Over the last few years the Xbox brand isn’t what it used to be. People used to flock to the latest Xbox exclusives, but that’s changed, but why did it change?
When the original Xbox released it was a game changer. It didn’t sale the most units or was the best looking console, but it was the most powerful and had some fantastic exclusives. Halo, Jade Empire, Star Wars Knights of The Old Republic, Phantom Dust, and Fable are a few of the games that blew me away when I owned a Xbox. Fast forward a few years later and we got the Xbox 360 and it got a ton of new games, and exclusives.
The 360 changed the way we play third person shooters with Gears of War and it’s fantastic gameplay, and horde mode. We got games like Fable 2, Mass Effect (remember it started off as a Xbox exclusive), Lost Odyssey, Blue Dragon, Forza, Alan Wake, and Tenchu. That’s not even counting how some games (like Skyrim) ran leagues better on the Xbox 360 than the Playstation 3.
So where did Microsoft go wrong after doing so much right? They dropped the ball. It started with the announcement of the Xbox One and it’s online only features that they were trying to push. People didn’t trust it and jumped ship to Sony’s newly announced Playstation 4. After launching with Ryse (I’ll debate anyone if they call this a bad game) it took awhile for this console to really get going. In a way it feels like it never got going. When I brought my Xbox One I was excited because I didn’t have a kick ass PC at the time. I was a brand new PC gamer and still considered myself a console gamer at heart.
Since the Xbox One has released it’s gotten very few unique exclusives. The original Xbox had a great mixture of genres on it. It had RPGs, shooters, competitive multiplayer, racing, and even some arena fighters. The 360 had a equal amount of genres, but also had some fantastic Jrpgs. The Xbox One doesn’t have any of that. Every year it’s a new racing game, or a new shooter ,or both. Ori and the Blind Forest was probably the last unique Xbox exclusive that released on the console. Sunset Overdrive flopped big time even though it was advertised like crazy.
Instead of bringing in new IPs (like Sunset Overdrive) Microsoft gets one year exclusive deals or stick to what they have. Halo, Gears of War, and Forza. The problem with this is that two of the three games that I mentioned are available on PC now. Microsoft only has one real exclusive and that’s Halo. They split their playerbase in half when they announced that all future games would also be available on Windows 10. That’s when I got rid of my Xbox because there was no reason for me to own one anymore.
The Xbox One had a chance to change some of it’s misfortune by getting some new IPs, but they cancelled them all. Phantom Dust was advertised for a while, but was swept under the rug later on in it’s development cycle, Fable Legends was doomed to failure from the start along with Project Spark, and now Phantom Dust is gone too. Microsoft really needed it’s own open world IP to call it’s own, but it didn’t work out.
There’s still a few confirmed games releasing for it, but I don’t expect big things from any of them. I don’t think many people will rush out to buy State of Decay 2 so soon after playing Dead Rising 4. Crackdown 3 could be interesting, but the first two games were above average to me. It’s not going to be a system seller if it ever sees the light of day. That’s another game that gets zero advertisement from Microsoft and guess what? It’s another multiplayer oriented game! Do you see the trend here? I’m not bashing on Crackdown 3 because I do want it to be released and I do plan on buying it if it ever releases.
If Microsoft wants their Xbox brand to flourish again here’s a few things they should do.
1.Stop making your exclusives cross platform. Do what Sony does and force us to buy your console for your games.
2. Bring back some of your old IPs. I think Lost Odyssey 2 or even a reboot would be a system seller.
3. Stop cancelling your new IPs!
Microsoft is doing their own thing now. When the Xbox One, and Playstation 4 first released they were battling by releasing their sales figures every month. Microsoft doesn’t even bother to do that anymore because of how far behind they are. They know they can’t catch up so they’re doing their own thing. They’re not competing with Sony anymore because they know Sony has already won this generation. They’re probably going to bank everything on the Scorpio now, but that could be a flop too if they don’t do something about their lack of exclusive games.
The Playstation 4 is becoming a great console. It wasn’t always great, but it’s getting new IPs, revamping old IPs, and just keeps getting games that we can’t find anywhere else. There are a few exceptions like the upcoming Nier and a few other titles, but their big IPs will never leave their home console. That’s how Sony sales their units and they’re smart for doing that. Microsoft needs to start doing that again if they hope to ever win another console war.
People like me don’t buy consoles for their power. We buy them for games that we can’t play on our PCs.