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Xbox can play the long game with its exclusive titles, but not forever

What arguably started in 2016 with the cancellation of Fable Legends, and then compounded by the cancellation of Scalebound, Microsoft's exclusive game lineup has been under a microscope lately.

It doesn't help that its primary competitor, PlayStation, seems to have been pumping out critically-acclaimed, photorealistic game after game, with Bloodborne, Horizon Zero Dawn, and most recently, God of War, among others. Microsoft has a few wins under its belt too, with titles like Gears of War 4 and Forza Horizon 3, but it often feels like many of the games Microsoft is shipping are smaller in scope, both visually, and in terms of actual gameplay content.

What has been going on at Microsoft Studios recently, and is it going to change? Let's take a look.

Microsoft has heard the criticisms

Xbox E3

Microsoft gaming lead Phil Spencer. (Image credit: Windows Central)

It's important to note at the outset here that Microsoft has heard the recent criticisms over its first party titles loud and clear. Gaming lead Phil Spencer agrees that the division needs more RPGs, that Xbox needs more support from Japanese developers, and that ultimately, the company wants to invest in building new, deep experiences.

Microsoft has heard the recent criticisms over its first party titles loud and clear.

On a personal note, I haven't been particularly happy with Microsoft's first party efforts. While I really enjoyed Ryse and Quantum Break, I felt as though they would come into their own once the studio addressed feedback in a sequel. Those sequels are probably never coming. I'm not a huge fan of Halo (sorry), nor am I a big fan of racing games like Forza. I'm a huge Gears fan, but I'm starting to get tired of the linear, no-exploration-allowed format that the series is known for.

Sea of Thieves launched to mixed reviews.

Sea of Thieves launched to mixed reviews.

I was massively excited for Sea of Thieves, but somehow convinced myself that the final product would have more meat to it. I find its emphasis on cosmetic items to be a lacklustre gameplay hook, and recent online games like Monster Hunter: World simply offer far more depth and activities from a co-operative gameplay perspective. I enjoyed ReCore for what it is, but the game was lacking in many ways. I'm looking forward to State of Decay 2 and Crackdown 3, but my experience with other recent Microsoft titles has convinced me that I should temper my expectations.

A lot of Microsoft's biggest wins seem to have been exclusive publishing bets on artistic titles like Ori and the Blind Forest, and most recently Cuphead – and that's great, but when Xbox's biggest competition is offering much larger games with Hollywood-level production values, you can understand why some Xbox fans have become anxious about the direction Microsoft has been taking Xbox as of late.

How did we get here?

Xbox & PlayStation Consoles

Xbox & PlayStation Consoles (Image credit: Windows Central)

Clearly Microsoft doesn't want to give Sony or other competitors an advantage where possible. The 4K Xbox One X is a direct response to early criticisms of the original Xbox One being underpowered, and Microsoft has been a leader at improving and refining the operating system itself. I believe that the current issues surrounding games represents of lack of foresight, bad luck, and poor gambles.

Recently, Microsoft re-organized itself, cutting out former Windows & Devices chief Terry Myerson, while elevating Phil Spencer and the gaming operation to the senior leadership table. Windows itself has now been cannibalized by other divisions, splitting it under a new "Experiences & Devices" unit under Executive Vice President Rajesh Jha and the "Cloud and AI" group under Scott Guthrie. Surface creator Panos Panay is now the company's chief product officer, and since last year, Phil Spencer truly leads the charge for gaming, for the first time.

I'm not going to sit here and claim to know all the nuances, business decisions, and constraints suffered by Xbox and the Windows team in the years leading up to this point, but ex-Xbox lead Don Mattrick, and ex-Windows chief Terry Myerson are frequently blamed by people I speak to within the company for the issues faced by Xbox today.

Don Mattrick is often blamed for the negative response to the Xbox One reveal in 2013.

Don Mattrick is often blamed for the negative response to the Xbox One reveal in 2013.

I've been told that the budget for exclusive publishing deals, which previously led to games like Quantum Break and Ryse, has been low, and Xbox has been using the budget it does have to place an emphasis on other areas. With Spencer leading the charge, answering directly to CEO Satya Nadella, this should now change – but it's going to take time. I've heard that big budget games are definitely on the cards.

The cash Microsoft has spent on products like Mixer.com might not seem hugely worthwhile today, but they're important developments for a future where high-speed internet access is ubiquitous. One day, Amazon could simply wade into the market, offer low-latency game streaming to an Amazon TV fire stick, and disrupt gaming as we know it. The console under your TV isn't going to matter forever, and Microsoft's insistence on setting up data centers and dedicated internet access across the globe is part of fending off this threat from Amazon and other cloud-minded companies. Mixer lays the groundwork for personal streaming video and game controls over the internet to any of your devices, while simultaneously building a streaming entertainment platform genre that hasn't peaked in terms of user growth and interest.

Mixer.com is a bet for the future.

Mixer.com is a bet for the future.

In a perfect world, we might have both quality exclusive games and features, and that certainly seems to be the goal Xbox is now working towards. Notes in Microsoft's recent investors call emphasized that operating costs across the entire company were going to increase, due to an uptick in gaming investment.

It might be of little comfort to people who want those photorealistic action games right now, but it's important to understand that Xbox, as a business, has to take these external "bigger picture" threats more seriously – particularly when Xbox has hundreds of amazing multiplatform titles driving its growth.

What the future looks like

Image 1 of 2

Image 2 of 2

Those PlayStation single-player exclusives might be getting all the press attention and Metacritic accolades, but from a business perspective, they aren't as important as people might want to believe. It might sound counter intuitive, but you don't make money in the console game by selling consoles alone. This is why Microsoft has made its line up available on both PC and Xbox moving forward – the platform across Windows 10-based devices is built to sell software and services, not specifically hardware. Consoles themselves have wafer-thin margins, and should be seen as an entry to the wider Xbox software and service ecosystem across both PC and consoles. Particularly as the generation comes to a close, Microsoft doesn't need to rely on exclusives to sell entry to its ecosystem, because hot multiplatform titles like Fortnite, PUBG, Far Cry 5, and staples like Call of Duty have been doing the heavy lifting. Unless something goes drastically wrong, I'd say it's a fair bet that Red Dead Redemption 2 will sell more consoles for both Xbox and PlayStation than any "exclusive" game this year.

While it isn't a big issue now, it will become one in the near future if Xbox doesn't fix it.

That's could be why during the budget-light years, Microsoft's focus has been on multiplayer titles, "games as a service" with rolling updates, and subscription fees, like Xbox Live and Xbox Game Pass. Upselling services to players invested in the platform it does have provides a healthier return than building a huge Hollywood-style blockbuster single player game, particularly when Microsoft's third-party partners are doing the same thing anyway, often with better visuals on Windows PCs and the Xbox One X. My backlog on Xbox is insufferably large, it's not like the console has "no games" as some like to claim.

Xbox console sales are up year-over-year, despite the criticisms from mainstream press and core fans on social media over the games issue. Would they be up even more if Xbox had titles like God of War under its belt? No doubt, but considering the constraints placed on Xbox in recent times, they are positioned well to fix this issue. It's completely fair to criticize the upper echelons of pre-re-org Microsoft for not recognizing the need for Xbox to be better in this area sooner. While it isn't a big issue now, it will become one in the near future if Xbox doesn't fix it.

If cloud streaming and Game Pass-style subscription services are the future, exclusives are going to become critical to the success of Xbox moving forward. If every cloud subscription service has equal performance (and sure, they may well not, but assuming they do), it'll be exclusive content and features that dictate where you subscribe. Think Amazon Prime Video vs. Netflix Original programming.

In a perfect world, Microsoft would have major exclusives for every month of the year hitting Game Pass to keep subscriptions rolling. I have been told that Sea of Thieves' retail sales were boosted through Game Pass via streaming services. The virality helped push the game to number 1 on Twitch, which in turn led to sales.

Of course, the likelihood of getting major "AAA"-quality games for every calendar month is far-fetched at best, but big updates for exclusives, episodic games, and deals with third-parties can certainly help to plug the gap. Keeping people locked into the ecosystem will serve Microsoft's gaming efforts as the industry moves deeper into the cloud. Theoretically, subscriptions could also lead to a wider diversification of content too, as seen with Netflix. I don't think any company is better placed to achieve this in gaming right now.

Playing the long game: but not forever

Despite the noise, Microsoft can afford to play the long game with getting its exclusive line-up in order, but certainly not forever. Sony has its own fledgling streaming service known as PS Now, and rumors about Google, TenCent, and Amazon getting into the game have been swirling for some time.

Xbox has been using its resources to help fend off these future threats from the big tech companies. It will take time, but with the re-organization in place, I am confident that Xbox is extremely well positioned to grow out an exclusive lineup that fans crave, and future fans will desire. Believe it: Xbox is in it to win it.

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!

55 Comments
  • Thanks for reading. There are various other matters and points of view not covered by this piece, but I wanted to keep it slim for the sake of brevity. Microsoft as a company is positioning itself for the next iteration of computing and Xbox/gaming is going to be a huge pillar in that ecosystem. And IN that ecosystem, obviously, exclusive software and features are going to be important. Microsoft knows it, and I think Xbox is well placed to deliver, we've already seen them setting up the parts it needs with Matt Booty's promotion, and the hiring of ex-Crystal Dynamics studio head Darrell Gallaggher. It'll take time, but Xbox is definitely not going to keel over due to a few exclusive games.
  • I hear you but I take it as a warning sign. I've been expecting articles like this to pop up. Sure, a few games won't finish off Xbox but isn't this the way Microsoft always starts this process? It feels eerily similar to the way things started to fall apart with the rest of Microsoft's consumer facing products, especially when content problems are featuring large. Before we know it MS execs will be saying things like 'we're focussing on Xbox for the fans', 'don't worry, we're going to improve things by retrenching a bit' and 'we have Sony and Nintendo, does the world really need a third games platform?'. If we see MS games starting to turn up on other platforms like PS, Switch, Steam etc. next then I think that'll confirm the pattern is being followed yet again. No wonder WMR VR headset compatibility with the so-called 'VR Ready' new Xboxes has been suspiciously absent. Heck, they've made their headsets compatible with Valve's competing games service already but complete silence on their own Xbox platform getting the promised VR functionality. This is all too familiar... and all too depressing. I'm sure that if Apple and Google had proper gaming platforms we'd be seeing WMR rushed out for them as well in preference to Xbox. I truly hope I am wrong, but let's face it, we've all hoped that same thing time and again with MS and we've ALWAYS been let down. Never the less, I have everything crossed and am hoping against hope one more time. I'm buying games from the Store (SoD2), I'm investing in WMR, I still believe. Let's hope Ol' Nads gets distracted by some new shiny before his latest MS retrenching changes take a big bite out of one of their last surviving consumer focussed product lines.
  • Allegedly Xbox VR was delayed until a $299 wireless headset was practical. Given the intense allergy to wires we see crop up constantly among under 30s, it’s likely the right move.
  • ^^^^this
  • My problem with this article is this. Microsoft's management should be the ones telling their fanbase what the next step is for their gaming division...not freelance fanboys fantasizing about future final products. The end result of articles like this is that they give people false hope and only lead to missed expectations. If you really want to help Microsoft and if you really care about Xbox as a brand, demand more transparency from the management team! Stop guessing about what they are going to do next. Stop curtailing your frustration with blind optimism. If their management team was focused on gaming as much as you are focused on damage-control, Xbox would essentially be as good as PlayStation. Do better next time. And if you are going to name drop executives, it might be good to actually get an interview from one of them next time.
  • When you cancel games like Fable Legends and Scalebound that tends to piss off many Xbox fans. Including myself as I'm a big Fable fan.
  • signs point to the return of fable.
  • As an exclusive, Fable would have likely sold me a console. As it stands I've got a PS4, a switch, a PC and no plan to ever buy an xbone.
  • Scalebound... the game with ps2 era tech (look at that ugly static keyframe animation with no basic foot IK), looked bad on stage and prob worse off stage.
    If you were MS, would you want to spend another 4, 5 billion dollars for PG to run for another 3~4 years?
    They had multiple projects running at the same time too, remember Ninja Turtle?
    Scalebound might become the 2nd The Last Guardian if MS choose to continue. 10 years in development, sold around 1~2m copies and get laughed by Sony fan boys... a joke in the xbox history. Fable Legends had modern tech and better visual representation but didn't have a good review...
  • If you talk to people who played it in the closed beta, virtually all of them say the same thing: In a nutshell Fable Legends was boring. When placed up against other MOBA games like SMITE it was seriously lacking, especially because it’s primary gimmick, play the villain was something no one played or liked. So if I had to guessinstead of blowing tens of millions finishing, marketing, and hoping people dump F2P cash in, they canned the game. Allegedly it’s assets have been turned over to people making an actual new Fable game, which is suspected to be PlayGround games, which should acccelerate it’s development, but I’d be very surprised to see it before next fall. Though an episodic Fable game on Game Pass might be. Just the ticket to keep people coming back. By all accounts, Scalebound had similar issues. Platinum was not able to make a game of the scale and complexity they envisioned. They specialize in fairly simplistic, high quality finely tuned beat em ups, not epic open world games with exponentially more systems running under the hood. So does Microsoft want to spend another year, and tens of millions of dollars finishing the game, marketing it and distributing it, or cut their losses on something that would be unfavorably compared in the end to FFXV, Horizon, and likely, which they might have been aware of, Monster Hunter? So you take that money, and put it into things that might make money. A new AAA game is typically 3-4years to produce, so thr things that Spencer would have put into production after the initial housecleaning when he took over would just now be reaching fruition. Frankly from the look of things, I would have canned Crackdown 3, which for all we know has been completely trashed and rebuilt. Something tells me, pure speculation, that it’s been extensively overhauled and the Azure physics engine bit of it isn’t nearly as important as it once was.
  • As a game programmer.
    I think the true values came outta Mixer are
    1. xbox game / live integration. (who knows, one day a streamer might be able to yell "legendary axe!! who wants to trade?" during a game session. Viewers can then offer an in-game item from their inventory and trade)
    2. Streamer can get a cut promoting a MsStore product.
    3. gaming community
    4. e-sports business.
    5. co-streaming Game streaming... till one day we can stream on Shinkansen or on a plane with 0 lags (with fair price). "Gaming revenue increased by 18 percent, to $2.25 billion,"
    If I'm not mistaken, Sony's game division generated... roughly $1.6 billion last quarter? * Users' investment (game lib and saves) is important.
    * Community features & e-sports business. infrastructure is also an important investment. It's the long term income.
    * Building infrastructure (and synergy between products) is time consuming but indeed important if you are building an ecosystem. Exclusives are bonus. Before the infra's done, exclusives are lesser important in comparison. Esp if it's a 1 time purchase. And it's risky. How many exclusives sold 1 or 2m copies? The Last Guardian took 10 years and...
  • Agree completely, you're 100% right, Mixer seems like a good prioritization to make while Microsoft moved towards this re-org, might be a pain point now, but it's going to pay off massively and lead to a healthier business to ensure Xbox's long-term sustainability, and ultimately, provide Xbox fans with the quality content and services they deserve.
  • Really? I barely use my XB1 as it is, my PS4 gets 95% of the love. Streaming games and selling some crap I got in a game holds precisely zero interest to me. I like story games, like Quantum Break - unfortunately that was pretty much the last one, where as PS4 has the uncharted series, Last of us series, Heavy rain, beyond 2 souls and new games imminent from the makers of those games. What games have the XB1 got? Oh yet another shoot, yet another racer - boooring!
  • Then move on. Clearly, having mentioned the Last of Us, Heavy Rain and Beyond 2 Souls, you don't actually like 'games' at all. Sell the Xbox One and buy a Blu-Ray player if you really enjoy randomly pressing buttons to get a slightly different cutscene. Only, make sure it supports 4k Blu-Rays, eh?
  • What bs!! LOL
    See, that's the problem with you guys. You don't accept diversity in games. I love all the three games. The way you actually mention TLOU shows that you probably didn't even play it. Diversity in lineup is very important. And that's probably one of the reason PS4 is so much more popular than XB1 according to estimations...
  • "you guys", "TLOU"
    I didn't buy TLOU but I accept it, it's doing OK. Other games like Super Robot War, The Last Guardian and Nioh are doing meh tho... "Diversity in lineup is very important. And that's probably one of the reason PS4 is so much more popular than XB1"
    True, Dragon Quest is important in Japan, it pushed ps4 sells, but most people who're into DQ aren't interested in other games. HW grow, SW...
    As a multiplat, Monster Hunter World is important in Japan (not just World, the IP Monster Hunter is huge in Japan), it also pushed more ps4, but majority of those newcomers will play only that game (people bought PSP, PSV, DS for MH isn't a joke).
    As long as THERE'S game people wanna play, exclusive or not... doesn't seem to matter.
  • They have those games on ps4. The more games the better, but what good multi player games does ps4 have over the xbox. Ps4 is lacking just as much if not more in the multi player space. There's basically zero diversity in ps4 mp line up. Hell their fastest selling game has zero mp capabilities.
  • This^
  • Don mostly got blamed by the overly negative gaming media for the wrong reasons and the people/sheep followed them in a Heartbeat without making up their own minds up about it.. U know cause its Xbox, torches and pitchforks come with it so easily. His visions were ahead of time and is obviously still where things are going with all the online only stuff. Resulting in Phil Spencer still to this day cleaning up all of that and trying to correct "mistakes Don made" while avoiding the toxic fanboyism. U can tell that there are some struggles with that obviously. Still Xbox with Phil as lead is growing more than Xbox has ever grown, maybe not with 1st party games but im sure it will get there in the cleaning up process, also not to forget that E3 2018 is said to bring "lineup of new games +JRPG'S" to the show. With that said... "photo realistic game after game" < made me laugh :D
  • I tend to disagree that exclusives do not have such an impact on console sales - apart from that oddity Nintendo. Yes, it is true that the big multi-plates are what drive most sales and not exclusives. Thus people want a console that will play COD, BF, FC, etc. But let me put this to you: if you only have the spare cash to buy one console to play COD on are not most people likely to go for the one that has the added benefit of also having very good exclusives like God Of War? They may not be buying the console for the exclusive but the ability to also buy the exclusive can be a major factor. This and the fact that the XB1 was so underpowered - together with the mess of the launch - heavily contributed to the near, in relative terms, death of the XB1. Not only could you not have the exclusives, but those multi-plats didn't look as good on the XB1. The latter has now been rectified with the XB1 X, but not the first. This will help drive sales to the XB1, but those exclusives - good exclusives - are what is sorely needed. By the way, as a PS4 and XB1 user, Microsoft really needs to get a grip on loot boxes and DLC outside of the season pass that they absolutely murder their exclusives with. If it wasn't for the effort they are putting into backward compatibility, this would leave enough of a bad taste in my mouth to cause me to use my XB1 a lot less. Look at Sony and God Of War. Massive game and not only no loot boxes but no DLC. MS would have littered this game with them. See Gears or Halo Wars 2 for example.
  • The exclusive games are the main reason I own a PlayStation 4 and do not own an Xbox One. Small sample size that I am.
  • "if you only have the spare cash to buy one console to play COD"
    Back @ e3-13, your options are
    1. ps4 because Don told gamers to get a 360 instead.
    2. ps4 cause it's cheaper and has slightly better specs. After e3-13, your options are
    1. ps4, cause I can also play Uncharted.
    2. ps4, cause I can also play Dragon Quest.
    3. ps4, cause I can also play The Last Guardian.
    4. ps4, cause I can also play Super Robot War.
    5. ps4, cause my friends are there.
    5 > 1 > 3. I suppose.
    prob... 2 > 1 > 5 if you are a Japanese living in Japan (COD isn't that popular here).
  • As an odd aside, partly disproving my argument, but there you go, I came from PS to XBox with the 360. Reason? Sony was an arrogant "arse" at launch and the 360 had two console specific exclusives I wanted to play: Gears and especially Oblivion.
  • Good article, Jez - fair in its criticism, measured in its praise. I think a lot of people are under the impression that AAA games either take a couple of months to produce or that you can simply sweep in, throw a briefcase full of cash at a developer, and walk away with the exclusive rights to their (previously) multi-format game. The real world doesn't work like that. Whether it's a hardware revision or a new software IP, you're looking at a minimum 2-5 YEARS from inception to release, so it's unlikely that Microsoft would be in a position to react immediately when the discussion around console exclusives this generation only really started after the release of Bloodborne (previously it had been all about the look of the unit, and then the power, hence the Xbox One S and X releases). That title has only just turned 3 years old, so you'd only see the first 'reactions' to that, at around 6-12 months from now. Indeed, where much of the conversation as of late has been around the critical success of God of War, not many people are actually mentioning that work on it began not long after the launch of the PS4 itself (Cory Barlog announced at the PlayStation Experience 2014 that it was 'in early development'). Agreed as well that the recent financial statements and investor conferences indicate that they are, at last, viewing Gaming as a serious revenue stream and are looking to throw a lot more weight behind that. The appointments you mention definitely reflect that, but I for one would like to hear a little more from Booty and Gallagher rather than leaving it all up to Spencer (has he not heard of delegation????). And finally, on the subjects of Fable Legends and Scalebound - if we're going to bring them up, can we at least acknowledge WHY they were cancelled? Fable Legends wasn't going anywhere (it literally DID NOT CHANGE in nearly two years of the closed beta) and Scalebound was actually getting worse and being more and more delayed (with an oddly proportional increase in the quality and development speed in Nier:Automata). Microsoft gave BOTH developers ample time (nearly two years each) to up their game, and they both failed. In fact the level of criticism levied at the likes of Re:Core, Sea of Thieves and now State of Decay 2 in terms of quality, content and overall polish by certain factors in the industry should actually give you some insight into what it takes in order for Microsoft to decide 'enough is enough'...
  • wow, an Ms product has not been attracting enough developers. Where have I heard that before? Sounds like nadella's strategy has refocused from mobile to xbox.
  • Yep, it does have that familiar feel. I'm sure I can hear the distant sound of someone digging another trench...
  • Totally disagree. If they don't show out at E3 this year with some 1st party exclusives,sales will slow. I'm sure hardware sales already have, since they aren't releasing HW numbers anymore. SW is a different story and while I agree that Game Pass will help soften the blow, I don't see it bringing in many new users, unless they can get COD/BF/FN in the game pass collection. The value just won't be there for most. Especially when you don't have the exclusives to draw gamers in. God of War just released and it hammered in the nail in even further, that PS4 is and offers the best exclusives out of the two. GOW is a game changer, it getting critical reviews and creating a lot of positive noise, along with Last of Us/Uncharted 4, which both set the bar in there respective genres.
    I digress, this isn't MS last chance, but they are on short time. This E3 is key for the rest of the year and 2019. As of now, there isn't much hype outside of the xbox community for their 1st party outings and next year isn't going to be any better. TLOU2 releases and it may reset the bar. MS must deliver in the next 2 years. Sure they can just get by, but they are about to be in 3rd place. Nintendo is vastly catching them and its driven by Exclusives(and HW).
    They will remain profitable in this sector, but thats not enough if you ask me. They want that number 1 spot. Like they did with 360, they had it real good up there.
  • The Xbox division alone made over half of what the entirety of Sony did last year. It's enough... But like you say, Microsoft don't like playing second fiddle to anyone (which is part of where the mis-steps of the generation began, because they were trying to compete with Apple in the media space and lost focus on the Xbox as a gaming device). The hardware sales are up 15% from last year, so even if they slow, they slow to above 'break-even'. GoW is no 'game changer' - it's a good game, I'll grant you that, but it's nowhere near perfect and nobody will be talking about it by the time E3 rolls around (it'll probably be all about the 'David Cage Child Abuse Simulator' by then). That's the problem with a 'single player experience' - you play it, and you're done, no need to dip back in. Look at Horizon: Zero Dawn - disappeared from the radar by May last year, and then only resurfaced when they released DLC for it. Just goes to show that all the praise in the world doesn't pay the bills. And people need to get it out of their heads that Microsoft will be 'all-out' this E3. Not going to happen, unless they 'pull a Sony' and start announcing games that are 3-6 years away from release with a flashy 'does not represent gameplay' trailer while the hired 'whoo-people' orgasm all over the seats in the auditorium. Personally, I'd hate it if they did that as it's always something I've admired them for not doing.
  • 1) I'm curious can you provide a link to this please? Are you talking about profit?
    "The Xbox division alone made over half of what the entirety of Sony did last year." 2) The thing that you got to understand is that taste in games is subjective. I would rather spend 14 hours playing and finishing TLOU than spend 150 hours collecting my 1000th chest in SoT.
    It's not really the time spent but how you spend that time. As it is there are SO many games around. Personally I don't want to spend months on a game doing the same thing over and over and only spending money on lootbox and microtransactions.
    I prefer a more diverse experience.
    3) 3-6 years is a bit of a stretch. Major games this year GoW, Detroit and Spiderman were all announced less than 3 years back. Let alone the 6 years you're talking about.
  • See my response below but I just need to mention, your first statement is a flat out lie. Also God of War sold 3.1 million copies in three days, regardless of whether it has lasting appear, that's 186 million dollars in revenue (assuming $60 purchase price). And guess what, once people finish it they can buy another game, they wont just sit on the same title for the next month they will broaden their catalogue increasing sales further.
  • I'll address everything else later, as im typing on my phone, but I need to see recipes for this comment
    "The Xbox division alone made over half of what the entirety of Sony did last year."
  • I did some digging, Sony made 18 billion in revenue from their gaming division in the 2017 FY, 79 billion across their entire company (https://wccftech.com/sony-group-q1-2018-quarterly-earnings-breakdown-rev...). Microsoft seem to release all their information quarterly and the statement I was looking at didn't have a hard figure for the gaming divisions revenue however it did specify that for 2017 FYQ4 Xbox division revenue increased 44 million, or 3%. Extrapolating from that it implies that for the quarter the Xbox gaming division made 1.452 billion dollars (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/Investor/earnings/FY-2017-Q4/press-relea...). Which isn't even a quarter of what Sony have stated earnings were for the year. So long story short, the statement "The Xbox division alone made over half of what the entirety of Sony did last year" is a flat out lie. However if we were to look at the likes of operating income (which Microsoft didn't specify), things could be different, but the information isn't available so it can't be commented on (although Sony made 1.6 billion in operating income from gaming alone for the year so it seems unlikely that Microsoft trumped that, though not impossible).
  • It worries me that Crackdown 3 is supposed to release soon and we see nothing about it at all.
  • What about Project: Sessions?? Why aren't you guys talking about it? Xbox is going to be the only console getting this crowd funded skateboard game. There is already a playable pc demo out now. I think it is awesome because a new skateboard game hasn't been released in years.
  • "Xbox is going to be the only console getting this"
    Do you have a link that shows that it isn't going to be on PS4?
    Because this:
    "Currently, Session is planned for release on PS4, Xbox One, and PC, according to Creature Studios developer Marc-andre Houde. "
    http://www.gamerevolution.com/news/355833-session-skate-spiritual-succes...
  • Exclusives matter quite a bit. They're the reason why I went with PlayStation over Xbox for the first time since the first Xbox. No VR? No Shenmue? No thank you.
  • Shenmue remake is coming, and I frankly will be surprised if Shenmue 3 doesn’t. The only reason there was no Xbox announcement before was that the developer simply didn’t have the extra money to finance the port (and Sony financed their port in exchange for the E3 buzz) But now that Deep Silver is publishing, they have that option.
  • Does Xbox even need to exist anymore? Microsoft seems to be headed toward "Xbox as a service," so why not push that now? Instead of consoles they could put out console-like, upgradable PCs. Something akin to Steam Machines only something that people would actually want to buy. Then everyone can just download far superior PC games with the choice to use nose and keyboard or an Xbox controller. Or they can subscribe to Xbox Game Pass. Whatever. They can get rid of the terrible Games for Windows name and just call everything Xbox.
  • As soon as Microsoft switches to a pure service model, I will stop using Microsoft products, I don't want to be sold to every five minutes. I just want to buy a game, play it, and then sell it.
  • Who's buying all those multiplats from PsStore?
    Consoles exist for a reason, not everyone wants to game on a PC. Your idea is only viable if MS release Xbox games ONLY to 1st party HW (e.g. Surfaces). The more freedom you give to consumer the more trouble for consumers, devs and OS provider.
  • There are so many things that was said and that can be said about this. I agree on some things and don't agree on others.
    I don't really have time to write a proper post right now. All I'll say is they cannot really afford to wait. I actually think this is an important time for XB. They really need to step it up.
    They are trying to move gaming into this "live services" era. They are trying to stop selling games and rather sell services. When I speak my priority is always gaming. And I don't think what they are doing or what they are trying to do is good for gaming. The thing is that MS have been promising FP games and exclusives for years now and we just can't see the result. We've heard all these from Spencer in the past. We have been promised so many things by MS in the past. And yet this is where we are. I always have hope that MS turns it around and blows Sony and Nintendo away with tones of exclusives. I'm willing to listen to the new organization of their team and how that could mean loads of new games. They have the budget for that.
    Unfortunately after all the lies, false hope/hype and broken promises all I can do right now is just wait and see. Personally, I wouldn't mind if they sell XB brand to some major company like amazon. I think that would be great... If I find some time I'll post a point by point argument to try to reply some of the claims of the article. Right now I'll have to leave it here. PS: Even though I don't agree with points made I got to say good article Jez. Got to say your writing is the major highlight of this place.
  • I was excited to buy a Crackdown 3 Xbox One X bundle when the Xbox One X launched. Still haven't bothered. Figured i would when Crackdown 3 launched. All these months later i may just pick up the game alone (if it exists), and get the OneX on black Friday or something, if ever.
  • I'm a huge fan of Halo, and the multiplayer in Halo 5 is the best yet. I like Gears of War as well, and actually prefer it for it's linear level design (I don't want to see it go to an open-world genre). Sea of Thieves has a ton of potential, but I doubt it'll ever be achieved given Rare's slow pace of development (that said, I am enjoying it and am glad I bought it). It's too bad they didn't stick with Project Spark, and I also think closing Press Play was a huge mistake.
  • I think the biggest issue is that Microsoft is just simply not interested in "Games" they are only interested in "Services", sometimes people just want to play a great cinematic game and leave it at that, they don't want to feel like the person providing the experience is just trying to squeeze money out of their player base at every turn possible. For example, random loot crates in virtually every major franchise (which, especially for Gears of War 4, is particularly heinous as the means to progress in the Horde mode is locked behind RNG, a major portion of the game, which is a terrible consumer strategy, great for business though). It also doesn't help that they are getting all this money and not actually putting it into the game except where eSports are concerned (oh hey, another revenue stream). GoW4 has the WORST matchmaking and Ranking system of any AAA game released this generation, 18 months later and it is still terrible, hell, it's arguably worse. Also the fact that at every single turn Forza Horizon 3 is trying to sell you DLC, it literally puts ads in its loading screens (now, where have I seen this before, oh yeah, Mobile free to play games). Now the game is amazing but I don't want to constantly be sold to, I've already given them money, I'll give them more if I feel like it. I have no issues with Microsoft's first party games, it's their business strategy that is killing my faith in them. Sony, as a publisher, at least just gives people games they want to play and doesn't try and squeeze every single dollar out of the consumer, sure, it looks bad from a shareholder standpoint and means the Company isn't earning as much but it keeps customers loyal.
  • Games like God of War prove that there will always be a place for high quality, single player narrative driven games. Not everything has to be a battle royal, 64+ player multiplayer extravaganza that requires years of dedicated server commitments and add on DLC development. IMO most publishers and developers simply try too hard these days and most of the really creative and imaginative games are coming from Indie or other areas.
  • The Witcher III is another perfect example.
  • Certainly there is a market for it but, not every single player narrative driven game can make money. And not making money means? Not matter how mdeia, critics or fans love it, only a small group of people care to buy it. And if the franchise doesn't grow...
    It's the reason why console market in Japan and jDev's global influence are shrinking YOY. tbh... There's a market for every typpa game and not every game in that market / genre (some genre are dying that's for sure) can thrive.
    Isn't this... a common sense?
    It's funny when someone says "this is not my typpa tea, therefore it's a bad tea, and people should stop making or selling it". And, in fact... it's printing money...
    Print money means? No one cares / plays? How's that logical? ps: Single player... console gamer since I was 6, I actually prefer single player not-narrative driven games. I also don't like static gameplay like turn based stuff, get bored quick.
  • I just want to play that new Spider-Man game on my pc at 1080 and 60 fps 😪😪😪
  • Well said. Xbox will be fine and like you said they have heard loud and clear. Also I believe corporations like Microsoft are moved by numbers not rage or rantings so it would be best to make our voice heard by voting our ideas at Xbox user voice.
  • Well yes. I think MS believes in numbers, how make the most amount of money after investing as little resource possible. But I think they are doing it wrong. For me their priority is investors and how to make as much profit as possible for them. I actually think they are going in the wrong direction. The priority should be customers. Trying to be popular and successful among as many gamers as possible. That in turn will generate profit. It should not be about making the MOST amount of profit without piss*** off customers. It should be about having a sustainable business where customers and investors are happy. Right now it looks like it's about making immediate profit for investors and that's not how it should be. Also no, companies are moved by rage and ranting. MS already showed it in 2013 with the u-turn on their policies. EA did the same taking out their bs from Star Wars Battlefront 2. Many companies reacted and actually changed things based on public outcry. What I believe is that if we truly care about gaming we should be voice our opinions. XB/MS should focus on the future of the industry and on their customers and potential customers, not on making quick profit for investors.
  • Dude I said there is a better way to go about things than the stupid way many are participating in. There is a feedback and ideas site where you can put down what you want and have it voted for. The site believe it or not has been instrumental in Back compart titles. Microsoft can easily see the voted numbers and tell there is an interest there worth investing in but the silly fanboy ravings on twitter and YouTube only works to upset things.. Also public outcry like the 2013 was not ranting and it had huge backing from the big websites as well as Gamestop. As for the EA thing they are putting back Microtransactions and it was the then starwars movie that made Disney chup I to avoid negative light.
  • WOW. I'm sorry but I totally disagree with what you're saying. EA did it because of the public outcry. Disney probably took action because of the public outcry. And EA didn't just put the thing back. They took out part of the things that pissed the people the most. The microtransactions that affected gameplay. Now it's just cosmetic stuff. You can't deny that companies are changing their policies and talking about it. We've seen a number other instances where companies had to give in because of public poutcry. From the GTA modding to the whole 2013 XB1 mess. And I'm not sure if you were actually following what happened in 2013 but yes the public outcry and complaints was huge. Sites and gamestop may have been against it but it was the public outcry that probably made the biggest impact.
    https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/jun/19/xbox-one-drm-second-h... Even MS said they are listening to fans when announcing the u-turn.
    Gamestop wasn't really happy about Sony and MS giving games with their subscriptions but you know what? These companies didn't change the policies because gamers didn't actually support gamestop's views.
    https://www.polygon.com/2014/11/21/7265337/sony-and-microsoft-are-giving... The bottom line is that customers and consumers have the right to make noise about anti-gaming policy. Sure they can go and write a suggestion but they can also complain about it on the internet. What you are suggesting is that people just quietly make suggestions and hope/pray that the big mighty MS will answer them... Your suggestions is like telling reviewers not to criticise a product adon't tell people how crap something is and just email/post a suggestion about what needs improving in the hope that it'll happen. Sorry but I don't believe that's how things should be. Another reason why I post in these forums and comment sections is to inform people. Get people to know my point of view and try to back it with facts. Let people decide and let people think about what they want. I want casuals to look at it and say "yeah I agree with that point so I'll not buy/support this product". Get companies to take notice as that will hurt sales. The difference here is that I don't try to get people to stop doing something. They can post suggestions if they feel like it'll actually be more productive. When you come here and tell people not to post certain things in forums, for me it sounds like you are trying to silent critics. Silence negativity. And that you have some kind of agenda... How about this? I'll post or upvote a suggestion about MS needing to make more games. But I'll keep posting in forums and criticising company for the bs they do...
  • The key word here is "budget", and in regards to mixer... they better have a UWP app when Andromeda launches.
  • It's all good. I wish they had more multiplayer options but it's all good. The single player games on ps4 for the most part don't interest me. Why do the games that no one buys seem to make or break the console. Sonys been doing a great job if you are into the single player games. I really want crackdown like last november.
  • The data has basically suggested the mind-share reality of xbox is failing to be the total opposite of the truth. Sales are up, profits are up. The exclusives will be that extra push for more revenue and a few more consoles. The reality is xbox platform built out all the most profitable parts of its portfolio first. While sony focused more so on the left profitable parts[i.e. single player]. They are on opposite sides of spectrum. Xbox makes more money with less units and exclusives and sony makes less with way more market share, and exclusives. The reality is though sony is now building out the services part of their playstation experience and microsoft is building the games now. Who make the right choice we will see.