a different marketing cycle. Nintendo and Sony, and most of the games industry keeps a cycle similar to the movie industry. They take their time to built hype for a few titles they believe have potential to became blockbuster. GamePass is more like Netflix, they have to be sure there are a flux of new titles to keep the subscribers interested in the service. As such, they might be better serviced with short term marketing campaigns.
  • If Microsoft don't provide expected release dates then there will be people who complain about that. If they announce these dates and release the games in an unfinished state then there will be people who complain about that. If they announce the dates and then delay the release because the games are unfinished then there are people who will complain about that. In many cases, it would be the same people complaining in all three cases. The fact is that we all want perfect games immediately and nothing less will stop the criticism and probably not even that. For some people, their very livelihood depends on making and stoking that criticism. You can't please all of the people all of the time but I think that more transparency is generally better and intended release dates are a part of that. If delays are going to happen, the sooner we know about them the better, because the level of disappointment will increase with the proximity of a delay announcement to the intended release date.
  • I think they should complete the game, polishing and everything.....game goes gold.
    And then announce the release date of 1-2 months later.
  • That might work in some hippie utopia but not the capitalist world we actually live in.