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Is Microsoft doing enough to nurture its Xbox game franchises?

Quantum Break
Quantum Break (Image credit: Windows Central)

At the beginning of the current console generation, Xbox was slammed for selling a more-expensive, less-powerful system compared to Sony's PlayStation 4 (PS4), which output visuals at 1080p more consistently than Microsoft's offering. At the time, Kinect had been bundled with the Xbox One, pushing the price up by $100 with a peripheral many, particularly day-one buyers, didn't really care for. Later in the generation, Microsoft was able to pivot under new leadership from current Xbox Head Phil Spencer, delivering the Xbox One X, which shatters the competition in terms of raw power. As happy as it made pixel counters, Xbox still suffers from a fundamental issue.

Microsoft leans far too heavily on its Forza, Gears of War, and the Halo trifecta for its core platform-exclusive franchises, and while it has attempted numerous times to build new IP, virtually all of them have suffered from a litany of setbacks that ultimately led to them being shelved. Sony has been far more consistent with its portfolio, releasing hit after hit with no sign of slowing down. Nintendo is also ramping up on its industry-leading portfolio for the Nintendo Switch.

Scalebound

The awe-inspiring Scalebound got cancelled, for reasons unknown. (Image credit: Xbox)

Many of those shelved Xbox properties had vast potential, but the repeated misses has really tarnished Microsoft Studios (now Xbox Game Studios) as a brand, in terms of quality and reliability. Becoming a "fan" of any new game franchise Microsoft puts out lately has proved relatively fruitless and unrewarding. While fixing Microsoft's Xbox power problem was a relatively easy pivot for Redmond, given the industrial engineering prowess that exists within the company, fixing the content scenario will doubtless take far longer.

How did we get here, and are there any signs Microsoft wants to fix the situation?

ReCore, RYSE, Quantum Break, and many more

If there were awards for trying, Microsoft might be forgiven, but in this game, there are no trophies for second place. Microsoft started the generation with a relatively promising content spread, although many of the titles were poorly received, or outright canceled. RYSE: Son of Rome (opens in new tab) was a brief if beautiful action game built in partnership with Crytek. RYSE is among the best looking titles to hit the Xbox One, although the fact it had originally been built with heavy Kinect integration in mind may have been what led to it feeling a little disjointed. It was poorly received, but the solid story, underexplored Roman setting, and satisfying violence more than showcased its potential. With more future investment, that is.

There's a similar story attached to Quantum Break (opens in new tab), another title built in partnership with a third-party studio, this time Remedy, known for Max Payne and Alan Wake. Quantum Break is a personal favorite, owing to its Hollywood-level cast, intricate sci-fi plot, and cinematic combat. Yet again, relatively simplistic gameplay and divisive 20-minute live-action sequences hindered its reception. It's all the more painful that Quantum Break effectively ended on a cliffhanger, with many unresolved plot points.

ReCore (opens in new tab) too boasted solid platforming action and vibrant, memorable characters, but the relative scarcity of diverse content and janky launch state once again impacted early impressions. The game still generated a cult fanbase that yearns for a more realized sequel.

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There are plenty of other examples of games that Microsoft published in what might be considered an "underdeveloped" state, including Super Lucky's Tale (opens in new tab), Sea of Thieves (opens in new tab), Crackdown 3 (opens in new tab), the exclusive Dead Rising games, and State of Decay 2 (opens in new tab). Others that seemed to have potential, like Fable Legends, the Phantom Dust reboot, and Scalebound were outright canceled. On top of that, games that were actually solid, like Killer Instinct (opens in new tab), Sunset Overdrive (opens in new tab), and Halo Wars 2 (opens in new tab), became overlooked. Other examples of abandoned franchises include Lost Odyssey, Banjo Kazooie, Viva Pinata, and Project Spark.

Phantom Dust reboot is another canceled Xbox game.

Save for a few hit exclusive publishing relationships for games like Cuphead (opens in new tab) and Ori and the Blind Forest (opens in new tab), Microsoft simply hasn't been able to nail down a credible content strategy beyond HaloGearsForza.

A range of fresh studios and fresh vision

Last year, Microsoft opened its checkbook and began investing more heavily in exclusive content. Redmond picked up Ninja Theory, known for Hellblade; Undead Labs which has been working on State of Decay; Obsidian Entertainment of Fallout New Vegas fame; and of course, Playground Games, known for the Forza Horizon series. Microsoft also nabbed Compulsion Games known for We Happy Few, and InXile, who work on the apocalyptic Wasteland IP.

Exclusive content will be the difference maker.

Microsoft is rumored to be announcing further acquisitions at E3 2019, as it ramps up its platform-exclusive content strategy to do battle with big tech giants like Tencent and Google, who are building console-agnostic, cloud-based game streaming services. Microsoft has been able to keep up with PlayStation by offering alternative features like backward compatibility and more reliable 4K gaming, but for it to lose out on an entirely new category within its core cloud business raises the stakes to another level. In that world, exclusive content will be the difference maker, presuming all cloud services deliver a similar experience.

State of Decay

State of Decay 3 is in the cards. (Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft's investment in Undead Labs shows that it is confident enough to continue nurturing the State of Decay IP, which has long been a tale of unrealized potential. Undead Labs' stated goal for the franchise has always been a type of online multiplayer zombie apocalypse simulator, but the first game's engine simply couldn't support it, and the second game was tarnished by annoying multiplayer tethering issues and generally rough quality. Hopefully, with Microsoft's full backing, State of Decay 3 will become the game fans have been waiting for.

Microsoft also brought back the Age of Empires franchise from the dead, announcing Age IV a couple of years ago. We have yet to see the fruits of those efforts, but if there's one niche Microsoft should be able to nail it is hardcore PC strategy. Given that Xbox One also supports mouse and keyboard, there's no reason this title couldn't end up on Xbox in the future, too, and we've heard the title is receiving positive feedback from internal testers.

Microsoft has also shown interest in expanding its existing franchises, adding a free-to-play mobile variant of its Forza IP, known as Forza Street to its lineup, and a tactical PC strategy game to the Gears franchise, known as Gears Tactics. Properties like Halo have already born spinoffs like Halo Wars, but the diversity and complexity of the game's lore would lend itself well to virtually any type of game imaginable.

There are widespread rumors that Playground Games' second title it is working on alongside the next Forza Horizon entry could be a Fable reboot, following the closure of Lionhead Studios. There have also been mutterings about a possible Killer Instinct sequel. and Microsoft unexpectedly commissioned a new Battletoads game in partnership with Dlala Studios. And it is gearing up an all-new mysterious studio dubbed "The Initiative."

Perhaps the best recent example of Microsoft nurturing IP comes in the form of Sea of Thieves. The polarizing game showed clear potential from the outset, but lack of raw features and vertical progression alienated many gamers. Its focus on multiplayer sandbox shenanigans instead of structured content didn't resonate with many, but it found a passionate cult fanbase, which includes some of Twitch's biggest streamers. Microsoft and Rare have continued building the game out, providing a range of free content updates, with its biggest and most ambitious update set to drop at the end of April 2019.

Taking Xbox Game Studios to the next level

While Microsoft has_allowed a lot of its potential IP to die, the company has also shown that it is capable of reviving franchises from the dead, with the right partners. The same could hopefully be true of titles like Quantum Break, ReCore, and Phantom Dust, which have obvious potential. Sure, not every game needs a sequel, and there are plenty of business nuances and complexities that can prevent a game from launching "great," but I'm not sure there's a publisher out there with so many unrealized possibilities.

The time for relying on multiplatform games has passed.

Microsoft's portfolio has experienced growing pains as Xbox moved from the console industry leader in the previous generation to backseat driver. The time for relying on multiplatform games has passed, as tech giants loom over the untapped potential of connected edge computing as space for cloud gaming to grow.

Nintendo and Sony have far less cause for concern because they know their fans will always return for the exclusive games. If I can play every multiplatform game reliably on my phone or a tablet's web browser in the future, there aren't many reasons to invest in the Microsoft gaming ecosystem today. Microsoft knows this, which is why it is investing so heavily in its content spread for the future.

However, that doesn't placate fans who have spent the entire generation investing in characters and worlds, only for Microsoft to pull the plug. At E3 2019, Microsoft has an opportunity to show the world that it isn't just a great service provider and console maker, and that it is also capable of building artistic universes beyond Forza, Gears, and Halo — franchises that are worthy of its fanbase's long-term investment as we move into the next-generation.

Jez Corden is a Senior Editor for Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

37 Comments
  • There seems to be a culture within Microsoft that gives up on software and other products that don't immediately yield a large return. Getting feedback from users through Beta programs would have certainly help to develop those shelved games with updates. Now, I understand that things can happen, when collaborating with other studios. I personally love the Forza, Gears and Halo franchises, but I would like to see Microsoft include more exclusive content for its users. Considering Microsoft Studios is probably not manned enough to focus on developing exclusive titles themselves, they have to partner with other studios. This might be were some of the content issue comes in. I'm thinking that the partnerships probably don't workout, because MS wants the games exclusively for their system and the studios they partner with may only be willing to fulfill deals, unless the content can be multi-platform. Whatever the reason, Microsoft need to get more serious with exclusive content. Maybe, expand their studio staff to work on at least two new titles.
  • I would say that is the culture in tech as a whole. Google destroys standards (xmpp as an example) then just shutters the whole thing when there is no return. Corporations are bound by their shareholders. If shareholders are not seeing a return, either the product goes or the leadership. It's not a world I enjoy, but, that's the reality. It sucks.
  • > xmpp
    also, Android IOT, Nearby, etc. Sony? PSV, no support since 2016, then killed in March 2019. And storages and some niche products. Apple... they don't have much, Mac and iOS are the only 2 products Apple has.
    OEM / enthusiast support? Beloved product lines?
    * MS has VisualStudio, C#, Dx, Havok, Simplygon, Azure, AI, AR, MR, IOT, desktop, notebook, 2in1, WCOS, Mixer, Xbox, GitHub, TeamForge, Office and many other SW / API / dev tool / business solution, etc. Those are involved in Uncharted, Zelda, drone, vending machines, arcade cabinets, cashier, water meter, Nike, Walmart, Samsung, Toyota, LG, Sphero, Dubai, Singapore and many other fields.
  • @Vincent McLaughlin. It's not a culture but a mandated fiscal strategy that comes from the top down, it's key and only focus is shareholder value. As a result, Microsoft's share prices have gone up and their standing on the global spectrum across the board? Down the gutter, this race to the bottom of the barrel to scrounge up as many pennies as possible is only viable short term. It's not a viable nor sustainable long term strategy, I've this ages ago and as long Microsoft continues on this moronic fiscal strategy there won't be much left to derive any value from. As without Customers no business can thrive let alone survive and this is why Satya Nadella want's to become part of the infrastructure because it's easy money with lower turn over. But it's fundamentally flawed as Google, Amazon and Apple all want a slice of that pie not to mention Microsoft don't really make their own hardware - it's the ODMs that make Microsoft's hardware. Furthermore Microsoft fired the experienced engineers in the rounds of many layoffs in an attempt to save on the wage bill. Microsoft has become far too disjointed and lost sight what truly made them who they are today - their customers both Corportate and Public consumers. By penny pinching they have negated many avenues that facilated interaction with their customers - edge, cortana and the entire mobile sector; no having services on competitors platforms is no where close to replacing what they have lost. As they have zero ability for a circular ecosystem let alone direct hardware integration. Andromeda would have allowed them to do just that as it would have been primary nexus point for all the services ranging from home automation, cortana and most importantly, kept them relevant any mobile trend. Hololens, is far too much in the future and it needs a core base to even succeed, which inturn brings us back to UWP which is able to drive growth for current W10 apps and Mixed reality, but no Microsoft would rather chase unicorns with PWA. Where the infrastructure is not even in place at all and PWAs will never replace complex applications as the bandwidth requirements and latency factors alone render that useless - especially since Microsoft has zero cellular mobile device to leverage 5G. The more I look into a ecosystem based around Surface Headphones, the more I see the gaping hole Microsoft dug themselves by axing the entire mobile division. However, this is not the only whole they left either by not providing adequate resources to the Edge team has meant that Microsoft has enabled Google to dictate Web Standards and that is loss for everyone. In terms of sets, it's a massive loss in terms of productivity. In my new job, I am required to interact with 8 different applications and CRMs all running concurrently. It's ridiculously, who ever set it up has no concept of logistical efficiency of information and awareness ramifications a few seconds causes in the long term when it comes to relaying said information to any customer. That could have been overcome using Sets and Virtual desktops but... since no Sets... it will be a nightmare to use. Albeit sets would have been a bandaid it still would have enabled "people to do more" and be more "productive". So, yeah the loss of sets flys in the face of the CEO's favourite mantra - empowering people to do more and achieve more.
  • If it's something fun, and exciting,,, probably not... 🙄
  • Lately I've been playing a lot of State of Decay 2, which has clearly received a lot of polish and changes since its launch (and is still receiving new updates from Undead Labs.) Even my girlfriend, who has never been the biggest gamer beyond occasional Call of Duty, Minecraft, and Binding of Isaac, has sunk a lot of hours into this game. If Microsoft spent the resources to acquire Undead Labs, I should hope the next State of Decay will realize the potential of the second one, especially since I haven't played a game quite like State of Decay 2 in, well, forever. There are a ton of other games and IP's Microsoft could capitalize on, as well as forming new relationships with studios to battle this annoying wave of exclusive content on multiplatform games.
  • I know we've been here before but hear me out. I think it's the perfect time to acquire Sega from Sammy if possible. Being able to eventually exploit back catalogs of games is going to be a major plus for Sony and Nintendo. If XGS gets Sega they can capitolize on their portfolio plus get Japan cred and not to mention Atlus. Amazon and Google are real threats...
  • Microsoft's biggest mistake was not acquiring Sega right after the Dreamcast got killed and they were almost begging for a takeover. It would've been much cheaper back then. Huge missed opportunity. Imagine if they had Sega's IP catalog and their development teams from the Dreamcast era, which were absolutely on fire at the time, cranking out critical hit after critical hit.
  • Maybe they should start using the IPs that they already have before trying to buy even more IPs.
  • I second this idea. Allen Wake 2 needs to happen.
  • Project spark was a money pit. People don’t actually want games to make games it seems, as it happens every time. People figure out making games is hard even with drag and drop tools Microsoft attempted to purchase Ryse, Crytek wouldn’t sell Crimson skies and the FASA franchises like mech warrior were sold Phantom Dust was released free. The real problem is that they kept putting people who weren’t and didn’t understand games in charge. Thr X1 OS was written by the Windows division, who left out many system level options like invert y that were on 360. They also reinvented the wheel where it didn’t need to be. In theory this mistake won’t happen again, knock wood
  • To be honest, the Xbox One O/S was in reality three different o/ses mashed together. So it was disjointed plus throw in the underwhelming soc and capped resources for kinect it was a recipe for a vile development environment. Fast forward to today, the xbox division has been working closely with AMD on the silicon level and the primary indicator of this work is backwards compatibility as it is no easy feat. However, there are other mitigating factors when it comes to lack of IP development and that is because budget decisions which are not set by Phil Spencer. It's an edict that comes from the top, shareholder value is Microsoft CEO's only and sole focus. The reason being is that it makes his life easier and he doesn't have to face tough questions because the shareholders won't raise issues if their shareprices keeps going up. BUT, that is not a sustainable long term policy as it is damaging staff morale, productivity and projects such as Xbox IP development. There are other nuances involved, which I won't say in the event I make xbox divison's life more difficult then it currently has become.
  • To answer your question: NO. Straight up NO. As an xbox fan, i am so ******* disappointed at how they treat their first party games. Through history of xbox, it has done nothing but disenfranchise fans from potential franchise games just because they cannot sell a lot of units. I can possibly count about 10 of them as far back as the original xbox that never got any love from microsoft. Blinx, Kameo, Conker (bought Rare for nothing), Banjoe and Kazoie, Perfect Dark, Brute Force, MechAssault, Project Gotham Racing, Ryse, Alan Wake, Quantum Break, Fable, Sunset Overdrive, and 70 percent of this, i was sold into the story and hope that i will see another adventure of Kameo, or See alan Wake write another novel, or QB guy travel to the future, or another mayhem in Sunset city. I am just so sick of microsoft pulling this **** for the past decade, I got myself a Switch for Franchise, and xbox for everything else. At least I know Mario, Zelda, and others will keep coming back even if htey take longer to make. The issue here is that most of their games has no replayability. It's like microsoft studios has the talent to create games, but not create puzzles and engaging stories. All of the video games tend to be one shot and shelved kind of games. They tend to just focus on one Franchise and its Halo. And TBH, im getting sick of that game. At this point in the lifetime of Xbox, if they only kept up with franchises, they should already have their own version of Super Smash brothers.
  • and that half ass phantom dust. Wtf was that ****.
  • To: onysi - you are so right on the money (about MS not nurturing their existing franchises). Take Alan Wake, for example. I love that game as much as any in the last 2 console generations. We got one small (but good) downloadable game, American Nightmare and then nothing. Not to knock Sony at all (I am a fan) but their exclusives amount to (mostly) a few third person, single player action titles (great games, no doubt): Spider-Man, God of War, Last of Us, and Horizon: Zero Dawn. I wish MS could list 4 exclusive titles that could match their quality and popularity.
  • Scalebound. The on stage demo on e3... look bad.
    Game was built with 30 years old programming concept / tech. There was no trace of foot IK implementation, not even the simplest, most basic one. It was a ps1 era game with better graphics.
    MS prob need to invest another 30~50 millions, for another 3 years.
  • I really enjoyed Ryse, Quantum Break, Project Spark, and Crackdown 3 and thought they were way underrated by reviewers. I passed on ReCore because it seemed grindy and not very focused on narrative, and I passed on State of Decay 2 because it seemed to be not my genre (i.e. more focused on simulation and survival mechanics rather, compared to Dead Rising anyway). But maybe I should check them out since I have Game Pass. I love what they've done with Sea of Thieves. And I'm excited about the new IP they've picked up (Hellblade, The Outer Worlds, and We Happy Few, in particular). Those all have potential too. They have a lot of great IP in their catalog that are ripe for a comeback (like Perfect Dark), but, I'm actually more excited about new IP they could make instead.
  • Recore is not really grindy in my mind, but is challenging. It's a great RPG and even better after it was rereleased and fully complete. Easily one of my favorites and nothing else exactly like it
  • No. No they are not. I'm pretty sure the XBone has had more console SKUs than first party exclusive games.
  • Microsoft needs to partner with Sega again if they want to get the Asian market again like they did during 360 and OG Xbox. And they really need more compelling single player exclusives that has iconic characters on the level of Master Chief.
  • Asia market?
    Console business in Japan is dying (dropping YoY).
    Korea, Taiwan and China, are dominated by PC and mobile. Gaming market share in Asia :
    Mobile >> PC >>>>> console. Games that have a global appeal e.g. FF, Dragon Ball will come to Xbox anyway.
  • "Gaming market share in Asia :
    Mobile >> PC >>>>> console."
    Do you have links about this? I'm curious.
  • We bought the data from various venders across continents, it's confidential. I can tell you who we bought it from tho.
    And we have market research team doing our own paid-market-researches, sometimes they team up with other studios' too. Mobile >> PC >>>>> console."
    If you understand Chinese, Taiwanese and Japanese culture / mindset, plus, if you actually read news and forums from different regions... This is obviously true.
    Don't you know console market is shrinking in Japan, like YoY? Countries other than Japan, don't really dig consoles. Do you know why Capcom hired a western director doing DMC? Why Yakuza's only on PS? Why Dragon Ball and FF have the budget to go multiplat?
    * I speak 4 languages, lived in 5 different countries and now in Japan.
  • Content creation has never been one of Microsoft's strong points. In contrast, Sony has decades of experience in film, music, narratives, storytelling, etc.
  • I think Quantum Break had some decent foundations for a first in the series. I could see a sequel being a critically acclaimed title, through learning from past mistakes. The first Uncharted was no way near as good as the sequel. Also one franchise they need to bring back from the dead is Freelancer
  • Is this a serious question?!? Hell to the no they don't. Just look at the sheer number of titles they release. Where the hell is AoE3?
  • https://www.ign.com/games/age-of-empires-iii
  • Lol! Sorry, got the number wrong. AoE4?
  • They have some great old IP they could revitalize and use, but prefer to look forward, not backwards (I would kill to get a full XBox1X native 4K version of Crimson Skys!)
    The whole Digital OneS seems to have been a panicked reaction to Google Stradia, not a well thought out product launch.
    I guess they can't see the forest for the gushing torrents of Azure Cloud money pouring in on them faster than they can figure out what to do with it.
    We shall see what E3 brings as announcements.
  • Digital1s is cheaper. It's designed for potential GamePass subscribers. Stadia... What kinda business model will Google choose?
    Pay upfront? Kids must pay $60+ before they can join their favorite Youtubers?
    Subscription business model? AAA on day1?
    Overlay ads business model? AAA on day1? Can ads cover electricity bills generated by better-than-highest-tier-consumer-gaming-HW? Free of charge for devs? Can I use 10 CPUs/GPUs per game session?
    Can Google convince devs, to support Stadia Linux distro? Steam has failed... no?
    Without local solutions e.g. XPA, xvc equivalent, can you stream gaming everywhere you go? How about, on a bullet train? On a plane? In a basement of some café or restaurant? When can we human expect some cheap, reliable, uncapped, fast internet everywhere we go, across continents?
    Where's outatime, kahawai, touch API, font API equivalent?
    Who owns more servers and undersea cables, Google or MS?
    Google has dropped many services and products over the years, how long will Stadia survive?
  • Stadia will survive as long as it provides a steady stream of personal data on it's users for Google to sell to the highest bidder.
    Just like ever other Google endevour, the moment it no long provides a valuable revenue stream, they will unceremoniously kill it off.
    They will rapidly iterate it, improving it at a breakneck pace, until it is no longer "hot" or it's user-base begins to drop-off.
    The only reason they are even doing it is because GAMING is now 4 times as large in revenue as MOVIES. You don't ignore that kind of market.
    They will tie it as closely as possible to their other products: You-Tube, Search, Google-Assistant, Google-Shopping, etc. to keep other innovators at bay (like they always do) constantly changing the APIs so others can't hop on the bus with them, and demand a 30% cut of the proceeds from all transactions just like Apple does.
    I expect it will last about 4 years, maximum before they "upgrade it" with something that mines even more data from the users.
  • "Digital1s is cheaper. It's designed for potential GamePass subscribers."
    Not by a lot. Plus the XB1s and XB1x are also both designed for "potential GamePass subscribers".
    The XB1sad edition has nothing more than a normal XB1s that sells at around $210 at retailers...
  • Officially, 1s-all-digital is priced $50 cheaper than 1s-wz-disc.
    Retail price is another thing.
  • For me, MS's exclusives this generation was disastrous.
    Yes, there were few bright spots like Ori which was imo their best game this gen.
    I'll never consider 3rd party timed games like Cuphead, RoTR, Dead rising or even Ryse 'XB exclusives'. These are actually examples of anti-gaming and anti-gamers policy. Where MS pays to delay a game on other platforms and try to make it sound like a lifetime exclusive. MS managed to have high rated popular yearly Forza games. Even though earlier in the generations they used to have loads of microtransactions and even lootbox. Nowadays they don't have lootbox bit the microtransactions comes in the form of VIP membership. Besides that the usual Halo and Gears had their worse rated main games ever this generation with Halo 5 removing an historical feature like split-screen after initially promising that the game would have it. Personally I did enjoy a game like QB but besides that it was a real disaster with projects getting cancelled and studio closing. We had a game like crackdown 3 was delayed multiple time just to be released as a low rated game that was massively downgraded. Rare made a kinect game, released a collection of port of old games and then released SoT what looked like a early access grind fest that had laughable problems like that fake Kraken.
    SoD2 which was sold as a AAA game had loads of bugs at launch and was really similar to. The good news is that it looks like they may be investing more in making games. Buying small 2nd and 3rd party studios and creating a new studio "The Initiative". The fear is ofc whether these studios will have creative freedom. Yes, Ninja theory and MS published a video saying that MS promised 100% freedom... but many studios say similar thing and praise the new parent company when they are bought. I have questions about Undead labs though when MS already said they are expecting SoD3.
    At this stage, I'll just wait and see. The problem I see is MS's obsession for service. And this "games as a service". Games could be designed around a service like "game pass". Where games are pushed in the collection and then slowly slowly content is added to try to get players to keep paying the $15 / month. In the past MS showed us that they can do great thing and also the worse things. I'm hoping for the best with these studios.
    To answer the question by Jez: No I don't think they are. But I'm hoping this will all change. People (mostly MS/XB fans) seem to have a lot of hope on Spencer. People tend to put all the blame around Mattrick once he left the company (I don't remember MS/XB fans trashing him or the XB E3 2013 back then), but we should not forget that Spencer was part of the top executives of xbox for a very long time. He was very much part of 2013 and with statements like "Power is a subjective term".
    Personally, I think his time at the head of Xbox was disastrous.
    Anyway But I hope he does great things in the future and justify the amount of praise he is getting from his fans... Also talking of AOE4, I don't mind them having the game on XB consoles but it would be horrible if they try to change the core game and add controller support.
    I'm still hoping it'll release soon. Spencer talked about not announcing games too early. The more the time pass the more he'll sound like he was talking more bs...
  • I hope Xbox games don't start supporting mouse and keyboard without supporting controllers as well. Last thing I want is being worried if a game will or won't have controller support. If it's on console, then it should support joystick, even if it's age of empires
  • Then in that case I don't want AOE4 to be on XB1.
    The last thing this franchise needs is we move away from what made it popular.
    AOE is a RTS game. It's best played with mouse and keyboard.
    I think they should try to stick to what made 2 such a popular game. Just build on previous games. And when I say build I say improve it; don't add microtransactions and weird pay2win modes.
  • However bad Microsoft is, EA is worse. Nobody tops EA for watering down or killing franchises.